Law Enforcement Against Drugs: On the street and in the classroom
Law Enforcement Against Drugs (L.E.A.D.) is a national non-profit organization supported by dedicated police officers, committed to protecting youth and communities from the proliferation of drugs, drug-related crimes, peer-to-peer/cyber bullying and violence.
The mission of L.E.A.D. is to provide the leadership, resources and management to ensure law enforcement agencies have the means to partner with our educators, community leaders, and families by providing proven and effective programs to deter youth and adults from drug use, drug-related crimes, bullying and violence. We are committed to reinforcing the mutual respect, goodwill and relations between law enforcement and their communities.
The L.E.A.D. program was launched in 2014 in New Jersey with the goal of creating safer, healthier communities that are free of drugs, bullying and violence. L.E.A.D. collaborates with educators, community leaders, families and support organizations in 28 states to provide a number of curated programs (both in the classroom and on the streets). L.E.A.D. partners with the Mendez Foundation to offer the only K-12 proven evidence-based curriculum that is taught in the U.S. by police officers and educators. One thing that sets L.E.A.D.’s curriculum apart is that its programs have undergone evaluations by third-party researchers, using randomized treatment-control group designs (pre-test/post-test, 20-week post-test, or one-year follow-up). The Researchers examined pre-test equivalence between treatment and control groups, potential bias of loss of student data over time, quality of program implementation, and estimates of reliability and validity of assessment tools.
Below is an interview with L.E.A.D.’s Executive Director and CEO, Nicholas DeMauro.
How did the L.E.A.D. project start?
It was the brain child a police chief and school superintendent in 2014, because there was a high demand for police officers teaching in schools. They wanted to make sure that it was a tested proven effective curricula to address drug and alcohol prevention. The program started in one state, New Jersey, and has grown to around 2,200 instructors in 28 states.
What are the main initiatives of L.E.A.D?
Our mission is basically to stop drug abuse, deter drug-related crime, and stop bullying and violence. We also want to give kids the confidence and skills they need to grow into happy and healthy adults.
How do you measure success of the L.E.A.D. program?
We do pre- and post-tests. With everything we do, we try to make the programs justifiable. For instance, we have an ongoing study of approximately 2,000-3,000 kids every year that we monitor and measure the success of the program. We have a K-12 program with materials that are age appropriate. We have over 20 curriculum that we use. We also have initiatives for police officers and teachers that not just in the classroom — we're also on the street.
What types of police officers become involved with the program?
Mostly police officers who show interest in the program. They’re generally high-profile police officers in schools or in the community. Being L.E.A.D instructors becomes part of their full-time job.
What are some of the organizations that L.E.A.D. partners with?
We work with National Association of School Resource Officers, Civil Air Patrol and STOP (a simple, fast and powerful solution to report inappropriate behaviors, deter unethical or illegal activity, and mitigate financial and reputational risks to schools and corporations).
What plans are in the works for the next year or two?
We're excited about the direction of the organization. We're looking to set up Elite Communities That Care Coalition efforts to build up community, and make sure that they're doing a lot of evidence-based practices. We’re looking to continue growing the program throughout the country and supporting our communities.