Archive for the ‘NYPD’ Category

16 Opportunities To Learn In NYC

January 6, 2010

Yes, I do realize this really only applies to the readers in the NYC metro area but maybe for the Fall ’10 Program it will also include an online element? For the time being, fellow New Yorkers, enjoy!

…I also know many of the instructors and wish them success and the participants too!

and the
announce a series of sixteen
Conflict Resolution Workshops
Spring 2010

John Jay College is pleased to announce a series of non-credit workshops focusing on skills, tools, and credentials to better understand, manage and resolve conflicts. These workshops are for everyone: professionals who would like to refresh or develop new skills and individuals who are interested in exploring new ways of handling conflicts. Each workshop is led by a recognized expert and presents state of the art information and skills.

To register or for more information:
Phone: (212) 237-8663
Website: (click on conflict resolution)

Managing Conflict in the Workplace: Effective Communication Skills
All Employees can benefit from better understanding the causes of conflict and how to respond to conflict situations with better communication tools. Become aware of your emotional triggers to prevent explosive situations. Learn new strategies of conflict management that will improve your communication performance and help you to respond to conflict more effectively. Participants will explore and practice utilizing skills in the workplace to create healthy relationships with colleagues and clients.
Instructor: Meridith Gould
Monday, January 11, 6:30 – 8:30 pm; $30 for course

Conflict Resolution Skills Training
All of us face conflict on a daily basis – with coworkers, family members and friends. Knowing what to say and do during those stressful times often makes the difference between escalating conflict or resolving the issue effectively and improving your relationship in the process. This two-day training will teach you the necessary skills to anticipate, manage and resolve conflicts in a way that protects your interests and preserves your relationships. These valuable conflict resolution skills are usually taught as part of the professional mediation training. Due to popular demand, we are offering an opportunity to learn these skills in only two days. After taking this course you will know: how to use conflict as a positive force for change; the five conflict resolution styles, your most- and least- used styles; how our brain experiences conflict; the power of nonverbal communication; the four levels of listening; how to ask power questions that elicit helpful information.
Instructors: Alex Yaroslavsky, Elizabeth Clemants, Michelle M. Leonard
Fridays, January 15 & 22, 10:00 am – 6:00 pm; $495 for the course

Conflict Resolution Programs for Urban Youth: a Model for Success
Conflict resolution programs are implemented in schools, after-school programs and community centers. However, many of the programs are mass produced and not relevant to the students they serve. Youth workers/educators will learn how to create programs for youth that are effective, fun and sustainable. They will learn the “best practices” that are needed to create, implement and sustain conflict resolution and empowerment programs for urban youth in New York. Participants will learn how to craft curricula that is systemic and transformative for urban youth in the city.
Instructor: Meridith Gould
Wednesday, January 20, 6:30 – 8:30 pm; $30 for course

Conflict Dynamics Profile® Certification Workshop
Become a Certified User of the Conflict Dynamics Profile® (CDP) and add another valuable tool as an ADR practitioner and professional in the workplace. The Leadership Development Center at Eckerd College has developed a multi-rater (360°) assessment tool that helps leaders, managers and teams develop conflict competence. Unlike other conflict assessments, the CDP assesses specific behaviors and offers action plans to develop constructive conflict behaviors for productive conflict engagement. Certified CDP users can administer the 360° or individual online CDP to work with individuals, teams, and organizations. Workshop content: The Conflict Dynamics Profile® Certification Workshop prepares participants to use the CDP in their professional practice. Participants explore conflict, conflict stages, hot buttons, specific conflict behaviors, conflict behavior analysis, coaching skills to offer feedback, and individual and organizational constructive conflict engagement and collaboration. This workshop includes administration of the Conflict Dynamics Profile, personal CDP results, sample reports, technical manual, and a CD containing A-V materials for conducting training workshops.
Instructor: Rita Callahan
Saturday, January 20, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm; $525 for course

Professional Mediation Training
This unique mediation course is for anyone considering becoming a mediator. After completing this course you will be able to: Understand and refine your conflict resolution style; Manage conflict with confidence, using proven techniques; Conduct successful mediations in a variety of settings.
Instructors: Alex Yaroslavsky, Elizabeth Clemants and Michelle Leonard
Fridays, January 15 & 22 (10:00 am – 6:00 pm), Thursdays, February 4 – May 6, 6:00 – 8:30 pm; $1,195 for course

Conflict Resolution and Mediation Skill Exercises for Trainers
Join your colleagues to add to your repertoire of training exercises for your conflict resolution and mediation trainings. Participants will learn and practice training exercises to demonstrate specific conflict resolution and mediation skills that can be used in your training courses. Identify, understand and practice exercises to illustrate silence, listening, open-ended questions, listening for emotions and needs, win-win, change, specificity, and other skills. Participants will discuss and refine training exercises and will practice offering feedback about the exercises.
Instructor: Rita Callahan
Wednesdays, February 17 & 24, 6:30 – 8:00 pm; $50 for course

