The goal of the Greenville Community-Police Mediation Program is to build understanding and improve relationships between the City of Greenville Police Officers and citizens of the community. It is an alternative to the traditional complaint investigation process by the GPD’s Internal Affairs Department. By improving the relationship between the community and police, mediation helps make neighborhoods safer and stronger.
Why did the Greenville Police Department decide to offer this program?
While conducting research on how law enforcement agencies in other cities resolve citizen complaints, the GPD command staff discovered that cities like Denver, Pasadena, and New York have had considerable success with mediation. After learning that the cities with mediation programs reported increased levels of satisfaction for both complainants and officers compared with traditional complaint-handling processes, Chief Miller decided to approach UMC about developing a similar program for Greenville. UMC researched how police departments and mediation centers were operating mediation programs and crafted one specifically for Greenville.
Mediation Benefits for Citizens:
- Citizens can speak directly to officers and evaluate first-hand how seriously they think the Police Department takes their concerns.
- Citizens have an opportunity to be heard and understood.
- Citizens can hear the officers’ perspective about the incident.
- Citizens can provide feedback that can help prevent similar incidents in the future.
- Through direct involvement, Citizens gain personal closure, rather than an unknown outcome.
Mediation Benefits for Police Officers:
- Officers can explain their actions and police procedures in a way that the field of duty does not permit.
- Officers hear the citizen’s complaints and concerns directly.
- Officers can address concerns both as an officer and as a citizen of the community.
- Officers can resolve issues affecting them outside of a formal review process.
- Direct feedback can help officers improve personal skills and perspectives in community policing.
Community-Police Complaints, resolved through mediation, have an 85%-90% satisfaction rate!