Sometimes the most appropriate method to address public complaints involving police is through Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). ADR processes such as Mediation, Facilitated Discussions, Peacemaking Circles, and Supervisory Reviews are designed to allow your voice to be heard.
You have the opportunity to discuss the matter and clarify the issues in a safe and comfortable environment. ADR processes have been proven to resolve complaints and increase participant satisfaction with the complaint process. ADR leads to a better understanding between the parties and this in turn can restore trust and contributes to a renewed working partnership with police and the community.
Why Alternative Dispute Resolution?
Although formal investigations are sometimes necessary, Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is available through the EPS Professional Standards Branch to address citizen complaints involving the police. The Alberta Police Act stipulates that where appropriate, an ADR process shall be offered to the complainant and the police officer who is the subject of the complaint prior to commencing a formal investigation of the complaint.
Every effort is made to ensure that members of the Edmonton Police Service serve the community in a safe, professional and respectful manner. Allegations of misconduct are taken seriously.
What is Alternative Dispute Resolution?
ADR is a confidential, structured process that allows for the exploration of perspectives, an exchange of dialogue and a better understanding between the parties with a view to workable solutions. With the assistance of a professional mediator or supervisor, parties are guided through the ADR process.
What Are the Benefits?
Speed – ADR options can be scheduled within days of the complaint submission. Resolution is possible within hours, as opposed to the extended period of time it takes to complete an investigation.
Privacy – Information about your personal affairs is kept private.
Confidential – ADR is a confidential process as agreed to by the participants.
Informal Atmosphere – The setting is relaxed and neutral, yet respectful. Parties meet in a mutually agreed upon location.
Relationships – The use of ADR enhances community policing by improving the relationships between members of the community and police officers one complaint at a time.
Empowerment – Traditional police investigations are not geared toward goals such as reconciliation and restoring relations. ADR gives the parties involved a sense of empowerment in that they control the process and together arrive at a resolution that works for all parties.
What Are My Options?
Mediation – A form of dispute resolution in which a professionally trained mediator assists the complainant and the officer to resolve the dispute in a mutually satisfying manner. The mediation takes place in a neutral environment and is confidential to encourage open and honest communication.
Facilitated Discussion – A form of dispute resolution in which the mediator meets with each party separately. The concerns of one party are conveyed to the other party through the mediator. A facilitated discussion resolution may or may not include a written agreement.
Peacemaking Circle – A form of dispute resolution for larger groups. The circle is facilitated by two specially trained Circle Keepers who ensure parties can participate in a balanced, respectful and equal manner in the resolution of their concerns. A Peacemaking Circle often includes a written agreement.
Supervisory Review – A form of dispute resolution in which an officer’s supervisor reviews the complaint with the complainant and the officer separately, and determines whether corrective action is taken. The outcome of the review is conveyed to the complainant, the officer and to the Professional Standards Branch.
Before an ADR option can be arranged, Professional Standards Branch reviews the complaint and determines whether the public interest would be best served by ADR. If the complaint is found suitable, the process begins. A complaint can be resolved through ADR only if both the complainant and the officer agree to participate. The mediator or supervisor arranges a date and venue convenient for the parties. The parties are given an opportunity to discuss the matter from their own perspective and to share how the incident has impacted them. Then the parties, with the support of the mediator or supervisor, explore how best to resolve the issues discussed. An ADR resolution must be agreed to in writing and may include the specific terms of the proposed resolution, where applicable. If the complaint remains unresolved at the end of the ADR process, the complaint is returned to the Professional Standard Branch and an investigation is initiated.