A Short Introduction to the Transformative Model of Mediation
The purpose of this 4-session, 6-hour workshop is to expose those who have taken facilitative mediation or related undergraduate courses to the Transformative Model of Mediation by discussing the Relational Worldview the model espouses, identifying human perceptions of what it is like being IN conflict, articulating the transformative tools of intervention and practicing them in role plays. While this is not a complete Transformative Mediation training, it exposes participants to an approach to mediation that many misunderstand and provides an opportunity to experience it with the ultimate goal of taking a more comprehensive training. Components of the training include: Personal Views of Conflict (exercise), Conflict: A Crisis in Human Interaction (lecture and discussion), Opportunities for Empowerment and Recognition Shifts (lecture and discussion), Tools of Intervention (combination of lecture and multiple exercises): Reflect, Summarize, Check in, Question, Silence and Role Plays (exercises).
Instructor: Julie Denny
Tuesdays, March 16 – April 16, 6:30 – 8:00 pm; $135 for course

Negotiating Agreements to Get Results
The “core of negotiation” is the give-and-take process utilized to reach agreement. Although this complex process is very important, most of the critical factors that shape negotiations don’t occur during the bargaining process, they occur before the parties face each other. This 2-session 4 hour workshop will focus on the planning stages and strategies of negotiation, BATNAs, individual perceptions, identifying and distinguishing between issues, needs, interests and opinions. Components of this training include interactive experiences that will highlight: varying communication styles, tactics and ploys, and distributive and integrative negotiations.
Instructor: Sam Blank
Wednesdays, March 17 & 24, 6:30 – 8:30 pm; $50 for course

Body, Heart, Mind: Somatics and Conflict Resolution
This 41⁄2 hour experiential workshop series introduces participants to physical/verbal conflict resolution (“embodied peacemaking”) basics. Each session is a stand-alone course; together they introduce somatics as a peace building discipline.
Instructors: William Leicht, Paul Linden and David Weinstock
Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday, March 22 – 24, 6:30 – 8:00 pm; $75 for course

Negotiating Under Pressure
This course will provide participants with a unique opportunity to learn lessons from police hostage negotiations, where every situation is a crisis that usually involves violence and weapons, and intuition is essential for resolving each one. People generally go into a wide range of negotiations with a preconceived notion of how they would like them to turn out. The goal is to attempt to find some common ground and/or figure out a way to reach a compromise. You will sharpen your negotiating skills by learning how the police hostage negotiators negotiate some of the most stressful and high profile situations.
Instructor: Jack Cambria
Thursdays, April 1 – 22, 6:30 – 8:00 pm; $125 for course

Effective Negotiation Skills for Getting Ahead
Negotiation skills are at the core of this interactive workshop. The course will enable the participants to get through the stages of bargaining to agreement and it will explore how “Getting to Yes!” can be reached in diverse situations, whether it is a new deal for a house, a car, or even an increase in pay. The workshop is a step-by-step, How-to-approach for skillfully taking each negotiation from engagement to agreement. Through experiential training it will provide the knowledge and insights needed to overcome animosities, turn confrontation into collaboration and to improve existing negotiation skills to achieve successful outcomes. It includes Active Listening, Probing, Assessing Context and Content and much more. The course is designed for managers, professionals and others who wish to enhance their negotiation skills.
Instructor: José Pascal da Rocha
Wednesdays, April 7 – May 5, 6:30 – 8:00 pm & Saturday, May 1; 9:00 am – 4:00 pm (Intensive role-playing session); $150 for course

Bias Awareness
This workshop will look at many different biases and look at the personal, cultural and institutional forms of these biases. We will also examine ways that we have experienced bias and practice methods for interpreting bias. We will close with ways we can make our work environments safer and more welcoming for everyone.
Instructor: Priscilla Prutzman
Monday, April 19, 6:30 – 8:00 pm; $25 for the course

Verbal Judo: the Gentle Art of Persuasion
A comprehensive course originally developed for law enforcement professionals by Dr. George Thompson, himself a former university professor, police officer and martial artist. Verbal Judo is an amalgamation of western style persuasive speaking and eastern martial arts philosophy. This course will creatively examine methods to ameliorate conflict, ramp down the false ego and raise authentic and legitimate self-esteem. The goal of Verbal Judo is to generate voluntary compliance through the use of presence and words. Verbal Judo can be taught and utilized by anyone who realizes that “people skills” are perishable and at a premium in this complicated and confusing world.
Instructor: James Shanahan
Saturday, April 24, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm; $55 for the course

Conflict in Film
Every good story has at least one conflict in it. Films screened during the course will offer viewers a variety of opportunities to understand conflict and to gain important and interesting insights into our society, and globally. This workshop is a unique opportunity to screen and discuss selected fiction film and documentaries that address a variety of simple and complex situations that involve a variety of conflicts, transgressions, human rights violations, and social justice issues.
Instructor: Jill Strauss
Wednesday, April 28, 6:30 – 8:30 pm; $30 for course

Managing Anger in Personal and Professional Relationships
This is an interactive experience geared to help participants learn additional ways to manage their own anger, as well as to help others to better handle this emotion. The purpose of this 2-session, 3-hour workshop is to explore a variety of ideas relating to anger and anger management. Different activities will be used to help participants understand and put this information to work in different relationships.
Instructor: Dave Wolffe
Tuesday & Thursday, May 18 & 20, 6:45 – 8:15 pm; $50 for course

Mediation in Your Workplace: The Most Effective, Least Expensive and Most Pleasant Way to Deal with Workplace Conflicts
Conflict and disputes in workplaces are inevitable. Whether over work ethic, culture, management style, perceived unfairness in treatment or promotions, or simply personality clashes, there are so many kinds of work problems. And all of them can be destructive to those involved and get in the way of the work that needs to be done. Many organizations have already instituted mediation as a dispute resolution process to try to nip such problems in the bud. If your workplace does not yet do so, you may be able to help bring mediation in. This interactive course will explain and demonstrate what mediation is and show how you can utilize it in your place of work.
Instructor: Nancy Kramer
Tuesday, May 25, 6:30 – 9:30 pm; $55 for course

Instructors’ Bios

Sam Blank
is certified as a conflict resolution specialist by the International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution and the State of New York. He is a member of the faculty at Pace University’s Graduate School of Leadership and at the Borough of Manhattan Community College of the City University of New York.

