Mediation Program

Mediation is a voluntary and confidential alternative to the traditional complaint resolution process. It offers an opportunity for community members and Seattle Police Department employees to discuss a conflict resulting from an interaction with the guidance of a neutral third party. Participants are empowered to own the process and are responsible for reaching a mutual understanding.

Goals of Mediation

  • Build understanding between participants by listening to and engaging in dialogue to gain perspective rather than to determine guilt or innocence
  • Identify root causes of conflict and uncover what factors led to the initial complaint
  • Prevent similar dissatisfying behaviors and interactions from occurring in the future

"I got a better understanding as to intent over impact. Mediation actually works. I felt it would not at first, but it does!" -participant


Case Selection

OPA has the discretion to classify select cases for mediation based on identified eligibility and suitability criteria. Research cites that mediation delivers the best results when conflict is moderate. OPA has historically mediated cases involving allegations of professionalism, bias, and general miscommunication. 

Mediation Process

A typical OPA mediation session will include:

  1. Pre-Mediation Coaching (Caucus)
    Mediator separately discusses conflict and provides coaching to participants prior to the session
  2. Introduction
    Mediator convenes participants, explains the process and role definitions, and sets ground rules
  3. Opening Statements
    Participants share perspectives regarding the conflict
  4. Issue Identification
    Mediator reframes the issue and asks questions that encourage dialogue
  5. Development of Understanding
    Participants engage in dialogue to gain understanding of each other's perspective
  6. Conclusion
    Mediator and participants complete an exit survey

Mediation Flow Chart

Mediation Flow Chart

For additional information, please call OPA at (206) 684-8797.