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15 Newcastle L. Rev. 5 (2020)
Mediation of Complaints against Police: Program Implementation in the Denver Police Department

handle is hein.journals/nwclr15 and id is 5 raw text is: 



                                   Mary Riley
   Lecturer, School of Law and Criminology, University of Sunshine Coast. Email: mbaker1 @usc.edu.au
                                 Timothy Prenzler
   Professor, School of Law and Criminology, University of Sunshine Coast. Email: tprenzler@usc.edu.au)

Abstract: Civilians lodge complaints against the police because they believe they
have been  wronged. Equally, police officers become hardened by the public
negativity that goes with the job, yet rarely have an opportunity to voice their
perspective. Historically, the most common method of dealing with complaints
against police has been a departmental police-conducted process. However,
research has found widespread stakeholder dissatisfaction with this mechanism.
Some  police jurisdictions have implemented an independent complaints mediation
program  as an alternate, non-adversarial and potentially restorative option.
Complainants  and police officers have the opportunity for open and frank
discussion and to reach a mutual understanding on the incident that led to the
conflict. Denver has been seen as a model program on some criteria, such as high
participant satisfaction rates and program longevity. This paper examines the
Denver  civilian-police complaints mediation program to determine the reasons for
and the challenges faced in implementation and the strengths that underpin its
continuity. This has been done through a qualitative analysis of publicly available
documents  and semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders, including the
Denver  Police Department, the Office of the Independent Monitor and Community
Mediation Concepts. The findings indicate that civilian-police complaints mediation
programs  are most effective when well supported at the highest levels of
governance  and specifically designed for the locality. These findings add to the
growing body of literature on mediation of police complaints and provide lessons
for police services considering implementation.

Keywords:   civilian complaints, police, oversight, mediation, implementation

[VOL 151


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