Rita Callahan, Principal of Working It Out, is a collaboration and conflict management consultant who works with individuals, companies and organizations to improve interpersonal and organizational communication, and to develop the ability of people, groups and companies to manage conflict and to collaborate effectively.

Jack Cambria, the Commanding Officer of the NYPD’s Hostage Negotiation Team (HNT), is a highly decorated, 27-year veteran of the New York City Police Department and has commanded the HNT for eight years. He also has a total of 16 years experience with the NYPD’s elite Emergency Services Unit.

Elizabeth Clemants, MSW is the founder and principal of DRAFT, a unique business that combines social work, life coaching and mediation to help people work through internal or external conflicts and create positive change in their personal and professional lives. Ms. Clemants is the former senior director of the Safe Horizon Mediation Program and has been a state-certified basic mediation trainer since 2000.

José Pascal da Rocha, JD is an international mediator. He has over 16 years of experience in multinational crisis intervention and at the corporate level. Apart from his practice, he teaches conflict resolution at diverse universities around the globe. His latest publication is “Inclusion and Diversity as an Intercultural Task – An Essay” in Diversity, Equality and Inclusion – a Research Compendium, Chattenham: Edward Elgar Press, 2009. He is a Professor at Columbia University, a UN mediator at the Mediation Support Unit and he lives in Brooklyn. For more info, go to

Julie Denny, an Advanced Practitioner member of both the Workplace and Family sections of the Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR), is also a mediation panelist for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the U.S. Postal Service, the Transportation Security Administration and the Key Bridge foundation ADA program. A regular reviewer of books on conflict resolution and mediation for Library Journal, Julie has also been featured in Court TV and Bloomberg Network segments on mediation, and been interviewed on a number of radio talk shows. She is also an Associate of the Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation.

Meridith Gould has over 12 years of experience in training and consulting. She has an MS in Dispute Resolution and is a Doctoral Candidate in Conflict Analysis and Resolution. Her expertise focuses on training/workshop youth empowerment, inner-city youth, violence prevention, social and emotional skill building and educational issues.

Nancy Kramer is an attorney and mediator who has handled hundreds of workplace disputes, as well as other kinds. She does private mediations and is an active employment mediation panel member for groups, including the American Arbitration Association (AAA), United States Postal Service, New Jersey Superior Court, New York City Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH) and New York County Supreme Court, Commercial Division.

William Leicht, M.A., founded the Bronx Peace Dojo and Peace Dojos International. He is a conflict resolution professional and aikidoist with an international reputation.

Michelle M. Leonard is the director of mediation services at Community Mediation Services (CMS). Michelle is a certified basic mediation and custody and visitation mediation trainer, as well as an adjunct professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Michelle graduated magna cum laude from Touro Law Center and is admitted to the New York and New Jersey Bars.

Paul Linden, Ph.D. is a specialist in body awareness education. Dr. Linden is the developer of Being In Movement® mindbody training, co-founder of the Columbus Center for Movement Studies in Columbus, Ohio, a sixth degree black belt in Aikido and a first degree black belt in Karate, an instructor of the Feldenkrais Method® of somatic education and the author of a number of e-books.

Priscilla Prutzman, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Creative Response to Conflict, is co-author of The Friendly Classroom for a Small Planet, the recipient of many awards for her distinguished career in conflict resolution, and has taught courses in assertiveness training, conflict resolution, mediation and bias awareness for colleges including City College of New York, St. Thomas Aquinas College in Sparkill, NY, State University of New York at New Paltz, and Woodbury College in Montpelier, VT. She worked with women’s groups and homeless children in the Philippines and taught workshops and courses in the former Yugoslavia, Peru, and Costa Rica.

James Shanahan is a decorated veteran with nearly thirty years in law enforcement. He is a detective, police trainer and hostage negotiator who holds advanced and specialized certification in conflict resolution, critical incident stress and disaster management. James is a member of the adjunct faculty at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, where he teaches the Emergency Psychological Technician program to police recruits, In-Service police officers, Emergency Service and Hostage Negotiations Team personnel, as well as newly promoted supervisors of all ranks. Additionally, he is an accomplished TV, stage and screen actor and a lifelong practitioner of traditional Japanese martial arts.

Jill Strauss is an Adjunct Professor in the Dispute Resolution Program at John Jay College. She has a Master of Education in Peace Education and Conflict Resolution, and her PhD research and fieldwork is on art and conflict.

David Weinstock, co-founder of Liminal Somatics and originator the Somatic Consensus method is a certified Somatic Coach through the Strozzi Institute, a Life Coach, a facilitator of Nonviolent Communication, and an Aikido teacher. He leads trainings locally and around the world— in prisons, and communities on four continents.

