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New project connects law enforcement and community agencies

LEAD is pulling together different agencies with law enforcement to provide more options than just incarceration.
Law enforcement and community agencies come together for new project.
Law enforcement and community agencies come together for new project.(WABI)
Published: Oct. 28, 2020 at 7:05 PM EDT
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BELFAST, Maine (WABI) -Could a new initiative happening in Waldo and Knox Counties help your community?

We spoke with some of the key partners in a project connecting law enforcement and community agencies.

“We’ve developed in this country too heavy a reliance on incarceration to deal with social problems," says Waldo County Chief Deputy Jason Trundy.

Social problems like substance use disorder and mental illness. Trundy says that’s due to a lack of proper resources and incarceration being the only option, but a new initiative - Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion, or LEAD - aims to change that.

“LEAD is another tool for law enforcement officers when they encounter different scenarios in our community The LEAD program is designed to provide an officer with another option," he says.

The Restorative Justice Project Maine partnering with the Health Equity Alliance and the Waldo and Knox County Sheriff’s Office is a collaboration a year in the making.

“Connecting them with resources to meet their unmet basic needs like housing, treatment, social supports. It’s often those unmet basic needs that are driving that problematic behavior that leads to interaction with law enforcement," says Ashley Brown, Regional Manager of the Downeast and Midcoast region Health Equity Alliance.

“The concept behind LEAD that is taking root nationally is that offices have historically only had limited resources when they’re responding to a call, and a lot of the calls they’re responding to aren’t always criminal in nature," says Sarah Mattox, the Restorative Justice Project Community Resolution Program Manager.

They even have a community liaison to help with calls like this.

“People that are suffering from mental illness and substance abuse are part of the community, and we need to be able to bring the community together to wrap around them to provide the help they need," says Robert Porter, Waldo County Community Liaison .

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