GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA-TV) – How police interact with the minority community is getting close attention across the nation. Now, the Greenville Police Department is offering a solution for any citizen who has a complaint about a police officer.
It’s called “police mediation” and it’s the first program of its kind in South Carolina.
“We want to come up with ideas – innovative ideas- that make things better,” explained Greenville Police Officer, Gilberto Franco.
The department has been no stranger to criticism in the past few months. Groups have called for more citizen oversight for police “misbehavior.”
Franco says they listened and implemented this program that they began researching at the start of 2016.
“The process that we had before, a lot of times you just submit a complaint you’ll get a notification as to the resolution, but that doesn’t always leave a person satisfied, I guess you can say,” said Franco.
With mediation, a citizen and the police officer will have a chance, if they are eligible, to sit down with a professional at the Upstate Mediation Center.
“Coming to mediation, it’s going to give the parties an opportunity to directly address the conflict,” explained Executive Director, Jennifer Olmert.
For the officer, she said it gives them a chance to explain protocol to the citizen that they may not know about.
“For the citizen, that’s going to be an opportunity to offer feedback for the officer and he or she may act differently in the future,” said Olmert.
It’s a unique move that’s proven successful in other parts of the country.
“When it comes to complaints, they are usually issued by lack of communication, whether it’s by the person we come in contact with or it’s by the officer, so we want to make sure we can eliminate that by having good communication,” said Franco.
Now, they are hoping to spread the word and foster continued mutual respect.
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