Dave Wolffe is an adjunct lecturer at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. He is founder and program coordinator of Peace Enhancement Attained-Collaborative Efforts (P.E.A.C.E.) Inc. Mr. Wolffe also developed a training format and manual for facilitators of the Anger Management Power (AMP) Program. He is currently working on a “how-to” guide for parents, educators and others involved with teens, to empower young people to manage anger in positive ways. The guide is due to be published in 2010.
Alex Yaroslavsky, MILR is the founder of Yaro Group, LLC, a dispute resolution consultancy specializing in workplace conflict resolution. Alex teaches dispute resolution at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and serves on several mediation and arbitration panels, including the NYC CCRB, OATH, FINRA, and the U.S. Bankruptcy Court (Southern District). Alex has been working in the alternative dispute resolution field since 1994 and regularly trains and coaches new mediators.

Good Job Ari!

November 9, 2009

Great job Ari!

Honorable Mention was awarded to Ari Fontecchio of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law for his essay entitled “Naming, Framing and Taming: Why Timing and Emotional Intelligence Really Matter in Crisis Intervention.

Ari interviewed me months ago on how I, along with the entire NYPD Community Affairs Bureau, used various conflict resolution skills during the emotionallly charged Tibetan Protests in New York City during the Spring of 2008.

Below is an exerpt of his paper. You can read the entire paper (which you should!) [here] and read the official announcement [here].
The Boskey Dispute Resolution Essay Competition honors the memory of James B. Boskey, humanitarian, Seton Hall University law professor, and mediator, who became known and beloved world-over for his publication of The Alternative Newsletter, a resource guide on ADR published quarterly.
The Boskey Dispute Resolution Essay Competition is a project of the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution’s Law Schools Committee, learn more. The Essay Competition is chaired by Professor Jean Sternlight, Saltman Professor, UNLV Boyd School of Law & Director, Saltman Center for Conflict Resolution.

From the paper (starting at page 20)
A. Protests
In March 2008, Tibetan protesters gathered outside the Chinese Consulate in Manhattan,
echoing cries in Lhasa, Tibet to end occupation by the Chinese government.94 During a month of protesting, the crowd ranged from 500 to 1000 protesters, and in its most escalated moment,
protesters broke through police barricades, throwing rocks through windows of the Consulate.95
Remarkably, using integrative techniques such as framing, matching, and re-framing, the New
York Police Department in conjunction with its Community Affairs Bureau (“CAB”) brought the
protest to a peaceful resolution, completely avoiding escalation to a riot.96
Jeff Thompson, an NYPD officer in the Special Projects Unit of the Community Affairs
Bureau and an expert in cultural outreach in the Tibetan community, was on the front lines.97
Prior to the conflict, Thompson had begun building relationships within the Tibetan community,
which helped him and other CAB officers recognize the ways in which the protesters framed the
conflict. Thompson’s relationships with the Executive Boards of various Tibetan organizations
and with monks and monastics from the spiritual community helped him identify the
stakeholders during the conflict and teach him about the deep-seated historical conflicts between the Chinese and Tibetan cultures.98

In this way, Thompson and his colleagues had already fashioned a strong third side99 that they could leverage during the large-scale conflict to come. Additionally, this network of relationships familiarized Thompson and his fellow officers with the Tibetans’ concept of cultural identity, or their attunement frames.100 This armed CAB with the ability to mirror and match the protesters’ frames even as tempers flared in front of the Chinese Consulate.

For example, during the protest, Thompson spoke into the megaphone using Tibetan phrases and prayers,101 demonstrating an ability to match the Tibetans’ cultural awareness. This technique of matching proved so effective that over the course of the twentytwo day conflict, protesters came to endearingly call Thompson “om mani padme hum,”102 the introduction to a prayer Thompson repeated to demonstrate cultural understanding.103 Once he had successfully matched the protesters’ attunement frame, he was able to move towards reframing the conflict towards de-escalation and eventually to resolution.
To do so, Thompson and his colleagues brought in high-ranking monks to stand beside them during the protest’s peak where police barricades were breached.104 While protesters had a tendency, at first, to view CAB as an opposing stakeholder in the conflict, having monks by the
sides of the officers send visual cues of neutrality, which had a calming effect on the protesters.
By enhancing the strength of the third side, Thompson and his colleagues were more likely to be
viewed as neutral mediators—standing next to spiritually revered monks—rather than firstperson negotiators, hostile to the interests of the Tibetans.

Ultimately, through the efforts of CAB and other NYPD officers, a resolution was reached where a highly respected monk sang a prayer of solidarity over the megaphone, and at its conclusion, the crowd agreed to disband.105

The critical aspect in reaching this resolution was the officers’ ability to convince the
protesters that Thompson and his colleagues were not entirely stakeholders, or negotiators
representing the city, but that they were mediators at the core of a strong third side, an extension of the mediator. The officers’ ability to contain the protest and prevent a riot, can be traced in no small part to their ability to time this transition between roles, and to wait for a moment of crystallization where taming the conflict became possible through properly matching the protesters’ attunement frame.

