Police Officer Mediation

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U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services Mediating Citizen Complaints Against Police Officers: A Guide For Police and Community Leaders Authors: Samuel Walker Carol Archbold Leigh Herbst Department of Criminal Justice University of Nebraska at Omaha 2002 www.cops.usdoj.gov Table of Contents 2 Mediating Citizen Complaints Against Police Officers: A Guide For Police and Community Leaders Authors Samuel Walker Carol Archbold Leigh Herbst Department of Criminal Justice University of Nebraska at Omaha 2002 Suggested Citation Walker, Samuel, Carol Archbold and Leigh Herbst, Mediating Citizen Complaints Against Police Officers: A Guide for Police and Community Leaders Web Version (Washington,…show more content…
Mediation is widely used in divorce cases, employee-employer disputes, small commercial disputes, and many other areas of life where disagreements and conflicts arise. In general, participants have found mediation more satisfying than going to court or enduring some other formal procedure; it is usually quicker, more efficient, and less expensive. In addition, and perhaps most important, mediation has the potential to build understanding and lessen conflict between people. For all these reasons, mediation has obvious applications in resolving citizen complaints against police officers. Although mediation is widely used in many areas of American life, few programs offer mediation for citizen complaints against police officers. Mediation is a complex enterprise, and many obstacles can arise in the course of establishing a program. For example, a broad consensus of opinion exists among experts in the field that not all citizen complaints should be mediated, especially use of force complaints. In addition, experienced mediators generally find that citizen complaint cases differ from other kinds of cases they have mediated because of the police officer's inherent power. Moreover, many police officers are unenthusiastic about using mediation to resolve citizen complaints, fearing they may be forced to admit to things they did not do. This misconception is largely due to a lack of understanding of what mediation is and how the process works. Clearly, communities must address these and other issues before establishing a mediation program. This report explores these and other issues in an effort to help police and community leaders develop successful mediation programs. Chapter 1 defines mediation and describes its goals. Chapter 2 discusses the potential benefits of mediation. Chapter 3 discusses the various key issues

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