The Los Angeles Police Department’s pilot mediation program launched in 2014 helps to increase understanding between officers and community members, according to a report that the LAPD’s Internal Affairs presented to the LA Police Commission on Tuesday.
The pilot program was started with the intention of positively impacting on the way that law enforcement interacts with residents, as well as to give residents a deeper understanding of officers and law enforcement protocol. Mediation is offered as an alternative to sending a complaint of officer bias or discourtesy through the traditional formal complaint process.
The only glitch seems to be that more often than not, residents and officers choose to forego the mediation.
While only 73 of 363 eligible complaints of biased policing have resulted in mediation, responses from the satisfaction surveys administered post-mediation were generally positive.
Of 263 complaints that were eligible but did not result in mediation, the complainant could not be located in 59 cases (22%). In 118 cases (45%), the complainant declined to participate in mediation. In 67 cases (26%), the officer involved declined. A desire for a full investigation into the bias complaint and a desire to avoid the other party were among the reasons that complainants and officers declined mediation. (Eighteen mediations were initiated, but ultimately closed because the complainant was a no-show.)
The department received 185 post-mediation surveys. Out of those 185 participants, 155 (84%) were either “very satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied” with the mediation process. Officers (89%) were more likely to be satisfied than complainants (77%).
A total of 169 (91%) of participants believed the outcome of the mediation process to be fair. And 125 respondents said their understanding of the other party increased because of the mediation. Complainants (70%) were more likely to report that their understanding of officers had increased. Sixty-six percent of officers reported increased understanding.
Eighty-seven percent of officers and citizens reported that they would be likely to recommend the mediation program to others.
Internal Affairs also presented the commission with the latest biased policing data. I
Out of 198 complaints (containing 356 biased policing allegations) which were closed during the first three quarters of 2016, the department did not sustain a single allegation, continuing a trend dating back to 2013. The LAPD did uphold seven allegations of discourtesy, ethnic remarks, improper remarks, and unbecoming conduct.
KPCC’s Frank Stoltze has more on the report.