CHEYENNE, Wyo. (RELEASE) - Cheyenne Regional Medical Center (CRMC) is the recipient of a $600,000 grant from the Department of Justice that aims to improve public safety and health by providing community-based services to people engaged in low-level drug crime. The Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) grant will provide two positions, a case manager at the Cheyenne Police Department and a program manager with CRMC, as well as the costs to operate and maintain the program throughout Laramie County for three years.
Reflecting a nationwide trend, officers in Cheyenne have continued to respond to more and more cases in which substance abuse contributes to the incidents being investigated. The purpose of LEAD is to divert individuals from the criminal justice system and into treatment programs that offer long-term support. CRMC’s President and CEO, Tim Thornell is enthusiastic for the grant, “Cheyenne Regional is committed to improving Laramie County’s overall health. We are excited to work with our community partners to meet people in our community where they are to address public health and human services needs – addiction, untreated mental illness, homelessness, and extreme poverty – through this new initiative.”
CRMC is maintaining the grant in partnership with Health Works, Peak Wellness, the CPD and the Laramie County Sheriff’s Office. Officers and deputies in Laramie County will be able to write referrals to the case manager administering the program on individuals who they contact in the course of their duties, such as low-level drug offenders. The case manager will then review the referral and determine if the person would benefit from the support of the program. The case manager would monitor that person’s compliance with the program and the participant could see their criminal charges being reduced or dismissed.
The program only applies to low-level crimes and would not apply to crimes such as felonies, driving under impairment or domestic violence. In addition to criminal contacts, people could be referred to the program through social contacts made by law enforcement, such as the CPD’s Operation Change program.
Pilot programs of LEAD have shown that participants in the program were 58% less likely to be arrested after enrollment compared to those who went through the typical criminal justice processing. Chief Kozak has the following to say about the program: “The CPD is excited to strengthen its community partnerships and work with our local health providers to prevent crimes with this proactive program. If we see repeat offenders committing the same crimes, for the same reasons, maybe it’s time for a different approach to stop them from reoffending.”