Using CAD Alerts to Decrease Recidivism

November 10, 2021 by Devin Culham

Using CAD Alerts to Decrease Recidivism

Recidivism impacts cities large and small as they grapple to get resources to at-risk individuals. Unlike other common offenses, individuals with mental health or substance abuse issues oftentimes come in contact with law enforcement while attempting to act on their mental health or substance abuse symptoms.

In Wyoming’s Cheyenne Police Department, the community along with law enforcement implemented a law enforcement assisted diversion program (LEAD) to help get at-risk individuals access to vital resources.

“LEAD Laramie County bases its program off of LEAD Seattle, which started in 2011 because jails were becoming inundated with people who weren’t getting the help they needed simply by going to jail,” shared LEAD Case Manager Hailey Hayden.

According to Hayden, Cheyenne PD had hundred of cases involving public intoxication, officers finding people passed out on the streets due to their drug use, and thefts committed to feed addictions.

“Often times, it can be seen as a revolving door for those struggling, and so members of our community wanted to create something that would help those in need of a different solution, while also benefitting our law enforcement system.”

Initiated in 2019, LEAD fully launched in August of 2020 with 36 LEAD participants chosen from a specific criteria. Cheyenne PD used its law enforcement records management system (LERMS) to help sift through the hundreds of records to narrow down candidates.

Once in the program, law enforcement contacts Hayden to assist with the individual to get them access to resources, including basic necessities like food, clothing, or healthcare.

Jamie Sweeney, Cheyenne PD’s records manager uses LERMS to send CAD alerts to inform law enforcement of the participant’s history and whether they need to contact Hayden.

Wyoming’s transient population also means it is not uncommon for LEAD members end up in other jurisdictions.

“We share a CAD system with our sheriff’s department. and so we’re all on the same server,” said Sweeney. “On the LEAD team, it’s compiled of people from both agencies. So, if you have contact with the sheriff’s department or Wyoming Highway Patrol in Laramie County, they will see the same alert as our officers will.”

The alerts also help to inform the validity of the contact’s participation in LEAD. However, it does not prevent law enforcement from getting involved.

“LEAD doesn’t get you out of going to jail,” said Sweeney. “It doesn’t get you out of getting a citation. If that stuff needs to happen, it will happen. We just have the resources to help you through it.

Although the program has faced delays due to the coronavirus, so far, the results are promising. Current data suggests LEAD participants are 58% less likely to be arrested after enrollment in the LEAD program, compared to those who go through regular criminal justice processing.

“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.

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