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Continuation and expansion of Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion programs throughout Worcester County.

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $600,000)

The Worcester County Health Department is implementing a Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program beginning in July 2021 with initial funding supporting a full-time LEAD Project Manager and two Case Managers.  The initial LEAD implementation will be starting in Ocean Pines, Maryland and will involve the Ocean Pines Police Department, Worcester County Sheriff’s Office, State’s Attorney’s Office, and the Eastern Shore Criminal Justice Academy.

Through this grant (O-BJA-2021-94008), we are seeking funding to allow for County wide LEAD expansion by funding two additional Case Managers, as well as a part-time clerical support staff to assist in data collection, partner coordination, scheduling, etc.  Uniquely, our LEAD program will work with other first responders including fire department and emergency medical services (EMS) staff.  This expansion will include more collaboration with the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office, targeting high utilizers of law enforcement and other first responder services across Worcester County, and expanding to another small nearby jurisdiction (Berlin, MD).  The additional case management staff will provide linkages to care, social services, and recovery support services to appropriate individuals identified by fire/EMS staff and law enforcement.

The expansion of the Worcester County LEAD program will expand access for individuals who are abusing or misusing opioids, stimulants, and other substances, and those who have co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders.  It will also benefit our law enforcement and first responder systems by redirecting high utilizers to more appropriate services and allowing them to better serve the community as a whole.  

The goal and intent of LEAD is multi-faceted, and includes the following: diverting individuals from first responders or the legal system and linking individuals with appropriate resources and services like treatment, reducing law enforcement and first responder calls for substance use-related issues, reducing arrests, building trust between law enforcement and the community, promoting civil rights and individual rights, utilizing a Stages of Change model to meet individuals where they are at, and utilizing Motivational Interviewing to create lasting change.

This funding will align well with current funding and plans since key relationships and protocols are already established.  We are prepared to expand LEAD to other parts of the County and to other first responders like fire/EMS.  The Project Manager for this program will be funded through other funding, meaning the majority of the requested funding will go directly toward hiring additional case managers and expanding services to individuals in need.

Date Created: December 22, 2021