The Greenville Police Department and the Upstate Mediation Center (UMC) are launching a new Community – Police Mediation Program that is designed to provide an alternative forum for resolving certain types of citizen complaints. Through this program, specially-trained professional UMC mediators will guide citizens and police officers through a face-to-face facilitated discussion in a neutral, confidential environment.
Participation in the mediation program is voluntary and is offered as an alternative to the Greenville Police Department’s formal complaint process. Complaints that are eligible for the program include demeanor complaints (e.g., discourteous or rude behavior); ineffective communication between a complainant and a police officer; and biased-based policing complaints.
Citizen complaints about law enforcement often stem from misunderstandings and poor communication during emotionally-charged incidents. The goal of mediation is to alleviate the accompanying anger, fear, anxiety, trauma, and resentment and provide an opportunity for both the citizen and the officer to tell their side of the story in a non-threatening, non-judgmental setting. Through mediation, both parties gain an understanding of the other’s perspective, which helps to restore confidence and rebuild trust between the two parties.
Law enforcement agencies in cities such as Denver, Pasadena, and New York have successfully utilized similar programs and report that both citizens and officers leave mediation sessions with a greater sense of satisfaction than those who participate in the traditional departmental complaint process.
With the assistance of the Upstate Mediation Center, the Greenville Police Department is committed to helping citizens and officers find common ground and resolve their grievances fairly and amicably.
About the Upstate Mediation Center
The Upstate Mediation Center (UMC) is a community based non-profit organization that has provided high-quality, affordable mediation services in the Upstate since 1999. In the past year alone, UMC has conducted over 600 mediations. For more information, visit http://upstatemediation.com/.