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Fiscal Year 2002 Mediation: Unprofessional Behavior

The citizen filed a complaint against an officer for exhibiting unprofessional behavior.  The citizen claimed that he reported to an officer that a vehicle parked in front of his house appeared to have been stolen since the back window was smashed and wiring was dangling from the dashboard. The officer allegedly responded in a rude, accusatory manner almost insinuating that the citizen had stolen the vehicle himself.

During the mediation, the citizen explained to the officer that he was a senior citizen and had lived in the community for over 40 years. He was not accustomed to being mistreated by officers of the law and felt as though the officer’s tone and body language throughout the investigation with the citizen were unprofessional and insensitive. The citizen explained to the officer that if she acted unprofessionally in a rather minor matter what would prevent her from acting unprofessionally when the stakes were much higher. After listening to the citizen the officer acknowledged that she could have acted in a more professional manner and that she might have been burdened that day by other stressful matters.

After both the citizen and officer had a chance to explain their perspectives to each other and meet with the mediators separately, the parties came to a final resolution of the matter. The officer stated that she agreed to attend the next scheduled sensitivity training and the next scheduled training that included stress management, negotiation, and verbal judo which covers how to talk to people in a respectful and courteous manner. In exchange for this commitment by the officer, the citizen was willing to agree that all issues pertaining to his complaint were successfully resolved. He also was willing to release the officer, police department and Government of the District of Columbia from all claims that could be raised in any lawsuit or administrative proceeding arising out of the events that were the subject of the complaint.