National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement

NACOLE is a non-profit organization that works to enhance accountability and transparency in policing and build community trust through civilian oversight. Read More


2017 NACOLE Academic Symposium at Arizona State University - Call for Papers Now Available

The National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (NACOLE) and Arizona State University School of Criminology and Criminal Justice are currently soliciting manuscripts for the 2017 NACOLE Academic Symposium at ASU’s Center for Violence Prevention and Community Safety.  Academic research and scholarship with the potential to contribute to an evidence base and research agenda on law enforcement accountability and legitimacy, broadly defined, is of interest and appropriate for submission. Read More

Statement of NACOLE President Brian Corr on Immigration and Law Enforcement

Recent events have generated considerable concern and anxiety regarding the role of law enforcement agencies, especially for members of our immigrant communities. The National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (NACOLE) believes that treating every person with dignity and justice is essential to supporting and promoting the safety, health, and well-being of all. 

Every individual – regardless of religion, race, immigration or documentation status, or national origin – should feel safe to seek and obtain assistance and protection from law enforcement and should not be subject to discriminatory treatment or harassment, or the fear of such treatment. Law enforcement relies on the trust and cooperation of all persons to promote community safety and provide proactive community policing services to all. The enforcement of the nation’s civil immigration laws is the primary responsibility of the federal government and therefore local, county, and state-level law enforcement should not undertake immigration-related investigations or inquire into the specific immigration status of any person encountered during normal operations. Read More


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    Tuesday, March 28, 2017 at 01:00 PM
    A NACOLE Webinar Event

    Mediation Webinar

    Strategies for a Successful Mediation Program

    Mediation, a form of alternative dispute resolution, is often used in civilian oversight as a process for resolving citizen complaints against the police through a face-to-face meeting, during which a professional mediator serves as a neutral facilitator.  Studies have shown that police and civilian mediation participants are more satisfied with the complaint resolution process than those involved in complaints subject to investigation.  In addition, mediating complaints has been shown to help build police-community understanding and reduce costs and case-completion times.

    Join us Tuesday, March 28, 2017, 1:00PM ET, as we hear from the directors of two civilian oversight agencies that have built and currently operate successful mediation programs: Lisa Grace Cohen of the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) and Rochelle Howard of the Washington, DC Office of Police Complaints (OPC).  In addition to discussing the nuts-and-bolts of their programs, they will suggest tools and resources for creating successful mediation programs such as consulting with mediation experts; leveraging existing research studies; and building support with police and union officials, city law departments, and legal and community advocates.


    Represented Mediation Programs 

    New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board’s Mediation Program

    The New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) is an independent agency empowered to receive, investigate, prosecute, mediate, hear, making findings and recommend actions regarding complaints filed by civilians against member of the New York City Police Department. In 1993, the legislation enacting the CCRB contained an unusual provision for its time mandating that the agency establish a mediation program. In 1997, the first year the program was in operation, the Mediation Unit was responsible for closing four cases. Since that time, the CCRB mediation program has become the largest voluntary mediation program, of its kind, in the country.  In 2016, the Medication Unit closed over 400 cases.

    Participation in the mediation program is voluntary for both civilians and officers. After a successful mediation (about 90% of mediated complaints are successful), the complaint is closed, there is no further investigation, and the officer is not disciplined. The CCRB mediates a wide range of allegations within its jurisdiction (that is, allegations of force, abuse of authority, offensive language, and discourtesy). The agency generally does not mediate cases in which there are allegations of property damage or physical injury, an arrest arising from the incident complained about or a pending or contemplated lawsuit. The mediation program satisfaction survey indicates that approximately 90% of officers and civilians are satisfied with both the mediation process and the outcome.


    Washington, D.C. Office of Police Complaints’ Mediation Program

    The Office of Police Complaints (OPC) mediation program is a key component of serving the agency’s mission: to increase community trust in the District of Columbia police forces by providing a fair, thorough, and independent system of civilian oversight of law enforcement.  The OPC’s mediation program is statutorily authorized, nationally recognized, and currently resolves approximately 13% of all OPC complaints through the use of independently contracted, neutral third-party mediators. Several factors are used to determine if a case should be referred for mediation including the type of misconduct allegation, the nature of the interaction between the complainant and the officer, and whether there seemed to be a misunderstanding between the complainant and the officer.  The OPC is authorized to refer a case to mediation without first obtaining the consent of the officer, and to mandate that the complainant and officer participate in the mediation in good faith.

    To evaluate how its mediation program is serving the agency’s mission and its customers, the OPC asks complainants and officers who participate in mediation to complete an anonymous survey about their experience.  OPC uses its mediation program as an efficient and effective way to resolve complaints while improving the relationship between the District of Columbia police forces and the community they serve.  The OPC’s mediation program has served as a model for alternative dispute resolution programs in civilian police oversight agencies around the country and is a source of great pride and accomplishment within the agency.