A project manager has been selected to administer a grant from the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention to establish a L.E.A.D. program in the City of Annapolis. Katy Edwards is a native of the Annapolis area and a graduate of St. John’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She began her work with the City in the days before Thanksgiving.
L.E.A.D. is an acronym for Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (traditional) or Let Everyone Advance with Dignity (modern). The two names denote the evolving nature of a national program that seeks to relieve law enforcement agencies of social service intervention work. Edwards will spend the beginning part of her contract writing the program. With the next cycle of funding, Edwards will help with program implementation.
The L.E.A.D. program helps divert people out of the criminal justice system. By taking nonviolent and victimless crimes out of the court system, assisting people after a period of incarceration, and working with caseworkers and workforce development, the goal is to advance people into a community that cares.
“At one point in time, the L.E.A.D. program presented a radical change in the way civilians and police worked together,” said Mayor Gavin Buckley. “This program is ripe for our time and ripe for our City. It’s not a radical concept any longer.”
The Mayor’s Office wrote a grant to Gov. Larry Hogan’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention earlier this year. The grant funding for the program was awarded in September in the amount of $528,000 over three years. No matching City funds are required to fulfill this grant.
Edwards has worked in program management for substance abuse treatment among adolescents and outreach to homeless youth. Until recently, she was the Lighthouse Shelter’s Workforce Grants Administrator.
“My family has been here for 50 years with a legacy of community involvement that I’m excited to continue,” said Edwards. “The aim of the program will be to empower individuals for the long haul. Of course, that’s useful at any time, but it is especially crucial around the economic uncertainty of this pandemic time period.”