In an effort to reduce future criminal behavior by people involved in low-level drug offenses and reduce the number of persons of color being arrested and referred to the criminal justice system, County and City leaders are launching an innovative pilot project called LEAD® or Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion.

What is LEAD®?

  • LEAD® is a pre-booking diversion program.
  • LEAD® allows officers to redirect low level offenders engaged in drug activity to services and resources specific to the needs of the individual instead of jail and prosecution.
  • LEAD® participants begin working immediately with case managers to access services.


  • Reduce the harm a drug offender causes him or herself and to the surrounding community.
  • Reduce recidivism rates for low-level offenders.
  • Decrease the number of persons of color prosecuted for Possession of a Controlled Substance.


  • This public safety program has the potential to reduce recidivism rates for low-level offenders and preserve expensive criminal justice system resources for more serious or violent offenders.
  • Involves a coordinated effort between law enforcement agencies, services providers and community organizations working together in a partnership to reduce crime, injury and death.


Harm reduction is a set of practical strategies and ideas aimed at reducing negative consequences associated with drug use, including overdose, arrest and homelessness. A harm reduction approach:

  • Accepts, for better and or worse, that licit and illicit drug use is part of our world and chooses to work to minimize its harmful effects.
  • Understands drug use as a complex, multifaceted phenomenon that encompasses a continuum of behaviors from severe abuse to total abstinence.
  • Establishes quality of individual and community life and well-being–not necessarily cessation of all drug use–as the criteria for successful interventions and policies.
  • Calls for the non-judgmental, non-coercive provision of services and resources to people who use drugs in order to assist them in reducing attendant harm.
  • Affirms drugs users themselves as the primary agents of reducing the harm of their drug use.
  • Does not attempt to minimize or ignore the real and tragic harm and danger associated with licit and illicit drug use.


  • Post-arrest/pre-booking diversion

–When a LEAD® officer has PC to arrest for PCS, the officer can divert the individual into LEAD®. If they accept, they skip jail and are instead immediately connected with a case manager who assesses and addresses their most urgent basic needs. As long as the individual completes the full psychosocial assessment within 30 days of arrest, they will not be prosecuted for this offense.

  • Social Contact Referral

–Instead of waiting for an individual to engage in illegal activity, officers can proactively refer individuals identified as being high risk of future arrest for drug possession


Basis for Inclusion

Individuals are eligible for LEAD® if they are arrested in the High Pedestrian Traffic area(s) (Downtown; Old Town; Lloyd District) for a Possession of a Controlled Substance (PCS) offense (not SQ or CDO).

Basis for Exclusion

  • The individual has 5 grams or more of heroin; 10 grams or more of cocaine; 10 grams or more of methamphetamine;
  • The individual has an active extraditable warrant;
  • The individual has an existing no contact order, temporary restraining order, or other court order prohibiting contact with a current LEAD® participant;
  • The individual is a current or former LEAD® participant, unless continued participation in the LEAD® program is recommended by the LEAD® Operations Team and agreed upon by the District Attorney’s Office;
  • The individual has a pending case eligible for, or is engaged in, a Multnomah County Specialty Court;
  • The individual is on Post-Prison Supervision, Parole, formal probation or misdemeanor bench probation for a person offense;
  • Denial by LEAD® Operations Team; or
  • Any other exceptional circumstances