Frequently Asked Questions about Mediation
- An alternative to the traditional complaint and disciplinary process. Committing to mediation represents the final step in the formal complaint process. If the complainant offers to mediate and the officer agrees, the complaint will be considered resolved and closed.
- A voluntary and confidential process in which a professional mediator helps community members and officers talk and listen to each other.
- A chance for officers to hear how their actions affected community members and vice versa.
What Mediation is NOT:
- Like court in which a third party renders a verdict about who is right or wrong. No evidence or witnesses are needed.
- A session in which parties are forced to shake hands and make up.
What are the benefits of using Mediation?
- Mediation allows officers and civilians to resolve complaints themselves, rather than depend on the judgment of others.
- Mediation is more satisfying than the regular complaint process. The overwhelming majority of those who have mediated say they would recommend it to others.
- Mediation can make a real difference in the understanding, attitude, and behavior of participants.
- Mediation can improve relationships between community members and police.
- Mediation is cost effective.
How are Mediation cases selected?
Complainants are generally offered the option of mediation during the intake process, but it can also be offered after the Internal Affairs Bureau has begun its investigation if the case appears to be a good candidate. Mediation is completely voluntary; forcing parties to talk to one another defeats the spirit of mediation, in our opinion. Potential mediation cases must also be reviewed and approved by the Independent Monitor and the Denver Police Department's Internal Affairs Commander. If the officer also agrees to participate, mediations are scheduled for a mutually agreeable time and place (including weekends and evenings). Most mediations take place at the Wellington Webb Municipal Building downtown, but they can occur at libraries or city council offices if it is more convenient for the parties.
What is the Role of the Mediator?
The mediator is a neutral third party trained and experienced in helping people talk through and resolve their differences in constructive ways. The Monitor' Office has contracted with a team of professional mediators to conduct community-police mediations. The mediator will:
- Explain the process and groundrules and answer any questions.
- Listen to both sides of the story.
- Ask questions to clarify what happened and identify central issues.
- Help keep the discussion focused, productive and non-threatening.
- NOT take sides, place blame, or pass judgment.