Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $1,300,000)
Laramie County is applying for Category 1, Subcategory 1b funding in the amount of $1,300,000.00 for law enforcement and first responder deflection and diversion, where 100 percent of funds will be allocated. Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD), a community-based, harm-reduction intervention for individuals with law violations driven by unmet behavioral health needs. The program will expand case management capacity and hours of availability, address increasing use and overdose within the community, and provide expanded hours and resources for client support. LEAD provides a non-punitive, health-centered approach to ensure that individuals struggling with substance use or mental illness are diverted from the criminal justice system while decreasing recidivism and improving public safety. Consistent with LEAD’s Guiding Principles, this model, based on harm reduction principles, seeks to connect high-need drug offenders to culturally competent, community-based service providers at the earliest law enforcement contact and keep individuals out of the criminal justice system. This project serves Laramie County, the most populous county in Wyoming with an estimated population of 100,863 residents, and home to the state capitol, Cheyenne. LEAD is a multi-agency collaborative between the Laramie County government, Laramie County Sheriff’s Office, Cheyenne Regional Medical Center, the Cheyenne Police Department, Healthworks, Volunteers of America, and Crossroads Health Clinic. LEAD will build on existing efforts to address the needs of repeat drug offenders through an initiative based on shared planning, decision-making, data sharing, and evaluation that will 1) expand outreach and hours of service to eligible individuals within the county; 2) enhance coordination of service delivery through the existing social service network; 3) increase referrals to substance use and mental health treatment centers; and 4) improve collaboration and communication among law enforcement agencies and social services providers. From the perspective of the Sequential Intercept Model, LEAD intercepts the individual and diverts the behavioral problem at the point of law enforcement response (Intercept 1), to channel drug-involved individuals into a community-based intervention whenever possible and appropriate. The priority consideration addressed is Category 1 applications that include a research partner, whose qualifications are described on page 13. Outcomes of this project include reduced recidivism for low-level drug offenders in Laramie County, strengthened collaboration across county and city departments and community-based organizations to better meet the needs of individuals with a history of substance use, mental health disorders, or low-level drug offenses, and increased community public health and safety.