LEAD (law enforcement assisted diversion) Initiative

LEAD Initiative Logo (image)

The Hamilton County Justice Center was designed for 840 people, yet each month, 1,300 people often occupy the jail daily. A large percentage of these inmates have been arrested and incarcerated multiple times due to addiction, mental illness, or homelessness.

The Hamilton County LEAD initiative aims to stop the cycle of arrest by diverting low-level criminal offenses from the justice system to an intensive case-management program where individuals receive a wide range of support services. Police Officers utilize their discretion to divert low-level, non-violent male and female offenders who may be driven to offend due to untreated addiction, mental health conditions, homelessness, or poverty into the program.

In 2018, Hamilton County was awarded a $500,000 COSSAP Grant awarded by the DOJ’s Bureau of Justice Assistance to pilot the LEAD initiative in Cincinnati Police Department’s District 1 and Central Business District in Downtown Cincinnati. Since its launch, LEAD has been able to expand its operations to Norwood, OH and Colerain Township. The LEAD pilot is based on the first LEAD Pilot Program launched in Seattle, Washington in 2011, as a response to large amount of low-level narcotic related offenses. This model has since been replicated by many other states across the country. Hamilton County LEAD receives support and consultation from the LEAD National Support Bureau to ensure the program is in compliance with the program model and values.

Goals of LEAD

Reorient government’s response to safety, disorder, and health-related problems

Improve public safety and public health through research-based, health-oriented, and harm reduction interventions

Reduce the number of people entering the criminal justice system for low-level offenses related to drug use, mental health, and extreme poverty

Undo racial disparities at the front-end of the criminal justice system

Sustain funding for alternative interventions by capturing and reinvesting criminal justice system savings

Strengthen the relationship between law enforcement and the community

How it Works

The LEAD initiative allows for police officers to utilize their discretion to divert individuals from the cycle of arrest to community based, harm-reduction intervention. In lieu of the criminal justice system cycle—booking, detention, prosecution, conviction, incarceration—individuals are instead referred to intensive case management services where the individual receives a wide range of support services.

How does a person get into LEAD?
LEAD participants must be referred to the program by a law enforcement officer either at the point of arrest OR law enforcement can refer individuals identified as being high-risk for committing low level non-violent offenses. These offenses include possession of drug paraphernalia/drug abuse instruments, misdemeanor theft or unauthorized use of property, criminal damaging, criminal trespassing, or disorderly conduct.

What is expected of a participant?
LEAD is based on harm-reduction principles. Participants are not denied services if they do not achieve abstinence. Participants work at their own pace to achieve their goals. As goals are met, involvement in the program may become less. Participants may be removed from the program if they commit a violent offense or threaten staff.

Our Staff

Hamilton County LEAD staff consists of men and women with extensive case management experience in supporting individuals impacted by poverty, addiction, mental illness, criminal convictions, and chronic homelessness.

Meagan Gosney
Program Manager
Email: [email protected]

Trina Jackson
Case Management Supervisor
Email: [email protected]

Sheryl Miles
Case Manager
Email: [email protected]


Key stakeholders include:

  1. Hamilton County Addiction Response Coalition
  2. Hamilton County Administration
  3. Hamilton County Commissioner
  4. Office of the Cincinnati City Manager
  5. Cincinnati Mayor
  6. Cincinnati City Council
  7. Office of the Solicitor
  8. Cincinnati Police Department
  9. Hamilton County Public Defender’s Office
  10. Ohio Justice and Policy Center
  11. Hamilton County Office of Re-Entry
  12. Norwood Police Department
  13. Office of the Norwood Law Director
  14. Office of the Norwood Safety-Service Director
  15. Colerain Police Department
  16. Office of the Colerain Administrator


Multiple service provider agencies and other entities play a crucial role in ensuring quality of services for LEAD participants.

Where to Find Us

The main LEAD office is located at 1000 Sycamore St. South Building Room 114 Cincinnati, OH 45202. LEAD staff operates out of this office on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

On Wednesdays, LEAD staff operates out of the Colerain Police Department at 4200 Springdale Rd. Cincinnati, OH 45251. On Fridays, LEAD staff operates out of the Norwood Police Department Substation located at 1810 Courtland Ave. Norwood, OH 45212. Hours are Monday through Friday 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM.

LEAD staff can be reached at 513-946-PLAN (7526).