The Pasadena Police-Community Mediation Program is a collaborative partnership between the Pasadena Police Department (PPD) and the Western Justice Center (WJC) developed to mediate civilian complaints against police officers. The goal of this program is to build more understanding and better relations between the Pasadena community and the police.
Western Justice Center convenes the mediation sessions with an impartial third party who facilitates communication and negotiation between the PPD employee and civilian. The program provides an opportunity for both PPD employee and the civilian to discuss their issues in a safe and impartial environment. The police and community members are able to collaborate with one another rather than treat each other as adversaries and to have their complaints dealt with in an efficient manner.
Ten hours of conflict resolution training in concepts and skills is offered for all police supervisors, and the mediations are expanding to include pre-complaint mediations and mediation of disputes between PPD employees so they can focus on better serving the Pasadena community.
What Is Mediation?
- A voluntary and confidential process guided by a professional, impartial mediator, an expert in facilitation and negotiation.
- An alternative to the traditional complaint process. Mediations allow an opportunity for both police employees and community members to come together and explain their perspective to one another.
- A process designed to encourage understanding and listening in a non-blaming, non-attacking manner. This process does not determine who is innocent or guilty. Respect and fairness towards all parties are central to the mediation process.
The Benefits Of Mediation
- The concerns of both sides are heard and addressed, and all parties work towards a durable solution.
- This process fosters understanding, which is beneficial especially if there is a history of problems between the police employee and community member.
- It provides both parties with control over the resolution. Many community members find this process empowering and highly satisfying because it promotes effective communication. Police officers find that this process allows them to explain their actions.
- It is a quick (a few hours) session. A formal investigation may take months.
- This is a confidential process. It does not stay on your record. This allows citizens and officers to speak freely and honestly.
- This is a process that promotes empathy.
- It is an impartial process. The mediation is held an a neutral location, and the mediator does not take sides.
- Mediation is voluntary. This means that neither the police officers nor the citizen are forced to go to mediation. If the mediation process is not working constructively for either party, they make leave the process at any time.
Mediation Does NOT Do:
- Nobody involved in the mediation, including the mediator, singlehandedly decides the outcome of the session or makes a verdict about who is at fault, like in court. Instead, the mediator helps both parties to derive a solution that is mutually beneficial.
- Evidence and witnesses are not required.
- This is not a process that forces anyone to make an agreement or shake hands.
Who Are The Mediators?
All mediators are certified professionals. They are experts of this conflict resolution process. Mediators are impartial and do not disclose any content discussed during the mediation process with anyone after the mediation session is complete. The mediators engage both parties in constructive dialogue so that they can discuss the issues in good faith. The mediators do not take an advocacy role whatsoever.
How Can You Use The Program?
Step 1: When you go to the police department to make a complaint, indicate to the officer taking the complaint that you want to use mediation. If your complaint is one that is appropriate for mediation, s/he will give you the necessary forms to fill out.
Step 2: You will be contacted by the Western Justice Center to arrange the date, place, and time of the mediation.
Step 3: You attend the mediation, and, if the issues that caused you to file the complaint are resolved, then you withdraw the complaint.
Step 4: If your issues are not resolved, your complaint is reviewed through the Internal Investigations complaint procedure.
What Cases Are Eligible For Mediation?
Depending on the nature of the case, mediation may or may not be a suitable process. Some cases are not eligible for mediation, such as criminal misconduct. Typically, if the incidence in dispute falls under the realm of Courtesy, Tactics, Service, or Procedure, then the case can be mediated. If the case falls under these categories and the complainant and police employee are interested in mediation, the case gets scheduled for mediation.
Can I Pursue Mediation Before I File A Formal Complaint?
Yes. Pre-Complaint Mediations allow individuals to pursue mediation before they file a formal complaint with the Pasadena Police Department. To pursue a Pre-Complaint Mediation, contact the Western Justice Center at 626-584-7494.
After the completion of the mediation, the disputants take a voluntary survey so that they can provide feedback about their satisfaction with the mediation process, including any agreements made and the performance of the mediator. Specific information about the contents discussed during the mediation are NOT disclosed.
When And Where Does The Mediation Occur?
The mediations typically occur at the Western Justice Center, located at 55 South Grand Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91105 or at another location that is neutral and convenient for all parties.
What If I Need A Translator?
Translation services are available during mediations. Immigration status is also not relevant to mediations, and there is no inquiry about immigration status.
Will The Mediation Session Cost Me Anything?
No. This process will not bear any costs to the disputants.
If you did not find an answer to your question, you may contact the Professional Standards Unit, Pasadena Police Department, at 626-744-7691.
For information about the mediation process, contact the Western Justice Center at 626-584-7494 or firstname.lastname@example.org.