Mediators' Perspectives on Officer-Civilian Mediations
At its best, civilian oversight of law enforcement ensures that there is a fair, thorough, and objective system for the investigation and resolution of civilian complaints against law enforcement officers. However, thorough investigations of complaints—whether the civilian oversight agency or the law enforcement agency conducts such investigations—should not be the only method by which complaints are resolved. Particularly when the complaint is grounded in a dispute between the officer’s and civilian’s perspective and his/her behavior, mediation may resolve the complaint to both parties’ satisfaction in ways that a detailed investigation cannot. 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.
Mediation is a process for resolving complaints civilians file against officers through a face-to-face meeting, during which a professional mediator serves as a neutral facilitator. It provides the parties with the opportunity to discuss the incident in a safe and confidential setting and share their individual perspectives. Complaints are considered successfully mediated when the parties agree that they have addressed or resolved the issues raised by the complaint.
But what actually happens in the mediation room? How does a mediator prevent the conversation from devolving into endless arguments over factual issues? How does the mediator facilitate a dispute into transformative conversation that results in mutual understanding. Join us on Monday, April 13, 2020, at 3:00 p.m., when we’ll hear from two mediators with whom the Washington, D.C. Office of Police Complaints contracts. This webinar will explore how they have adapted their individual mediation styles to civilian-officer mediations; how they effectuate transformative mediations in the civilian-police context; and what they have learned that may benefit broader police-community relations.
Please note that this event is open only to the first 100 registrants. We therefore recommend that you register early to guarantee your spot. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information on how to complete the final step to ensure that you are registered and able to join the webinar.
*Those who particiate in the webinar will be able to apply .75 hours towards their initial CPO certification or renewal. For verification purposes, and in order to receive CPO credit for this event, you must be registered for the event as an individual. For more information on the CPO program, please visit http://www.nacole.org/cpo_credential_program.
Catherine Morris is a Senior Mediator at the Consensus Building Institute, with more than 20 years of experience as a mediator and consensus builder. She works with diverse and often opposing parties to reach a better understanding of the problem and the intersection of parties’ interests to facilitate agreement. Since September 2017, Catherine has been an independent mediator for the DC Office of Police Complaints mediation program and has had some wins and losses to learn from. Catherine has provided not only transformative mediations helping the community but tremendous insight for the agency’s mediation program growth. Catherine received her mediation training from the Virginia Mediation Service Center and uses those skills to facilitate multi-party negotiations and collaborative problem-solving from the local to the international level.
Walid Abdul-Jawad, a mediator certified by the Virginia Supreme Court in the General District Court (GDC) and Juvenile and Domestic Relations (JDR). He mediates cases throughout Virginia’s courts, Arlington County government, and the District of Columbia, Office of Police Complaints. Walid has been an independent mediator for the DC Office of Police Complaints since October 2019. As the founder of Aehter Mediation LLC, he provides mediation for private party disputes in the Washington, DC Metropolitan area. Building on his graduate degree in conflict resolution, Walid teaches mediation and conducts workshops on conflict resolution in Northern Virginia and the District of Columbia. His past expertise in facilitation includes negotiations with foreign interlocutors as team-lead for the U.S. Department of State.
Rochelle Howard joined the DC Office of Police Complaints in February 2016as the agency’s Deputy Director. Prior to joining the agency, Rochelle served as the Deputy Assistant Inspector General for Inspections and Evaluations Division at the District of Columbia Office of the Inspector General. Rochelle’s OIG experience also included work at the Department of Commerce Office of the Inspector General Investigation Division, and the Office of Personnel Management Office of the Inspector General Evaluation and Inspection Division. Rochelle began her career serving in the U.S. Army JAG Corps for 8 years holding positions of Prosecutor, Defense Attorney, and NATO Anti-Corruption Advisor to the Afghan Police and serving in six combat missions in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Africa. Rochelle earned a law degree from the Widener University School of Law, a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Maryland University College, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Louisiana State University.