What is LEAD® Santa Fe?

LEAD is a public safety program in which law enforcement officers redirect persons involved in non-violent low level crimes, such as shoplifting, minor theft, and/or possession, to community-based services instead of jail and prosecution. 

LEAD participants begin working immediately with case managers to access harm reduction, treatment, and/or social services.


How does LEAD® Santa Fe differ from other drug programs?

LEAD Santa Fe provides participants with immediate resources that are not available through existing public programs. The program is the result of a commitment from law enforcement agencies, public officials, and community organizations to work together to implement a new approach to address drug and prostitution activity.

The diversion in LEAD is made at the pre-booking stage in the hopes of bypassing the costs and time entailed in booking, charging, and requiring court appearances of an individual.


The ineffective and perpetual cycle of arrest and incarceration among low-level drug offenders who are not violent or dangerous has challenged law enforcement to consider a comprehensive, multi-faceted approach for drug users. Growing recognition that low-level drug offenders are better dealt with outside of the criminal justice system has led to the growth of programs such as Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD). There are currently 7 LEAD programs nationwide.

This video features the work of Santa Fe, New Mexico's LEAD program, which was the second department in the country to implement LEAD. LEAD programs allow law enforcement to collaborate with a multidisciplinary group of people to develop multi-faceted interventions that address the root causes of chaotic drug use.

Research shows that LEAD programs drastically reduce recidivism, greatly increase people's likelihood of finding employment and housing, and result in massive savings to law enforcement and the criminal justice system.

LEAD® is a registered trademark held by the Public Defender Association (Seattle) for the Seattle/King County Policy Coordinating Group. Please refer to the LEAD National Support Bureau for more information.

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