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Legislature Formalizes Support for LEAD Program

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Legislature Formalizes Support for LEAD Program

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The Legislature, without dissent (Legislator Glenn Morey was excused), passed a resolution of support for development of a Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program, in collaboration with the City of Ithaca and community representatives. The measure authorizes County Administrator Jason Molino to execute a Memorandum of Understanding governing development of the program.

The long-discussed program gives police officers discretionary authority to divert individuals who would otherwise be charged with low-level offenses to services, rather than arrest. Public Safety Committee Chair Rich John said the LEAD program “is really a change in the way in which police agencies are approaching policing…This will give a choice to divert a person under certain circumstances, essentially addressing the repetitive, low-level criminal offenses that you see putting people into the criminal justice system and the jail.” Mr. John said he sees LEAD as a very positive development, in the context of the jail, “taking people out of the criminal justice system and putting them on a better pathway, if we can.” The program will be initiated in the City first, he said, and is expected to later be expanded. The County will be involved immediately, he said, since most of the services to be provided are County services.