Police Mediation: An Emerging Landscape

Nickie D. Phillips, City University of New York
Maria R. Volpe, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

This exploratory study examined how police use mediation themselves or make referrals to community mediation centers in New York State. Data collection for this study consisted of official data from the 2001 Annual Report of the Community Dispute Resolution Centers Program, a written questionnaire, and informal interviews with police personnel. Official data were used to examine the type of dispute, nature of dispute, and case outcomes between police and non-police referrals. Questionnaires were mailed to police departments in New York State, including each town, village, city, county, sheriffs, and state police troop patrol department. Participants revealed information regarding mediation training for officers, departmental rewards for use of mediation, and various challenges to police use of mediation. Findings indicate that police are not only interested in mediation, but are actually using it either on-the-scene themselves or by referring cases to local mediation centers. The majority of police departments report that they sometimes or always refer cases to the local community dispute resolution center. The most common types of cases referred by police include neighbor and landlord/tenant disputes. This research, coupled with findings from our earlier police mediation study from the perspective of community mediation centers, indicates that policing is a viable context for the use of mediation.

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Updated 05/20/2006