LBPD Partners with Advoz to Address Conflicts with Mediation

Lititz Borough Police Department Partners with Advoz to Address Conflicts with Mediation

LITITZ BOROUGH – The LBPD believes that procedural justice confers public trust and legitimacy that the agency is performing in just ways. One of the four central principles of procedural justice is giving individuals “voice” during encounters. Procedural justice is identified in the 2015 President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, Pillar #1: Building Trust & Legitimacy as a recommendation for law enforcement. The LBPD is expanding opportunities for residents to have a voice in resolving conflicts through a mediation partnership with the community-based organization, Advoz. 

The LBPD and Advoz will work together to handle certain kinds of conflicts in the community with a mediated conversation and resolution that meets parties’ deeper needs and reduces adversarial civil or criminal court proceedings. Chris Wenden, the Executive Director of Advoz, explained, “we are excited to have our team of trained mediators to more closely serve the Lititz community and Lititz Police Department through this partnership.”

The LBPD has updated agency policy and procedure to include referral to Advoz in some situationally appropriate circumstances. Often times, LBPD officers are called upon for situations with citizens involved in disputes that are beyond the scope of law enforcement or those which are best handled by diverting action outside of the criminal justice system. Mediation as an alternative dispute resolution is positioned to resolve deeper issues quicker and less-costly than litigation, allows for break-through communication, diverts some low-level crimes away from the criminal justice system, and provides greater “voice” for those involved through a meaningful resolution process.

Beginning on January 1, 2022, LBPD officers will be empowered to refer some non-criminal and low-level criminal offenses for consideration of mediation services. Utilization of mediation services aims to address conflict resolution upstream before escalation occurs which can be a barrier to meaningful resolution, with an emphasis on restorative justice.

LBPD officers have received training in the principles of procedural justice, and the agency has adopted both internal and external aspects of procedural justice in agency policy and procedure which translates to agency culture. The LBPD has adopted a written directive providing the agency framework for referral actions. That written directive is available for instant public access and review in the policy repository located on the agency webpage, LititzPD.org, as well as an attachment to this post.

Advoz, meaning “to add voice,” has served Lancaster County since 1981 with conflict mediation services, restorative justice programs, and educational skills training for families, neighbors, organizations, and schools. For more information see: https://advoz.org.

Media contact: Media@LititzPD.org.