A married couple filed a complaint against an officer for aggressive and hostile behavior and for behaving in an unprofessional manner. At the mediation, the husband explained that they had been called to the scene of an accident involving their only son. Upon their arrival, they saw that their son was not there so they approached the officer to find out where their son was and to ask about his condition. He said the officer spoke to them in a belligerent tone and was argumentative instead of being responsive to their needs. He felt that the officer’s behavior made the situation even more difficult. He explained that since the officer would not give them information, his wife approached the other driver involved in the accident, at which point the officer became agitated and interfered with the conversation. The officer did provide some information, telling them the name of the hospital to which their son had been taken. Unfortunately, upon arrival at that hospital they learned that the information was incorrect and they were sent to another hospital. When they arrived at the second hospital, they learned that their son had died.
The officer expressed his sincere regret at their loss as well as for his behavior that added to their pain. He explained that he was alone that evening responding to a very bad accident in a tough neighborhood. He and the couple were able to share their perspectives about what happened and to talk about their feelings both at the time of the accident and after. It was a very emotional meeting for all of the parties. In the end, the parties came to an agreement in which the officer, working with his sergeant, would identify and complete an appropriate course in anger management or stress management.