94 Chronology: Day-by-Day Record of Tibet Protests, REUTERS, Mar. 20, 2008, available at
95 Thompson, supra note 3.
96 Id.
97 Id.
98 Id.
99 The third side in this case was comprised of numerous stakeholders in the conflict, including the police department, patrol officers, various Tibetan groups and an entire hierarchy of monks and monastics from the spiritual community.
100 See supra text accompanying notes 52-57.
101 Specifically, Thompson repeatedly recited, “Om Mani Padme Hum,” a well known Tibetan chant for inner peace.
102 The meaning of this mantra is difficult to translate into English, but its effect is to calm those who speak and hear it, “invok[ing] the powerful benevolent attention and blessings of Chenrezig, the embodiment of compassion.
Viewing the written form of the mantra is said to have the same effect.”, Om Mani Padme Hum: The Meaning of the Mantra in Tibetan Buddhism, (last visited Apr. 20, 2009).
103 Jeff Thompson, supra note 95.
104 Id.

New Program Promotes Peace

October 19, 2009

A new program aimed at bringing more peace to the world is off to a strong start with representatives from Queensland Police Service, New York City Police Department (NYPD) and members of the public gathering last week at Robina Community Centre on the Gold Coast to discuss how to best promote community relations and tackle conflict in the community.

The seminar included a presentation by Jeff Thompson, Community Affairs Bureau detective from the NYPD on the innovative ways in which the organisation has used sport to bring the community together, and explored strategies that could be used here in Australia to promote peace.

It was the first in a range of activities to be held as part of the Community Peace Program – a new research project funded by the Legal Practitioners’ Interest in Trust Account Fund Grant Funding, administered by the Department of Justice and Attorney-General of Queensland and spearheaded by Professor Bee Chen Goh, from the School of Law and Justice and co-director, Centre of Peace and Social Justice at Southern Cross University which will include a series of community events and cross-cultural training designed to promote positive community relations, embrace cultural diversity and enhance social inclusiveness.

Acting senior sergeant Holly James, regional crime prevention coordinator and cultural liaison officer, Queensland Police Service said she was pleased to be involved with the program.“Although New York is a long way from the Gold Coast, we are all fundamentally the same and face the same challenges, so this seminar was a good opportunity to exchange ideas,” said sergeant James.

“The community members are our eyes and ears, so we also always welcome the chance to engage with them and hear their feedback.” Professor Goh said she was pleased with the success of the first seminar.“Before we tackle big issues like terrorism we must look at how we resolve conflicts in our own daily life,” said Professor Goh.

“The Community Peace Program focuses on understanding each other and managing conflicts in order to improve neighbourly relations.“If we can, in our own daily lives, learn to be peace keepers in a conflict-ridden world, we are making a contribution to world peace – and the Community Peace Program aims to support people to do just that.”

The Community Peace Program will continue with an interfaith forum in December, including presentations by Rabbi Nir Gurevitch of the Gold Coast Hebrew Congregation, Gold Coast Sikh priest, Mr Bhajan Singh Bains, and Dr Mohamad Abdalla, director of the Queensland branch of the National Centre of Excellence for Islamic Studies, Griffith University.It will be held on Sunday December 13, from 2pm-3.30pm (Queensland time) in the Library Meeting Room at Robina Community Centre on the Gold Coast.

To attend contact Benedict Coyne on Professor Bee Chen Goh with Community Peace Program guest Jeff Thompson, Community Affairs Bureau detective from the NYPD (high resolution image available on request)

From [here].

(pictured above: Jeff Thompson and Bee Chen Goh)

Media contact: Zuleika Henderson, media officer, Southern Cross University Gold Coast and Tweed Heads: 07 5506 9385 or 0408 644533

[part II] Come Join Me… In Australia!

September 29, 2009

I have another speaking engagement in Australia next Tuesday. Special thanks to Bee Chen for including me.

When: Tuesday, October 6th
Where: Library Meeting Room, Robina Community Center
Time: 2-4pm
Community Peace Program
“Communities desire peace and happiness. It is important to learn about understanding each other and managing conflicts, in order to improve neighbourly relations.

In this Program, Professor Bee Chen Goh, Professor of Law of the School of Law & Justice and Co-Director of the Centre for Peace and Social Justice at Southern Cross University and Adjunct Professor of Law at Bond University, leads a dialogue on cross-cultural peace building.

Special guests of this Program are Acting Senior Sergeant Holly James, Regional Crime Prevention Coordinator/Cultural Liaison Officer, Queensland Police Service and Jeff Thompson, Community Affairs Bureau Detective from the New York City Police Department (NYPD).

Spread the word and bring a few friends to help spread peace. All are welcome. Free admission.

This Program is funded by the Legal Practitioner Interest on Trust Accounts Fund (LPITAF) Grants Fund, administered by the Department of Justice and Attorney-General of Queensland.

For enquiries, please contact Benedict Coyne,email: mob: 0434915713

Join Me… In Australia!

September 18, 2009
For those readers in Australia, come join me (see below).

When: September 28th, 2009
Where: Harvard Room 1, Southern Cross University, Tweed Heads, NSW
Time: 1-2 pm
“I Love Mediating in NY”
Come join us to hear Jeff Thompson- NYPD Detective, Mediator & Conflict Resolver- talk about how he is using communication to promote understanding & peace in New York.

NYPD Commissioner Kelly Encourages Mediation

September 4, 2009

Please read (and enjoy!) the following press release from the NYPD:

Police Officers Encouraged to use Mediation for Resolving Civilian Complaints
NYPD Supports Voluntary Mediation Efforts Between Civilians and Officers

Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly today urged uniformed members of the service to avail themselves of the Civilian Complaint Review Board mediation process as a non-disciplinary way to resolve complaints against them. Mediated complaints do not become part of an officer’s record.

