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Mediating Citizen Complaints against Police Officers : A Guide for Police and Community Leaders

By Walker, Samuel

Description
Legal Reference Publication

Excerpt
Excerpt: Mediation, along with other alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods, has emerged in America as a popular means of settling disputes (Singer 1994). 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 involved in a mediation program. Chapter 4 describes existing mediation programs and the reasons for their success or failure. Chapter 5 offers a guide for planning a mediation program. Introduction: vii.

Table of Contents
Table of Contents Section Page Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .iii About the Authors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .v Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .vii 1 Mediation: Definition and Goals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 What is Mediation? Defining our Terms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Goals of Mediation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 2 Potential Benefits of Mediation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Benefits for Police Officers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Benefits for Citizen Complainants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 Benefits for Police Accountability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11 Benefits for Community Policing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 Benefits for Complaint Process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 Benefits for the Criminal Justice System . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15 3 Key Issues in Mediation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17 Voluntary Participation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17 Case Eligibility . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18 Mediating Racial and Ethnic-Related Complaints . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19 Mediating Complaints by Women . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22 Potential Language and Cultural Barriers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23 Case Screening . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23 Police Discipline and Accountability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24 Getting Both Sides to the Table . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25 Creating a ?Level Playing Field? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27 Insincere Participation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28 Mediators . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29 Role of Lawyers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30 Confidentiality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30 Mediation Session . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .32 Case Outcomes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .34 Documentation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .36 Enforcement of Agreements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .36 Widening the Net? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .37 Danger of Unrealistic Expectations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .37 Planning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .38

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Title: Mediating Citizen Complaints against Police Officers : A Guide for Police and Community Leaders  
Author: Walker, Samuel
Volume:
Language: English
Subject: Law., Law & economy, Litigation and arbitration
Collection: Law Library Collection
Subcollection:
Historic
Publication Date:
Publisher: Department of Justice
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