LEAD is more than just a way to keep individuals out of the mass incarceration cycle; it’s a call to address trauma through harm-focused intervention. This case management program provides support services, care, and resources for persons accused of non-violent, low-level offenses, responding to unaddressed needs — poverty, homelessness, mental health, and substance use. The focus of LEAD is restoration without a reliance on the criminal justice system to address behavioral health that reduces recidivism, improves quality of life, and strengthens public health and safety.
The Buffalo LEAD working group is coordinated by Partnership for the Public Good and includes Evergreen Health, Crisis Services, and VOICE Buffalo. The Erie County District Attorney’s Office attends working group meetings, together with representatives from the Office of the Mayor, and two Buffalo Police Department Captains Police Commissioner Byron Lockwood nominated to the working group. In addition, the Buffalo LEAD working group has relationships with the National LEAD Support Bureau, the former Albany Police Chief who oversaw the rollout of LEAD in Albany, and the former Albany LEAD Program Director.
In June, Mayor Brown announced his support for LEAD as part of the 2020 Buffalo Reform Agenda.