Meeting facilitates communication between Davis Police Department, residents
On Nov. 16, community members gathered at the Davis Community Church for the Alternative Conflict Resolution (ARC) program, which allows participants to share their views on the relationship between Davis citizens and the Davis Police Department (DPD).
The program was organized by the DPD, the Human Relations Commission (HRC) and Judith MacBrine, a mediator at ARC and a facilitator, coach and trainer at The Mirror Group. About 20 people attended the meeting, most of whom were Davis residents and HRC members.
“When I first moved to Davis in the 1980s, I made a wrong U-turn and the police were very rude to me. I really appreciate this program by the police department,” said Yvonne Clinton, a Davis resident.
The ACR program is an informal, conﬁdential, mediated event that uses restorative practices such as the circle process, where participants communicate while seated in a circle formation. Program attendees meet face-to-face and resolve conflicts with the help of trained circle co-keepers who help to mediate the conversations.
“[Circle co-keepers are] responsible to set up space for dialogues and ask participants to maintain the space of the conversation,” said MacBrine, one of the circle co-keepers and a facilitator, coach and trainer at The Mirror Group.
All of the participants sat in a circle and agreed to six responsibilities: to honor confidentiality, remain in the circle, speak with respect, listen with respect, speak genuinely and respect the talking stick. Initially, they were asked to tell everyone the reason for being there. One by one, every person spoke on a microphone in the circle.
They were then asked about their opinions of issues between the DPD and Davis residents. The general response was that people tend to shout and get defensive when there is an argument and that no one takes the time to calmly sit and talk about it.
“In my experience in the police department, conflict shuts down active listening,” DPD Lieutenant Glenn Glasgow said.
The program seeks to facilitate more meaningful discussions.
“It is amazing how conflicts can be resolved by just a conversation,” MacBrine said.
Written By: RAHIL SHETH – firstname.lastname@example.org