A program aimed at improving relations between Seattle police officers and the community has at least one prominent community group against it, reports the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. The Seattle chapter of the NAACP is urging members to skip the mediation between officers and citizens being offered by the Office of Professional Accountability and stick with filing complaints. The NAACP is concerned that mediation takes the place of an investigation into a complaint and that the complaint is not put in the files of the officer involved. “Once you elect mediation, it’s final. You have no other recourse,” Garrett said.
Peter Holmes, an attorney who serves on the Professional Accountability Office’s review board, also believes mediation could improve. “It’s a step in the right direction, but an imperfect step,” he said. The mediation program began last month. The meetings between officers and citizens will be confidential, something an official said is crucial and allows those involved to speak freely, ensuring that officers won’t have to worry that an apology made in a mediation session could be used against them.