Police & Community Mediation
The San Francisco Police Department's Chief of Police, George Gascon, recently met with the local Community Board to praise their efforts in helping resolve disputes.
According Gascon, "Generally, the solutions that come out of the criminal justice system aren't very good," while he praised their mediation program. [read the article here]
As the article states, just about every town, city, and state are facing budget issues and an "outside the box" collaborative approach between Police Departments and community groups that offer mediation services, many of which are for free, can among many things help alleviate the burden of police responses to complaints. These complaints include noise and neighbor disputes.
Lorig Charkoudian did a study a five years ago detailing how the Baltimore Police Department's program to refer disputes to community mediation centers actually saved the department money. You can read about the study [here].
Among many benefits offered to police departments creating these collaborative initiatives include helping remove the feeling of helplessness on behalf of the the person making the complaint and the police stating they can not do anything/what the person wanted them to do since the alleged crime was not committed in the officer's presence.
Additionally, i think it opens the opportunity for the police departments to establish relationships with the local dispute resolution centers which can result in potential trainings and workshops for the officers to enhance their conflict resolution skills.
Jeff Thompson is a certified international mediator. He is also a law enforcement detective in New York. His law enforcement role include a being a communication and conflict specialist, interfaith dialogue, developing and implementing community engagement programs, and designing training workshops.
Jeff is currently a PhD candidate researching nonverbal communication and mediation at Griffith University Law School. He also received his MS in Negotiation and Dispute Resolution from the Creighton University School of Law. Jeff has presented and trained on the topic of conflict, mediation, communication and nonverbal communication internationally and has been published and featured with numerous international media organizations. He currently writes also at PsychologyToday.com.
(All posts by Jeff Thompson represent his personal reflections and opinions as a mediator and not that of any organization.)
Additional articles by Jeff Thompson