Minister of Justice National Youth Justice Policing Award

National Youth Justice Policing Award Winner for 2022

The DIVERSIONfirst Program

The recipients of the 2022 Minister of Justice National Youth Justice Policing Award are Sergeant Kendall Booth of the Edmonton Police Service, Leeanne Harvey, Youth Programs Coordinator of the Edmonton Police Service, and Michael Peters, Program Manager of YMCA of Northern Alberta for their DIVERSIONfirst Program.

DIVERSIONfirst was first piloted in 2018. It has helped hundreds of youth, and is supported by some 90 community agencies in the Edmonton area that provide opportunities to young offenders. DIVERSIONfirst focuses on early intervention, diversion and restorative justice approaches. It connects young people who have committed their first non-violent criminal offence with community and family supports―helping them build the foundations for a positive future away from crime.

Leeanne Harvey is the Youth Programs Coordinator for the Edmonton Police Service. Over the last nine years, Leeanne has spearheaded the creation, design, and implementation of numerous youth programs for frontline policing, including programs to better engage with young people and their families. Her experience as a civilian working alongside police for many years has ensured high standards of programming and community engagement. Leeanne led the development of restorative justice initiatives, elementary school education and engagement programs, and the Edmonton Police Cadets program.

Together with the YMCA, Leeanne led the creation and development of DIVERSIONfirst. This successful program uses a strength-based, restorative justice approach to address the underlying behaviours of youth. In connecting youth with the right resources, the program builds resiliency and provides opportunities, encouraging youth to be hopeful about the future rather than to dwell on the past. Empowering youth to see their true value has been Leeanne’s objective in her work with the Edmonton Police Service.

Sgt. Kendall Booth supervises both the DIVERSIONfirst and One80 Units within the Youth Services Section in the Edmonton Police Service.  Kendall worked in various patrol divisions, downtown beats, and community policing both as a constable and as a supervisor before joining this area. He is also a member of the Critical Incident Stress Management team, which provides supports to Edmonton Police Service members who have experienced traumatic events.

Michael Peters is a Program Manager with YMCA of Northern Alberta. During his 14-year career with YMCA and an additional 10 years with other youth serving agencies, Michael has developed, designed, and implemented several unique programs that empower children and youth in the community. Using his expertise and experience gained over two decades Michael continues to ensure all aspects of his work “meet youth where they are at,” emotionally, developmentally, and geographically.

Michael has been part of the DIVERSIONfirst development and delivery alongside Edmonton Police Service, bringing an important perspective to how the program will support youth, their families, and natural supports. In addition to his work with DIVERSIONfirst, Michael currently sits on the Board of Directors for the Alberta Restorative Justice Association.

Previous Winners

The Minister of Justice National Youth Justice Policing Award was established in 2000. Here are the previous award recipients: