What is Mediation?
Mediation is a voluntary process in which the parties in a dispute (i.e. complainant, police officer) meet with a trained third person that helps them resolve the problem in a way they both can agree with.
The following are qualities of the mediation process:
Voluntary – The Office of Community Complaints (OCC) does not require that the complainant or the police officer(s) participate in the mediation program.
Optional – Mediation is a way to resolve a complaint in lieu of participating in a formal investigation. Mediations can be conducted in a shorter amount of time than it would take to fully investigate a complaint. Complaints that are mediated are not submitted for investigation.
No disciplinary action will be taken against either party – The Office of Community Complaints wants everyone to feel they can speak freely during the mediation process. For this reason, no action, disciplinary or otherwise, is taken against the participants of a formal mediation. This applies to the complainants and the police officers. Hopefully this policy will encourage everyone to be open and candid about the events that led to the complaint.
Confidential – Mediation is confidential. Mediation discussions and all materials developed for mediation are not admissible in any court proceedings, except for a finalized and signed mediated agreement for enforcement purposes.
Controlled – Each party to a mediation has complete decision-making power. Nothing can be imposed on either party without their consent.
Collaborative – The complainant and officer are encouraged to work together to solve their problems and to reach what they consider to be the fairest and most constructive agreement.
Impartial, Neutral, Balanced, and Safe – The mediator has an equal and balanced responsibility to assist each mediating party and cannot favor the interests of any one party over another, nor will the mediator favor a particular result in the mediation. The mediator’s role is to ensure that agreements are reached in a voluntary and informed manner, and not as a result of coercion or intimidation.
Self-Responsible and Satisfying – Based upon participants resolving their own conflict, satisfaction, likelihood of compliance, and self-esteem are elevated through mediation.
The Office of Community Complaints asks complainants and subject officers to explore mediation as a process through which to resolve complaints. Please consider this as an alternative to a formal OCC investigation. Contact the assigned analyst, Michael Walker at 816-889-6646 or firstname.lastname@example.org, with any questions.