After 21 years of service with the Redondo Beach Police Department, she retired in 2004 as the first female lieutenant. There, she worked in investigations, crisis negotiation, gang enforcement and special investigations, community relations, and community policing, among other assignments. In 2010, she joined LEAP as a speaker and quickly became a standout, representing LEAP in more than 60 media hits in the last three years alone, and testifying on key legislative efforts in California. Diane’s advocacy work has been recognized many, many times, including Peace Officer of the Year (1998, Redondo Beach Rotary Club); the H.B. Spear Award for Achievement in the Field of Law Enforcement (2017, Drug Policy Alliance); and the Research in Excellence Award (2017, University of Irvine, for her thesis, “The Evolution of The Drug War: From crack to heroin, how does the distribution of power in society affect policing strategies?”). She holds a Masters in Criminology, Law and Society and a Bachelor’s in Legal Studies. Diane has served on LEAP’s Board of Directors since 2014, and was elected Chair in 2018. She also serves on the executive boards of LEAP UK and The Influence Foundation. As of 2020, she represents LEAP on the Stand Together Policing Coalition, and serves on the Harm Reduction Special Interest Group for the Global Law Enforcement and Public Health Association.
In addition to her impressive professional background in both policing and advocacy work, Diane deeply understands LEAP’s mission on a personal level. She has experienced the tragic loss of a loved one to drug overdose, and that loss has been a driving force in her drug policy work. Diane is a champion for treating drug use as a public health issue and making treatment safe and accessible for those who need and want it. She is a committed advocate for community wellbeing, believing police transparency and accountability are nonnegotiable and all community stakeholders must have the opportunity to be heard. And she is a shining example of what women in police leadership bring to the table: she is tireless, effective, compassionate, measured, and a clear communicator.
I have no doubt that Diane is the right person for this job, and she’ll be ready to hit the ground running because she’ll have the strongest team I’ve ever worked with behind her. The LEAP staff are extraordinarily dedicated. I know they will flourish under Diane’s expert leadership – she has been an integral part of our team for years, making this transition a seamless one, both internally and externally. This team will lead LEAP into the future ready to meet the changing landscape, building on our successes and taking justice and drug policy reform to the next level.
I’m honored to be a part of this organization, and our work would not be possible without partners like you, Friend. Thank you for standing with us as we move into this exciting new chapter.
I’ll end with this -- congratulations, Diane! We are all looking forward to what LEAP will accomplish under your leadership.
Major Neill Franklin (Ret.)