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King County Prosecutor
Dan Satterberg

Innovative Diversion Program Marks Third Anniversary of Breaking the Cycle of Repeated Arrests of Drug Addicted Offenders


An important milestone has been reached for an innovative diversion program aimed at low level offenders who are addicted to drugs.


An important milestone has been reached for an innovative diversion program aimed at low level offenders who are addicted to drugs.  In November 2011, the King County Prosecutor’s Office (PAO) partnered with the Seattle Police Department's West Precinct, The Defender Association, the ACLU, the Seattle City Attorney's Office, the Office of the Mayor, the King County Executive's Office and the Belltown community leaders to launch LEAD -- Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion -- a new and innovative approach to manage and more effectively deal with low-level drug addicts, dealers and prostitutes who otherwise revolve through King County's jail and criminal justice system.


Dan Satterberg speaks at the podium at a LEAD forum.



King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg with LEAD community Partners in 2011.

Over the past three years, the program has diverted 250 individuals away from repeated arrests and bookings into the county jail, a process that is both expensive and time consuming for law enforcement.  Instead, officers can refer an individual to the LEAD program, in order to break the cycle of repeated arrests and incarceration by offering low-level offenders an opportunity to participate in a privately-funded four-year pilot program through Evergreen Treatment Services.  The effective program is at the center of LEAD and offers treatment, educational opportunities, housing assistance, and other services geared toward breaking the cycle of addiction and reliance on the low level exchange of drugs.

LEAD is only an option for low-level offenders.  Police officers on the street, who are most familiar with the neighborhood and the individuals in it, will decide who will participate in the program.  The LEAD program has since been expanded as the PAO and The Defender Association worked with the King County Sheriff's Office to offer LEAD in the Skyway neighborhood of unincorporated King County.

Ron Jackson of Evergreen Treatment Services was recently interviewed on King County TV regarding the efforts of Evergreen in helping low-level offenders tackle their drug addictions.  Click the following link to a story regarding the work of Evergreen Treatment Services and LEAD:


LEAD was also recently received the 2014 Innovative Program Award from the Seattle Human Services Coalition. 

"Police will continue to patrol the streets for open air drug activity to protect the community, but now officers have a new option for those who have lost their way because of a serious drug addiction," said Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg.  "This program offers a new approach, and we believe that it is a win-win for police, the addicted person, and the community."  To read more about LEAD, please click here

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