LOS ANGELES – City Attorney Mike Feuer today announced that his office’s Community Police Unification Program, a collaboration with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), has been selected as the recipient of the 2017 National Criminal Justice Association (NCJA) Outstanding Criminal Justice Program Award for the West Region. Launched as a pilot project of City Attorney Feuer’s Community Justice Initiative, this now permanent program strives to promote positive relationships between LAPD and the residents they serve.
"It can make a big difference to have a face-to-face conversation, in a neutral setting, with an officer with whom you’ve had a negative experience. Especially now, we need to foster positive interactions between community members and law enforcement,” said Feuer. “I thank the National Criminal Justice Association for recognizing the value of this restorative justice work. And I’m especially grateful the Association has recognized our partners at LAPD, our volunteer mediators and our own Shaphan Roberts, who manages this program as Director of our office’s Dispute Resolution Program."
"The ability to stand in another person’s shoes and view the world from their perspective is incredibly valuable, and that’s exactly what the Community Police Unification program provides," said LAPD Chief Charlie Beck. "The LAPD is committed to building, strengthening and maintaining relationships with our residents, and this opportunity to better understand and assess any negative contacts makes that pledge a reality."
"Each time a community member and officer see through the lens of the other a small change takes place, and that’s what we're after," said Shaphan Roberts, Director of the City Attorney’s Dispute Resolution Program. "I'm honored to be a part of a program that has produced so many great outcomes and thankful to the leadership, staff and mediators that make it all possible."
The Community Police Unification Program provides the opportunity for residents to resolve complaints of discourtesy and biased-policing through mediation. These are facilitated by impartial volunteer mediators from the City Attorney’s Dispute Resolution Program with suitable complaints being identified by LAPD Internal Affairs. Since mediation is voluntary, either party can opt out of it and choose to go through a standard investigation instead. 86 percent of the hundreds of residents whom have gone through this program would recommend it to others.
The 2017 NCJA Outstanding Criminal Justice Program Award for the West Region was presented as part of the 2017 National Forum on Criminal Justice. Representing state, local and tribal governments on criminal and juvenile justice issues for more than 40 years, the NCJA aims to enhance public safety, and prevent and reduce the harmful effects of criminal and delinquent behavior on victims, individuals, and communities.
For residents looking to become volunteer mediators for this program, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.