The Mediation Program is managed by the Office of the Independent Monitor and is a collaborative effort with the Denver Police Department, the Denver Sheriff Department, and Community Mediation Concepts (also called Denver Mediation Center).
Community-Police Mediation is an alternative to the traditional way of handling police complaints. Complainants have the opportunity to sit down with the officer in a neutral and confidential setting, with the assistance of a professional mediator. This completely voluntary process allows both sides to be heard- the complainant talks to the officer about the behavior s/he felt was inappropriate, harmful, scary, or discourteous and helps the officer see the incident from his/her perspective. The officer has an opportunity to explain what happened from his/her perspective as well, and often shares what kind of information s/he had going into the situation as well as relevant policies and procedures that may have impacted his/her decisions or actions. The mediator helps both sides to feel safe and comfortable in getting all of the issues out on the table and working through them.
Community-Police Mediation has proven to be a very meaningful experience for the overwhelming majority of complainants and officers who mediate complaints that range from discourtesy to improper procedure, and police bias to some uses of force. Most complainants do feel that they were heard, that they impacted the officers' future behavior, and that they achieved closure through the process. With satisfaction for both sides at 85% (as measured through anonymous exit surveys), we know that this process is empowering and it works!
The OIM Community-Police Mediation Model
The OIM Community-Police Mediation Model has been featured in national and international publications.
- "Community-Policing Dispatch" Online Publication from the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Community-Oriented Policing Services, 2/27/09
Read a related full-length article.
- "The Police Chief," Magazine published by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, 8/08.