“Since reinvigorating the program at CCRB’s request last year, the NYPD has encouraged more and more officers to resolve complaints against them by sitting down with their accusers. Both sides listen to each other, and more often than not the dispute is resolved with a handshake,” Commissioner Kelly said.

Last year 112 complaints were successfully resolved through mediation. Another 81 were similarly resolved so far this year.

All 36,000 uniformed members of the service received today with their pay stubs a brochure explaining the mediation process.

Many different types of complaints are appropriate for mediation. In general, any complaint that does not involve a pending criminal matter (including violations), physical injury, or property damage can be mediated.

Mediation consists of the officer, civilian and a trained mediator meeting to discuss the incident that led to the complaint.

The mediation is a confidential process. Everyone participating in the mediation, including the mediator, must sign a confidentiality agreement. An officer can bring an attorney or union representative to the CCRB office, but they are not permitted in the mediation session. The officer can, however stop the mediation at anytime to consult a representative or attorney.

Once the mediation is over, the case is closed and cannot be sent back for an investigation. The civilian complainant does have the right, during the mediation, to ask to end the mediation and have the complaint investigated, but this rarely happens as 98% of cases are resolved.

Mediations usually take about one hour, but the mediation will continue as long as the officer and complainant are making progress. The department does not consider mediated complaints when reviewing an officer’s employment history.

Below is an example of a mediation:

At 11:00 PM on a Monday in January last year, three musicians who had finished performing at a rock concert were driving their van slowly through Lower Manhattan while trying to find the Holland Tunnel. A marked police car containing three uniformed officers from the local Transit District stopped the van by cutting it off, and one of the officers issued the van’s driver a ticket for failing to use a turn signal properly when changing lanes.

According to the driver of the van, who later filed a complaint with the CCRB, the officers berated the three with rude statements throughout the stop, such as, “Are you a f—–g idiot?” When the driver apologized and asked what he had done wrong, an officer allegedly replied, “Don’t apologize, you’re so f—–g stupid.”

The driver stated that he felt threatened by the officers’ behavior and believed that the officers had singled them out because they were musicians with long hair. He also did not believe that he had changed lanes without using his turn signal.

After learning about both CCRB options — investigation and mediation — the driver of the van chose to resolve his CCRB complaint through mediation, explaining that he would pay his summons, but that he wanted to address what he saw as the officers’ inappropriate conduct.

Shortly thereafter, the driver of the van met all three officers for a mediation session at the CCRB’s offices with two trained mediators present. During the mediation session, the officers explained that they had stopped the van because it was driving erratically as the band members tried to find their way to the tunnel – starting and stopping, changing lanes without signaling and driving unusually slow.

The officers explained that they had not targeted the bandmates based upon their long hair – in fact, because it was dark they had not been able to see inside the van before they stopped it. One of the officers explained that when he signed up for the Police Academy, it was hard to cut off his own long hair. The officers also explained to the driver that, when they had tried to pull him over, he had nearly caused a collision between the two cars based upon his unpredictable

Although the driver had not been aware that he had been driving unsafely, he conceded that he may have done so due to his confusion. At the driver’s request, the officers then explained the safest ways to pull over if being stopped by the police.

In response to the driver’s statement that he felt threatened, the officers discussed the fact that car stops are one of the most dangerous situations for police officers. The officers asserted that they had treated the three sternly during the stop in order to maintain control over the situation. However, when the driver raised the issue of the officers’ insulting statements, the officers acknowledged that they had lost their tempers due to his driving, and recognized that many of their comments were inappropriate, and, in fact, unnecessary to maintain control of the situation.

The officers then apologized for their insulting statements. The musician accepted the officers’ explanation for their behavior and apology, and in turn apologized for his driving. The mediation session ended with a round of handshakes.

# # #

The NYPD & The 3 C’s

August 18, 2009

The NYPD & The Three C’s:
Communication, Community & Cricket
An ADR Advocate Using Cricket & Soccer As
The Bridge to Bring The NYPD & Community Together

By Jeff Thompson

Note: this is not an official NYPD document
©Copyright 2009, all rights reserved.

Often when I speak about conflict and dispute resolution I mention three words that I consider to be my mantra in regards to Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). Communication, Understanding and Peace are what I strive to create in all my interactions, be it as a mediator, conflict coach, consultant, or as a police officer in the New York City Police Department.

As a NYPD police officer working in the Special Projects Unit of the Community Affairs Bureau, my job is basically to make sure people are happy. Specifically, I try to make sure people are happy with the NYPD. I look at individuals, groups, community organizations and private businesses to see if the NYPD has already established a relationship with them. If the answer is yes, I see if there is a way to improve the relationship and if the answer is no, I analyze why that is the case and then try to figure out how to establish a line of communication based on understanding.

Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly realized that our relationship with certain communities in New York City was non-existent and lacking genuine lines of communication. This context led me back to the mantra of Communication, Understanding and Peace.

To understand the mantra, start in reverse. To have genuine peace, you need understanding. In order to have understanding, you must have communication. Last year, when Commissioner Kelly tasked the Bureau I work in with designing an effective program to reach out to these communities, I was assigned as the coordinator.

