PROSECUTING ATTORNEY’S OFFICE AWARDED $900,000

THE WHATCOM COUNTY PROSECUTING ATTORNEY’S OFFICE AWARDED $900,000 TO IMPLEMENT THE LAW ENFORCEMENT ASSISTED DIVERSION (LEAD) PROGRAM



Bellingham, WA, October 2, 2019  - The Whatcom County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office received a $900,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice through the Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Site- based Program.

“We are excited to announce that through this grant, the Whatcom County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office will begin implementing the innovative LEAD program without burdening local tax payers,” said Eric J. Richey, Whatcom County Prosecutor. “LEAD holds considerable promise as an alternative to jail for low-level drug crimes. Bringing stakeholders together in a collaborative manner will best serve those in need of services and at the same time help communities respond to public order issues.”

LEAD is not a human services program, but a public safety and order program that uses human resources tools. The goal of LEAD is to improve community health and safety by reducing criminal justice system involvement through use of specific human resources tools that are coordinated effectively with law enforcement and with community input.

LEAD is supported by a diverse set of partners, including Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo; Whatcom County Council Member Barry Buchanan; Whatcom County Executive Jack Louws; Whatcom County Public Defender’s Office; Whatcom County Health Department; Bellingham Mayor Kelli Linville; Bellingham Chief of Police David Doll; Bellingham City Attorney’s Office; LEAD National Support Bureau; Chuckanut Health Foundation Executive Director Heather Flaherty; Sea Mar Community Health Centers; Cascade Medical Advantage; Whatcom Community Detox; Community Member Lisa McShane; and the Bellingham Regional Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Guy Occhiogrosso. “Bringing an innovative program such as LEAD to Whatcom County would not be possible without the support and dedication of our partner agencies. We all believe the LEAD program will have a meaningful and sustainable impact on Whatcom County participants and communities,” said Eric J. Richey, Whatcom County Prosecutor.

For more information on this award and/or the LEAD program, please contact Eric J. Richey, Whatcom County Prosecutor, at 360-410-6365.