Sunday, October 08, 2006

“I Can’t Get No Satisfaction!”

With the exception of the title of their 1965 hit song, The Rolling Stones have nothing to do with this.

What if a civilian could get satisfaction in resolving a complaint against a law enforcement officer? In the early 1990’s, at a time when New York City was rife with police scandals, the Civilian Complaint Review Board was created so that accusations against police officers could be handled by an independent agency. Cases would be investigated and then sent to the full board, which would recommend punishment when wrongdoing was found.

Guess what alternative was included in the enabling law? You guessed it – mediation! One of the reasons for incorporating mediation was to give the civilian the chance to tell the officer why they were so upset with what the officer said or did and to provide the opportunity to the civilian to ask questions of the officer. [Sounds like a good idea to me!] There are criteria for the types of cases that are suitable for this program.

The New York Times has an excellent article [free subscription required – it’s worth it!] about the program which has drawn national and international attention.

How about something like this in your community?

To email me, click Perry S. Itkin.