King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove announced Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020 that he had secured funding for the Burien Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program in the Executive’s 2021-22 biennial county budget.

“When I was Chair of the Budget Committee, we expanded this program into South King County and we are safer because of it,” Upthegrove said. “We recognize that we have a more just society if people of color can avoid contact with the criminal justice system and that is why I fought hard to ensure the Executive included funding for Burien LEAD in his budget.”

Burien LEAD is an innovative diversion program that helps keep people out of the criminal justice system and instead provides them with community-based housing, health care, job training, treatment and mental health support. The goal is to help people stay on track and avoid becoming entrenched in the system.

“LEAD is a model program for a different approach to public safety issues,” said Burien Mayor Jimmy Matta. “Our program has shown tremendous success and we are ecstatic that Councilmember Upthegrove has helped keep this program in our community.”

The Executive’s budget proposal will now go to the King County Council and the Burien community is encouraged to share its support for this program by emailing [email protected].