Chief Pugel Visits the United Nations to Talk About Seattle’s Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion Program

Fresh off his recent appearance on a Harvard panel on criminal justice reform, Seattle Police Department Chief Jim Pugel appeared at the United Nations earlier this week to talk about Seattle’s Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program.

The LEAD program is a harm reduction effort currently being piloted in the Belltown area, which gives officers the ability to connect low-level non-violent drug dealers and users with treatment and services as an alternative to taking them to jail.

In Chief Pugel’s presentation at the UN, Chief Pugel talked about how the LEAD program came to be, how the police department worked with the American Civil Liberties Union and Racial Disparity Project to develop the program (“We got in a room, and everybody who had a piece of the problem was there.”), Peelian principles, why LEAD is not a “get out of jail free” card, and how some low-level drug users sought out officers in order to get into the program (“They will go get…a little speck of cocaine or a used crack pipe and say ‘arrest me, I need treatment’.”)

You can listen to the whole presentation on “Modernizing Drug Law Enforcement” here:

Chief Pugel’s presentation begins at the 44:52 mark.