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New Program in Dayton to Deal with Police Complaints
DAYTON -- The Dayton Police Department is starting a pilot program to deal with officer complaints from its citizens.
The project deals with citizen complaints of discourtesy from officers in the department -- from rudeness to lack of service.
The project is called the Officer/Citizen Mediation Project. It aims to bring a voice to people in the city by sitting down with the officer accused of impropriety.
The pilot program started this spring in the east patrol division.
When a citizen files a complaint with a department supervisor, they are then referred to the Dayton Mediation Center. The organization will arrange a confidential, in-person meeting with the officer, his/her supervisor and a consultant with the center.
The citizens and officers aren't obligated to follow through the program but Dayton Police Lt. Andrew Booher says it forms a conversation between all parties.
"These complaints are generally due to misunderstandings or miscommunications," he said.
The sit-down meeting allows officers to explain themselves and the citizen to point out why they were offended.
We talked with Chana Collins who recently went through the program after she felt an officer was too aggressive. "I felt like I was being treated like a criminal," she said.
When the Dayton Mediation Center approached her to sit down with the officer she thought she would give it a try.
"We got to challenge what we didn't agree with," she said.
Collins said she got to know that the officer was a person. "I apologized, he apologized," she said.
The mediation center has had 20 recommendations with nine people who have opted to sit down and discuss their problems with police.
The center says they have dealt with all different instances, including a citizen who felt he was being profiled by police.
The program is to be implemented through the entire department by the end of fall.
If you're interested in the program, you'll first want to contact the supervisor in your police district.
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