Jim Pugel may no longer be Seattle’s Interim Police Chief, but apparently that wont stop him from visiting Poland this week to talk about Seattle’s Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program.
We’ve written about the LEAD program a number of times here at Seattle Weekly (here, here and here). Basically, it allows Seattle’s police force to connect chronic low level criminals - prostitutes, drug addicts, etc. - with support services instead of simply continuing the hopeless cycle of offense, arrest and repeat. Trumpeting the success the LEAD program has had in Belltown, former Mayor Mike McGinn requested $1.7 million in his last budget to expand LEAD throughout the downtown core.
Poland, it would seem, has taken note, and intends to study the LEAD program for possible implementation there. According to a press release from the Polish Drug Policy Network:
Former Seattle Police Chief Jim Pugel will present to the Polish parliament, meet senior law enforcement officials and address national public health advocates to consider what aspects of the LEAD program are applicable to Poland.
“Poland can learn a lot from Seattle,” said Agnieszka Sieniawska, chairwoman of the Polish Drug Policy Network. “Many of us recognize that harsh punishments for minor, non-violent offenses only make a bad situation worse. Seattle, under Chief Pugel, charted a sensible new path that is worth emulating.”
Apparently Pugel’s assistant is out of the office today, but SPD Spokesperson Renee Witt says that she believes Pugel will be in Poland through Wednesday.