LEAD program begins in Rio Arriba County | KOB 4
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LEAD program begins in Rio Arriba County

KOB Web Staff
February 07, 2019 06:36 PM

ESPAÑOLA, N.M. - A national movement is making its way to Rio Arriba County, called LEAD. Their goal is to get people treatment instead of locking them up. 

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The Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program began in Rio Arriba County on Thursday. 

District attorneys, public defenders and law enforcement are all on board to get low-level drug users help before they end up behind bars. 

"The system that has been in place is not working. We are going to now work together to make things happen, to save a life," said Louis Carlos, Española police chief. 

LEAD is for people who have committed low-level, nonviolent crimes associated with opiate substance use. The program redirects them and gives complete discretion to law enforcement. 

"They're going to be the ones who are recognizing when somebody is ready for this program. Just like with any other rehab or rehabilitation program - I cannot - we cannot force anybody to fix themselves," said Major Randy Sanches of the Rio Arriba County Sheriff's Department. 

Rio Arriba County is the second in New Mexico to implement the diversion program. Santa Fe County was the first and Bernalillo County will be the third. 

"We get to divert our resources to something positive and compassionate for these people. It's not going after them and throwing the book at them. It's trying to help them out and save lives, ultimately," said First Judicial District Attorney Marco Serna.

Bernalillo County is in the process of hiring a case manager. APD and BCSO are working out their policies as well. 

They're hoping the LEAD program can launch next month in SE Albuquerque.

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KOB Web Staff

Copyright 2019 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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