In May 2022, the City of Dayton, Ohio formally launched a new pilot program that sends trained mediators to respond to low emergency 911 calls to de-escalate non-violent conflicts and mediate disputes among community members. This new initiative, called the Mediation Response Unit (MRU), is the first of its kind in the nation as it sends mediation teams to respond to calls without a co-response by police. The idea for the MRU came about through discussions among a Community Engagement Working Group that was formed in 2020 to implement police reforms in the City. The MRU states that its goals are “to work on improving community police relations, provide alternatives to police response in our community . . . and allow officers more time to take higher emergent calls. ”Some examples of the types of calls the Unit responds to are noise complaints, neighbor disputes, loitering, and other low-level disturbances. The services are performed over the phone, or in-person when necessary, and provide the parties with resource connections as well as follow-up case management. During its first months of operation, the MRU has shown promising early success and positive community reception. As of August 2022, the MRU has logged over 400 calls for service and plans to continue its growth. In an interview with The Mediate.com Podcast, Mediation Response Coordinator, Raven Cruz Loaiza, expressed hope that other cities across the country would be able to adopt this model of alternative response in the near future.
This post was originally published on the Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution website on February 23, 2023. The original post can be accessed via the Archived Link button above.
Kalsner Kershen, Olivia, "Mediation Response Unit Shows Potential as an Alternative 911 Response" (2023). CJCR Blog. 50.