Source: (2000) Negotiation Journal. 16 (3): 211-235.

The increasing frequency of notorious cases of conflicts between police officers and members of the general public (which in New York City has led to incidents of death, battery, and sexual assault) is cause for alarm. At the root of many police-community conflicts is an incomplete understanding of the work of the police, poor communication on the part of the police and the public, or simple misunderstanding. A number of communities, including New York City, are turning to mediation to provide a forum for the potential resolution of complaints made against police by citizens. After a brief survey of the work of such programs nationally, the author focuses on three new York cases in which she served as a mediator, using them to illustrate the pitfalls and special rewards of mediating in this context. The author believes that the mediation process itself can work in a transformative way, improving strained relations between police and the general population. Author abstract.