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For Immediate Release 

December 19, 2016

Contact: Thomas Meara | Email: | Phone: (718) 309-3506  




New initiative launched at community event offers solutions instead of punishment for residents struggling with mental illness, drug addiction & poverty 


After an Impeccable, Twenty-Two Year Career in Law Enforcement, Cox Seeks to Bolster a Program that Diverts People Away from the Traditional Justice System Response


Cox Played an Essential Role in Albany’s LEAD Program and Plans to Take that Experience Across the Country in His New Role


NEW YORK, NY – On Monday, December 19th, Albany Police Chief Brendan Cox announced his intention to retire from the department and transition to a leadership role with the LEAD® National Support Bureau (Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion). Cox’s twenty-two-year career with the Albany Police Department was marked by accomplishments that have been recognized nationally and internationally. The Bureau provides technical assistance and guidance to jurisdictions across the country which are interested in developing LEAD programs. In joining the Bureau, Cox will bring his knowledge and experience to support LEAD sites across the country.


LEAD is a community-based diversion approach with the goals of improving public safety and public order, and reducing unnecessary justice system involvement of people who participate in the program.  In a LEAD program, in lieu of the normal criminal justice system cycle -- booking, detention, prosecution, conviction, incarceration -- individuals are instead referred, to trauma-informed, harm reduction-based case management, where they receive a wide range of support services, often including drug treatment and/or transitional and permanent housing. 


"Done well, LEAD transforms policing and it saves lives, which is why the model is taking off around the country, said Lisa Daugaard, Executive Director of the Public Defender Association, in Seattle. “But we know that building a viable LEAD program is challenging, especially setting it up so that police officers really embrace the new approach. Chief Cox's decades of experience as a police officer and chief, and his credibility acquired in the course of developing Albany's LEAD program, make him uniquely qualified to assist jurisdictions that want to replicate LEAD."


"Chief Cox's experience and commitment to community leadership and harm reduction makes him valuable to any strategy designed to expand public safety,” said Lorenzo Jones, Co-Executive Director of the Katal Center for Health, Equity, and Justice. “His leadership and experience have served the City of Albany well, including through some difficult times. We look forward to working with Chief Cox at the Bureau to strengthen health, equity, and justice in New York and across the country.”



"We at the Center for Law and Justice are grateful for Chief Cox's years of dedicated and meaningful engagement with the community in Albany," said Dr. Alice Green, Executive Director of the Center for Law and Justice. "The Center has long worked to address and reduce racial disparities in the criminal justice system, and Chief Cox was an important partner in that effort. From his work to promote more community based approaches, to his support for the development of Albany's LEAD program, he's been an important partner. We look forward to working with  him in his new role at the LEAD National Support Bureau, and to working with the new Chief to carry forward the smart reforms initiated by Chief Cox." 


“I’ve worked with Chief Cox for nearly ten years, from collaborating to set up the Capital Region’s first and only syringe exchange program, to establishing the LEAD program in Albany. These examples demonstrate how Chief Cox has played a critical role in supporting evidence-based alternatives that promote public safety and public health,” said Keith Brown, Albany Lead Project Director at the Katal Center for Health, Equity, and Justice. “Chief Cox understands the critical importance of harm reduction in developing viable, community based alternatives to the normal – and broken – criminal justice system cycle. We’re excited to continue working with Chief Cox in his new role, both here in Albany and around the country.”


“Serving the Albany community for twenty-two years has been a tremendous honor. The Albany Police Department will always be a huge part of my life and Mayor Sheehan and Dr. Alice Green have been excellent partners,” said Brendan Cox, Albany Police Chief. “In the next stage of my career, I will use the experiences and insights as a police officer in Albany to support jurisdictions in developing innovative approaches to promoting public safety and community well being. In my new role at the Bureau, I’ll continue serving Albany by supporting its LEAD program, and I look forward to working with other jurisdictions in New York and across the country.”


“We are so pleased to welcome Chief Brendan Cox to the LEAD National Support Bureau,” said gabriel sayegh, Co-Executive Director of the Katal Center for Health, Equity, and Justice. “His exemplary leadership and commitment to community engagement and equity is widely known and will help the Bureau be ever more effective in supporting jurisdictions across the country. In the growing movement to end the war on drugs and mass incarceration, local reform efforts, especially in cities, is essential. We are excited to have Chief Cox join the team at this historical moment. Experiences like his will be critical to support cities and counties in developing new local approaches and to drive much needed national reform.”




Based in Seattle, with offices in New York and Hartford, the LEAD® National Support Bureau is a partnership between the Public Defender Association and the Katal Center for Health, Equity, and Justice. The Bureau is led and staffed by members of a team of public health and justice system veterans who designed the original Seattle LEAD program, and others who have now launched LEAD in other jurisdictions. The Bureau draws on the expertise of community public safety leaders, police, prosecutors, case managers, and service providers who are now using LEAD.

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