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Police Work

        Don Fobian and Alexis Dixon have taught Use of Mediation in Police Work for several years in San Diego State University’s Extended Studies Department. This very popular course was developed during their varied involvement with the SDPD over the years.
       In 2000, Alexis and Don facilitated a series of eleven community forums for the SDPD. David Bejarano, who was Chief at the time, saw a need for these discussions with community members because of decline of trust and respect for officers among the citizens of San Diego. One of the issues that was causing these feelings was the perception of “excessive use of force”. This and many other topics were discussed in some very interesting and occasionally heated meetings.
       In 2001, San Diego was scheduled to host the BioTech Conference. There was concern that demonstrators would arrive and disrupt the conventioneers and local citizens and businesses. It came on the heals of the World Trade Organization’s violent demonstrations in Seattle the year prior. Lots of damage was caused by rioting activists in Seattle. San Diego’s police department put together a team of mediators to act as liaison between the leaders of the demonstration and the police department. It worked! Alexis and Don were part of that team in 2001 and again in 2009.
       Citizens often feel that they were treated disrespectfully by police officers, during a stop or other incident. When they file a complaint, the Department of Internal Affairs has several choices as to how they will handle the complaint. One tool that the IA department puts to work these days is Citizen/Police mediation. The officer and the citizen sit down with a trained mediator and discuss the situation. It helps both the officer and citizen gain a better understanding of what was happening during the incident and how their behavior was perceived by the other. It is a highly successful program. Again, Alexis and Don have been mediators in the program.