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The Civilian Complaint Review Board mediation program associated with the New York City Police Department appears to be an attractive alternative to the investigative process offered to complainants, offering the possibility of a higher level of satisfaction for both the civilian and the police officer. According to the scheme devised by the agency and the NYPD, cases that meet mediation guidelines should move smoothly from investigations through the approval process, coming to a scheduled mediation in a timely manner. Complaints containing some factor making them inappropriate for mediation should be able to be identified during that approval process, thus ensuring that the cases that actually make it to the mediation table have a good chance of resolving successfully.

In reality, the mediation process does have some features that work extremely well, but has other components that do not. And, the expectations of the entities with a stake in the mediation process have the abilities to enhance or weaken the program. Like a chemical reaction in equilibrium, the degree to which the mediation process appears to be working well or poorly is influenced by any changes that occur to the reactants, the parties, management, and staff of the CCRB, and the board itself - and the environment where it takes place.

Publication Citation

22 Ohio St. J. Disp. Resol. 189 (2006).