About CHRT

Evaluating and communicating about Washtenaw County’s Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion and Deflection (LEADD) program

March 2022 – February 2025
Client(s): Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office, Washtenaw County Community Mental Health
Funder: Washtenaw County Public Safety and Mental Health Preservation Millage, U.S. Bureau of Justice Administration
Partner(s): National LEAD Support Bureau

In October of 2021, Washtenaw County launched an evidence-based Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion and Deflection (LEADD) program in response to data that revealed stark disparities between the general incarcerated population and the incarcerated population living with mental illness and substance use disorders, particularly among individuals of color.

To address these issues, LEADD provides officers with alternatives to citation, arrest, or incarceration for individuals with behavioral health disorders and those suspected of being engaged in low-level criminal behavior. Through pre-arrest diversions, Washtenaw County deputies will connect individuals to community support and care, with a focus on utilizing harm reduction strategies and a “housing first” model.

CHRT’s role:

CHRT is evaluating Washtenaw County’s LEADD Initiative to assess its effects on individual client outcomes as well as on the criminal justice and legal systems. CHRT will use a combination of evaluation methods including surveys, interviews, and analysis of existing data sources.

Concurrently, CHRT’s communications team will support LEADD by working with sheriff’s office staff to develop a comprehensive communications plan to keep key internal and external stakeholders informed. Communications will be informed by evaluation findings, and will be employed to disseminate findings periodically and at the conclusion of the study.