How Records Help Select LEAD Candidates
November 11, 2021 by
Manually sorting through contact files can be tedious and time-consuming, especially when searching for specific criteria.
That was the experience officials with the Cheyenne Police Department had before implementing its law enforcement records management system (LERMS) in 2015. Although the Wyoming agency has had several years to experience the benefits of a digital records solution, it wasn’t until the agency developed the region’s first-ever law enforcement assisted diversion program (LEAD) that they truly began to understand the benefits.
In 2019, the agency began setting the groundwork for the LEAD program, which targets members of the community suffering from addiction or mental health issues. The purpose of the program is to reduce recidivism rates and allow contacts to get access to the resources they need while limiting the need for contact with law enforcement.
“Before LEAD, the only multiple-discipline based program have been through the courts (drug court, DUI court, Veterans Court) and they have been criminal justice oriented,” said Cheyenne PD’s LEAD Case Manager Hailey Hayden. “With LEAD, we try to look at those who have struggled in the past and get to them before they reoffend again.”
By offering LEAD program participants the access to a case manager, Hayden can address the individual’s needs, whether that be food, clothing, or access to medical care.
When choosing participants for LEAD, the contact’s records had to be carefully reviewed to ensure they fit the program criteria.
“The only thing that will disqualify you from the program is if you have been charged with a violent felony,” shared Jaime Sweeney, Cheyenne PD’s record manager. “That’s where Tyler’s software came into play because we used their contact history in our records management system to see what they’ve been charged with in the past, and then we could determine whether they are qualified participant for LEAD.”
Sorting through hundreds of contact profiles would have been difficult without the software’s search functionality.
“We heavily relied on the data collected from our New World public safety solutions to prove our community was in need of a resource like LEAD,” said Hayden. “We were able to go through various crime data and pull exact numbers for our grant application, which in the end made our case solid and helped show our community was in dire need of a program aimed to help the population struggling with substance abuse.”
For some of the community’s reoffenders, even knowing where to look for help could be a challenge.
“It can be daunting to those looking for help to know exactly what is out there, so we serve to act as a gatekeeper to get people to the appropriate services,” Hayden stated.
According to Sweeney, not all members of the program have had previous contact with police. Some just need help.
“One of our clients is an alcoholic, but she’s a very high-functioning alcoholic, and she is higher up in her company,” recalled Sweeney. “If you were to have a conversation with her or see her on the street you would have never known. But she knows she needs help, and she’s actually never even had contact with law enforcement.”
Although the program is still in its infancy, the goal is clear: help the community’s hard-to-reach individuals get access to substance abuse resources.
“The end goal is to get them to be a functioning part of society with less contact or no contact with law enforcement,” said Sweeney. “The key thing is you build that relationship, and these people know they have somebody there that cares for them and can help them.”