First, the Commissioner believed the best way to reach out to the immigrant communities, specifically the Arab, Muslim and South Asian communities was to look at what the young men do. What better way to reach out then by putting together something that they already do, right?
Commissioner Kelly wanted to create a soccer competition as it is the world’s game. With that directive,we created NYPD UNITED Soccer. NYPD UNITED was designed to do just what the title says- uniting the police department with communities using soccer (or football to most of the world) as a bridge to bring us together.

NYPD UNITED was not created to just have some young men play soccer. Yet, that is precisely what it is, ‘just playing soccer’. There are no hidden agendas or some secret plan. The goal is transparent in that we want everyone to know that, whatever you think of the police, we cannot not change your past experiences. What we can do and are striving to do is to create a positive view and understanding of the police from this moment forward. Many of these young men never had any interaction with the police before this competition. By putting together a free soccer competition, the police are not only providing something for these young males to do while school is out for the summer but also since it is organized by cops, the participants get to interact with them as well. They get to see the officers in another light- as regular people who also love the sport. How do the participants find this out? The answer is by practicing and playing cricket alongside the officers and by having the opportunity to talk to them in an informal setting.

Before discussing the outreach efforts in greater detail, I want to mention a crucial moment in the designing stage of the program. A few weeks after NYPD UNITED began, Commissioner Kelly realized two things- one the program was already an overwhelming success. Second, and perhaps more importantly, it was still not enough. There was an entire group we were trying to reach, primarily the South Asian community, that was not participating. How could we reach out to them using the ideals of creating Communication to generate Understanding in hopes of the result being Peace?


Yes, cricket. Not the little green insects but rather that seemingly odd-like sport that sort of looks like baseball. This ‘odd sport’ is played by millions of people and happens to be the passion of these young men in the community we were looking to reach out to. In the hierarchical structure of the NYPD, the Commissioner called the Chief of the Community Affairs, Douglas Zeigler, who then called the Deputy Inspector of Special Projects, Amin Kosseim (the director of NYPD UNITED), who then told me we were now going to put together a cricket competition. It is under the Chief, Deputy Inspector as well as Sergeant Jamel Hodges leadership that allows the competition to flourish.

As a quick aside, what are the chances a white male, born and raised in Queens of Irish and German descent would not only have experience in playing and putting together soccer events but also be an avid cricket player who also happens to have organized cricket events too?

Who knows what the odds were in this happening, but also add to that equation that I am a person who firmly believes in the merits of trying to incorporate the skills of conflict resolution such as collaboration, consensus building, and active listening into everything I do.

NYPD Cricket was created using the same model of NYPD UNITED. As I stated above, the purpose of the programs was simple- create a line of communication to generate understanding using soccer and cricket as the bridge to bring us together. This is simply stated but complex to implement. Many officers of varying ranks (from the Chief down to the police officers) have done incredible work in making sure it all went smoothly in the first installment last year.

Specifically, people like Detective Nasser and Officer Rana are two individuals who worked countless hours and had already created incredible bonds and relationships with many people in these communities. This outreach was responsible for getting such an overwhelming response from prospective participants.

Now in year two, which just got underway, we analyzed what worked and what needed to be improved. In brief, the competition is bigger and better. For those who know me, for better or worse, I pay great attention to all the details. 100 random examples are (really only six):

* Personally redesigning the cricket logo with the help of a graphic artist to make it look more like a * Twenty/20 cricket logo
* Putting our logo put on each of the cricket balls
* Making the United logo look more like a traditional soccer/football crest
* Making sure each professional quality uniform was unique from all the others
* Getting each coach a collared shirt since not getting a shirt was a complaint last year
* Instituting a bonus point system in the cricket competition to ensure each match was competitive

Other less appealing but important tasks I had were drafting waivers, purchasing ALL the equipment (from water bottles to nets with everything in between), hiring umpires and referees, obtaining field permits (yes, the police have to get permits!), coordinating transportation and putting together the schedules (think it is easy, try it!).

When designing of the competition, I referred to Ury, Brett and Goldberg’s book, Getting Disputes Resolved: Designing Systems to Cut the Costs of Conflict. I knew my unit would be able to design both programs on our own, but that would not be in line with the programs’ intention to reach out to the communities. What we did was consult and reach out to various groups at each stage of the design process. In designing the competition we checked with local leagues and asked for their input. When reaching out for teams and players, we contacted community groups, religious centers and teams. Many people from various communities were instrumental in the cricket and soccer competition’s success. This had multiple benefits- 1) as already stated, it helped add to the success 2) it helped to generate interest in the community in the early stage and 3) in the spirit of ADR work, it provided buy-in for many as they became part of the process.

The third point benefit listed above is important as it helped smooth out the “us” and “them” mentality that could be perceived on both sides. Of course people would be skeptical. Including the community in the design and each successive stage was integral to breaking down that barrier.

One of the last stages was to get media coverage. The coverage by the media in local and ethnic communities was astounding but what exceeded our expectations was the coverage the programs garnered nationally and internationally. NYPD Cricket was covered by major news outlets in India, Pakistan and the United Kingdom.

This year’s Cricket program was mentioned on the front page of the NY Times (June 29, 2009) with an article and a corresponding video segment on their website. CNN also did a report which aired on CNN, CNN international and their website.

