WHAT HAPPENS IN A MEDIATION SESSION?
HOW DOES A COMPLAINT GET TO MEDIATION?
After a complaint has been filed and the complaint has been referred to the Mediation Program at the Office of the Independent Police Monitor, emails and phone calls are made to the officer and civilian. If the complaint is eligible for mediation, the participants suitable for mediation, and both the officer and civilian agree to mediate, then a mutually-convenient date, time, and community location for the mediation is set.
WHERE DO MEDIATIONS TAKE PLACE?
Mediations take place in neighborhoods near where the incident happened or where the community member lives. Mediations have taken place in conference rooms in public libraries, classrooms in schools, board rooms at non-profit organizations, Sunday school rooms at churches, and meeting rooms in community centers. All mediation locations are selected on the basis of convenience to the participants, neutrality, and comfort.
WHO IS IN THE MEDIATION SESSION?
Both the civilian and the officer are invited to bring a non-speaking support person with them to the mediation session. Officers are in uniform during the mediation since the event that led to the mediation was related to their professional work as an officer or NOPD employee. All mediations are mediated by two professionally-trained neutral mediators who represent the demographics of the community. Every effort is made to match the demographics (race, age, and gender) of the two mediators to that of the officer and civilian. Our mediators come from diverse backgrounds and have undergone more than 50 hours of initial specialized community-police mediation training as well as monthly in- service trainings. Nine officers, sergeants, and lieutenants have participated in the initial mediation training program as well to assist with the training. All mediators are civilians.
WHAT HAPPENS AT THE MEDIATION TABLE?
The mediators introduce and explain the mediation process. All of the people in the room sign a confidentiality agreement. The mediators then ask each participant to share about their experiences. The participants listen to each other and the mediators help them better understand how each other is feeling and what’s important to them. The mediators then ask participants to brainstorm solutions or what they would like to see happen next time or in the future. Mediation usually ends in an agreement but it isn’t required. The sharing of thoughts and feelings and a better understanding are often enough. Other times, agreements may be an apology or other steps to help stop similar issues from happening again. The two people can be as creative as they like with the agreements.
HOW LONG DOES THE MEDIATION LAST?
Most mediations take about 60-90 minutes to complete. The mediators will allow however much time the participants would like for the mediation. In the rare event that a mediation lasts more than two hours, a second session may be scheduled.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE MEDIATION?
After the mediation, the participants are invited to complete an anonymous survey to give feedback about their experience and perspective. Approximately 30 days after the mediation, participants are contacted to follow up and invited to give additional feedback about the program and their experience. All information in the surveys are confidential and information is compiled in the aggregate for evaluation purposes.