LAW ENFORCEMENT ASSISTED DIVERSION (LEAD) PROGRAM LAUNCHES IN WICOMICO

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE      

CONTACT:  Jennifer Johnson

(410) 219-3947 (Office)

(410) 251-5379 (Cell)

LAW ENFORCEMENT ASSISTED DIVERSION (LEAD) PROGRAM LAUNCHES IN WICOMICO

(December 1, 2021, Salisbury, MD)  Wicomico County is pleased to announce the launch of the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion Program (LEAD), a partnership between the Salisbury Police Department, Wicomico County State’s Attorney’s Office and the Wicomico County Health Department. Modeled after other evidenced-based LEAD programs throughout the country, it is designed to improve the quality of life for many of our most vulnerable populations with increased collaboration between public health and public safety. The program assists high utilizers of law enforcement who have unmet or unmanaged behavioral health needs and links them with intensive case management services.  

The Community Policing Unit will make social contact referrals of eligible individuals, referring them to case managers who can connect them to various care and resources. Potential resources include primary medical care, mental health or substance use treatment, harm reduction services, housing, food, and other social service benefits. Salisbury Police Department (SPD) officers will refer individuals based on social contact and not those who have committed arrestable offenses. Assisting citizens who could benefit from intensive case management services rather than traditional criminal justice system resolutions demonstrates SPD’s commitment to improve the quality of life to the individuals who live, work, and play in Salisbury. 

The program aims to not only improve the relationship between public health and public safety, but also reduce the rates of recidivism and provide SPD officers with an additional tool assist with the alarming number of social service related calls they receive. Additional program goals include:

  • Reduce rates of overdose deaths in Wicomico County
  • Reduce cost to the criminal justice system by providing support services in place of jail and prosecution.
  • Reduce harm of substance use to individuals and the community
  • Reduce crime and recidivism
  • Improve community-police relations

Planning for the LEAD program in Wicomico County has been meticulous, and county leadership is optimistic about the LEAD program and the benefits of its implementation. For questions or concerns regarding the LEAD program in Wicomico County, please contact Christina Bowie-Simpson, Opioid Coordinator and LEAD Project Manager, at christina.bowie@maryland.gov or by calling (443) 977-7994.

 

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