Candidate for Suffolk County District Attorney Greg Henning announced details of his plan to create a mentorship program called Law Enforcement Early Diversion, or LEED, which would pair law enforcement professionals, such as assistant district attorneys and police officers, with young people throughout Suffolk County.
“Today, our kids are presented with harder choices at an earlier age, and one mistake can alter their lives forever,” said Greg Henning. “There are many dedicated people working in law enforcement who would welcome the chance to be mentors and work with kids in our community. My hope is that LEED steers young people away from influences that lead to criminal behavior, brings law enforcement and the community closer together, and changes perspectives across Suffolk County.”
LEED would start with preteens to reach them before they are introduced to guns, drugs, and other crime, and to encourage long-term mentoring relationships to support youth from Suffolk County. The District Attorney’s Office would work with community organizations, school officials, and faith-based groups to identify young people who might benefit from the program.
From taking kids to community events, to helping with homework and exposing young people to potential career paths, LEED would provide a way for law enforcement officials to work more closely with the community, divert kids from negative influences, reduce crime, and improve understanding between law enforcement and the community.
During his career as an assistant district attorney, as a teacher at Boston Prep, and as a volunteer basketball coach, Henning has consistently served as a role model and mentor to many young people throughout Suffolk County. “I’ve had my perspective shaped by the experiences of the young people whom I’ve mentored,” Henning says.
“Greg helped me want to do something with myself when I felt that a lot of other people had given up on me,” said Israel Bracho, a former student of Greg’s at Boston Prep. “He came in at the perfect time in my life to guide me as a teenager transitioning to the real adult world.”
Now a corrections officer in the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department, Bracho says, “Without Greg’s guidance I honestly have no idea where I’d be today. He helped me find that sense of drive in myself to want to do better. As DA, I know Greg will help show other young people in our community what’s possible for them.”
“My hope for LEED is to provide more kids in our community with a mentor, and to do so earlier in their lives. I’ve seen too many kids come through the criminal justice system that didn’t have the tools for success, and I know we can do a better job helping them,” said Henning. “Mentorship matters, and it can be an integrated piece of our criminal justice system. As law enforcement officials, we must show the community that we want to see people succeed, not fail.”
Greg’s full LEED plan is available at www.greghenning.com/leed/.
For ten years, Greg has worked as an assistant district attorney in the Suffolk County DA’s office, including time as head of the Gun Prosecution Task Force and as head of the Gang Unit, which is focused on shootings and other violent crimes in Suffolk County. In addition to his work at the DA’s office, Greg built a reputation as a beloved teacher and mentor in the community, and his career has been marked by a deep passion for reaching young people.
In 2009, Greg started volunteering, coaching, and tutoring at College Bound Dorchester. He left the DA’s office in 2011 to become a teacher at Boston Preparatory Charter Public School in Hyde Park, teaching eighth grade English and twelfth grade constitutional law. Even after he returned to the DA’s office in 2013, he remained a consistent part of his students’ lives.