Here’s how the program works:
When the police detain a person on a scheduled LEAD “Green Light” day for a low-level drug offense or for prostitution, the police officer has the option of offering the person a chance to avoid arrest and seek help through the LEAD program.
The detainee has roughly 30 minutes to decide whether they want to be arrested or seek help for their problem.
If the person chooses arrest, they get arrested.
However, if the person chooses to take advantage of the LEAD program, the police will call the project lead at the drug addiction treatment center Evergreen Treatment Services/REACH project. An Evergreen Treatment Services (ETS) staff member will physically arrive to bring the individual to the REACH office treatment center about a block from Seattle’s West Precinct.
An assessment will be done immediately to identify the person’s critical needs for that day/night.
After the critical needs are determined, the person will be scheduled to return for a more in-depth interview within the next few days. The interview will determine what type of help can be offered. Options are inpatient drug treatment, housing assistance, and educational opportunities. Some potential business owners may even receive small, short team loans.
If the person does not complete the assessments or show up for their appointment, he/she will not be considered a LEAD participant and ETS/REACH will report the non-completion to the West Precinct immediately.
The police determine what to do with the person from that point on.
The referral program is used in special cases. An officer can approach…person they feel would be a good fit for the LEAD program and offer it to them — in this case, some of the 54 individuals who were arrested for drug offenses and/or prostitution will be approached and possibly offered immediate help if they qualify.
Only police officers can refer people to the LEAD program.
More about the LEAD program:
The LEAD program only serves low-level drug offenders and prostitutes who have committed no violent crimes within the past 10 years, not engaged in drug activity for profit, or part of an organized criminal enterprise.
The LEAD program option will only be offered a few days per month, these days are called “Green Light” days.
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