"We're pretty stubborn and set in our ways, and we need to change that."

New LEAP speaker and Georgia police officer Captain Donnie James ensures his department properly responds to mental health crises. In this interview, he talks about crisis response protocol, how his department collaborates with local support services, and the importance of cross-disciplinary training in police academies. Originally from a small town in South Georgia, Capt. James left after high school to join the military. After 8 years in the military, he ended up in Chicago, where he was a police officer for a few years. He came home to Georgia to raise his son and continued his policing career in the Atlanta area.

*The views expressed in this interview are his own and do not necessarily represent the views of his department.*Mikayla Hellwich: How would you describe DeKalb County?

Capt. James: It’s part of the Atlanta Metro area – about 280 square miles, covering the whole east side. It’s very diverse. You have all cultures and events occurring around you in affluent neighborhoods an…

Press Release: Senate Passes First Step Act

For Immediate Release:  December 19th, 2018 Contact: Mikayla Hellwich
Last night, with overwhelming support, the Senate voted to pass the bipartisan criminal justice reform legislation known as the First Step Act. The House is expected to pass this week, and President Trump is expected to sign the bill subsequently. 
Below is a statement from the Law Enforcement Action Partnership's (LEAP) executive director, Police Major Neill Franklin (Ret.): 

"In a time when Americans seem to disagree on nearly everything, the bipartisan support for the First Step Act proves we can work together to create meaningful reform of the justice system. It's clear the problems plaguing our sentencing and corrections policies are finally being taken seriously by people of all political persuasions. I look forward to the bill making it to President Trump's desk -- and making history."

To schedule an interview with a police officer, judge, prosecutor, or correctio…

Press Release: Marijuana Use Among Teens Still Lower Than in 2012

For Immediate Release:  December 17th, 2018 Contact: Mikayla Hellwich
Marijuana Use Among Teens Still Lower Than in 2012 Police Group Reacts to New Federal Survey Data
Today, data from the federally-funded Monitoring the Future Survey revealed that adolescent marijuana use remains at lower rates than in 2012 when Colorado and Washington first legalized the drug for adult-use. Since then, eight more states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for adult-use. 
The National Institute on Drug Abuse, in partnership with researchers at the University of Michigan, found that in 2018, the percentages of 8th, 10th, and 12th graders who had consumed marijuana in the last 30 days had declined compared to 2012 numbers. The rates of daily, annual, and lifetime use are also lower this year.

Below is a quote from the Law Enforcement Action Partnership's executive director, Police Major Neill Franklin (Ret.):

"While the full effects of marijuana lega…

Press Release: LEAP Endorses the First Step Act

For Immediate Release: 
December 12, 2018 Contact: Mikayla Hellwich 240.461.3066

Today, the Senate is reintroducing a revised version of bipartisan criminal justice reform legislation known as the First Step Act. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell revived the stalled bill after securing revisions and receiving pressure from the White House.

Below is a statement of endorsement from the Law Enforcement Action Partnership's executive director and opinion pieces authored by LEAP experts in Louisiana and North Carolina who support the legislation.

"If anything gives me hope for the future of our justice system, it's our bipartisan consensus on sentencing and corrections issues. We may not agree on every detail of how the justice system needs to be fixed, but law enforcement, advocates, and legislators of both parties are all in agreement that putting more people behind bars for longer sentences isn't going to make us safer - it never has.&q…

Meet a small town chief helping people addicted to drugs into treatment

"I didn't become a cop to arrest every person that I knew."In a small town in Upstate New York, Chief Peter Volkmann is transforming his police department to better respond to the explosion of opioid overdoses. He's a nationally recognized leader in law enforcement-based harm reduction programs and community-oriented policing.
Mikayla Hellwich and Roshun Shah: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us today. People who read our blog love to hear from officers who support harm reduction. Please tell us a little bit about Chatham: what it's like to be a police chief in a rural town in New York, and what are some of the challenges you face?

Police Chief Peter Volkmann: Chatham is in Columbia County, right outside of Albany. We're a very small village in a rural county, typical of Upstate New York. Our policing is very community oriented. Everybody knows everybody, but we still have the typical problems that every community has, which includes people su…

ACTION ALERT! Denver City Council to Vote on Supervised Use Site Ordinance

On Monday, the Denver City Council will read and vote on a proposed ordinance that would allow a pilot program for supervised consumption spaces, also called overdose prevention centers. 
Thank you to the Harm Reduction Action Center of Denver; all the service providers working directly with people who use drugs; and the broader coalition of organizations, public health experts, and legislators working in Denver - and in other cities - to bring supervised consumption spaces to the U.S. And thank you to Mayor Hancock and the City Council for bringing this critical piece of legislation to a vote. We appreciate your commitment to public health and safety.
If you live in Denver, you can help by sending letters to your council members and to Mayor Hancock (use this web form). You can also help by spreading the word about the vote on social media - be sure to tag the Harm Reduction Action Center - @HRAC_Denver - and use the hashtag #DenverWantsSupervisedUseSites. 
You can also show your suppor…