LEAD program could assist break cycle of low-level ABQ crime » Albuquerque Journal

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It’s simple to know why crime-weary residents of Bernalillo County would possibly subscribe to the “lock ’em up” method to policing. The extent of medicine and property crime and the truth that we’re a nationwide chief in auto theft aren’t simply stuff you examine. They contact individuals’s lives.

However in lots of circumstances, “lock ’em up” isn’t good or efficient. Native legislation enforcement is implementing a greater manner.

The Albuquerque Police Division final week introduced it’s becoming a member of different companies in a behavioral well being initiative that offers authorities the discretion to supply therapy to those that commit low-level crimes associated to dependancy or psychological well being as a substitute of hauling them to jail.

“We wish to attempt to remedy the causes of a few of these low-level offenses … and get them assist in order that they don’t re-offend,” APD Deputy Chief Eric Garcia mentioned alongside Mayor Tim Keller and District Lawyer Raúl Torrez as they introduced the Legislation Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program.

Low-level crimes eligible for this system, which APD will begin with officers within the Worldwide District, embrace minor drug possession, prostitution, vagrancy, loitering and property crime dedicated to feed an dependancy. Anybody accused of a violent felony, crimes towards kids or drug-dealing for profit wouldn’t be eligible. In circumstances the place there’s a sufferer, the sufferer must conform to the diversion.

“This isn’t a ‘get-out-of-jail-free card,’” Garcia mentioned. “They’ll nonetheless be accountable for any future crimes.”

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Sam Howarth, Bernalillo County Habits Well being administrator, mentioned BCSO has skilled 30 deputies and there are plans to have sufficient case managers to juggle practically 200 circumstances.

The District Lawyer’s Workplace already has a technique of focusing assets on severe crime, repeat offenders and defendants who’re a part of a legal community, and Metro Courtroom has had success with its drug court docket. LEAD is one other vital piece of the puzzle and a wise use of legislation enforcement assets – one that gives an actual alternative to assist individuals break the cycle of drug dependancy and crime earlier than they grow to be the type of profession criminals who ought to be locked up.

The aforementioned crime-weary residents of Bernalillo County ought to mark the date and count on a report a yr to any extent further this system’s roll-out and outcomes.

This editorial first appeared within the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned because it represents the opinion of the newspaper quite than the writers.

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