As mentioned earlier, for the second season we wanted to increase the good while fix the bad. An important question included asking, what did we not do last year that would improve things this year? When I looked at the age of the participants, 15 to 19 years old, I asked, what do they do and what do they use? The result was not only acknowledging the role of the internet but embracing it.

For the second season, the method of embracing the internet was fourfold. Twitter, the official NYPD website, YouTube and a blog-type site are all being utilized. Admittedly I was unsure of the purpose of twitter but approximately 100 people are now following my ‘tweets’.

The official NYPD website, specifically the Community Affairs section, has the logos and information for both competitions. It provides visitors with information about both programs and how to learn more about them.

Last year I had taken various digital videos from a few matches. During the off season I was able to edit them and I put them on YouTube without announcing it. Positive feedback started to come in and now people are already asking, where are this year’s highlight clips? For this season, we plan to include new clips each week.

By creating a separate site on BlogSpot, I am able to update the competitions with news, video, pictures and results from any computer. Because of the ease of using the site, anyone can work on the site besides me and it is easy to navigate for visitors. The site also allows visitors to go to other sites including the official NYPD site.

Using this new technology which the participants use not only helps the NYPD communicate with them on familiar platforms but it also gives the Department and the programs greater exposure to others not involved. The mantra of Communication, Understanding and Peace is not limited to the participants and their communities. Its benefits can and should go beyond the participants to people everywhere.

NYPD UNITED Soccer and NYPD Cricket were not only created as ways to create new relationships, but to explore valid learning experiences. It is important to emphasize the learning experiences occurred not only in the communities and with the participants but with the NYPD. All the police personnel involved directly and indirectly have gained a deeper understanding of the communities which we serve. The best way to serve others is by getting to know them.

Jeff Thompson is based in New York City and is a certified mediator with Safe Horizon and the International Institute of Mediation (IMI). Jeff is also currently enrolled in the Masters Program in Negotiation and Dispute Resolution at Creighton University.
Jeff’s blog, Enjoy Mediation ( is a featured blog at and Comments are always welcome- email Jeff at

ADR News

July 10, 2009

NYPD Cricket Featured on CNN
From Wednesday’s post [here], see the video at the bottom (just press play)

When Not To Negotiate
Mediation or negotiation in family disputes, while attractive in principle, can often be ineffectual, and at worst, counterproductive. In the 1989 film, The War of the Roses, Barbara and Oliver Rose were in such extreme conflict over their dream house, they eventually killed each other. Only judicial intervention could have stopped the carnage.
The importance of dealing with divorce in the best possible way when one-third of Australian marriages fail is clearly crucial to the well-being of the community. Over the past 25 years, family disputes in Australia have been increasingly resolved through mediation and negotiation, rather than litigation. Since the mid-1990s, “Alternative Dispute Resolution” (ADR) has become the most common way to resolve family feuds.

Read more [here]
Candidate Touts Mediation Experience
Democrat Michael Allen of Santa Rosa says he’s best qualified to succeed Noreen Evans in the State Assembly because he has been a member of State Sen. Patricia Wiggins’ staff since 2007.
…Allen said his background as a “community mediator specializing in conflict resolution and interest-based negotiations” also makes him a good choice to bring solutions to Sacramento.
Read more [here]

How To Be Your Own Mediator
After you vent your side of the story, retell the story from the other person’s point of view.
Here is how to do this. Choose a specific conflict with one other person. Particularly useful is selecting a person who you blame for the current poor working relationship. Now, find someone else who you can confide in to be a listener and do the following exercise.

Read more [here]

Bid To Halt Soccer World Cup Strike
Mediation efforts are under way in South Africa in a bid to end a national strike which has brought construction at 2010 World Cup sites to a halt.
Some 70,000 workers downed tools on Wednesday demanding a 13% pay rise but employers are only offering 10%.
Construction companies have described other union demands as “unacceptable”.

Read more [here]

Georgia Gov Appoints Mental Health Ombuds
Governor Perdue Wednesday announced a new position to help Georgia fix its broken mental health system.The Mental Health Ombudsman will investigate complaints of abuse and other concerns.Jewel Norman’s resume includes running a psychiatric hospital for children and teenagers. She also advocated for mental health legislation for the State Department of Human Resources. As Ombudsman, Norman will provide checks and balances for Georgia’s new mental health agency.
Read more [here]

Retired No More!

Congratulations to Hon. Harry Sheppard (Ret.), a retired Alameda County Superior Court Judge, for recently joining JAMS. Retired life just was not meant to be!

“While on the bench, Judge Sheppard was a ‘go-to’ judge for resolving complicated cases. He is known for his fair and even temperament, thorough knowledge of the law, and extraordinary work ethic and preparation,” said Chris Poole, JAMS President and CEO. “We are pleased that he is joining our Northern California panel.”

“I have always enjoyed problem solving as a judge, and I look forward to working full-time as a JAMS arbitrator and mediator,” said Judge Sheppard.

NYPD & The 3 C’s: Communication, Community & Cricket

July 8, 2009

Thinking Outside the Box?

NYPD (New York City Police Department) UNITED Soccer and NYPD Cricket are two programs which I (the NYPD Community Affairs Bureau) created to reach out to the young men primarily in the Muslim community as a way to create communication and understanding between the Police and the community.

With the mindset of a practicing ADR professional, I created both programs as a genuine way to reach out to the young men of the communities as soccer and cricket are the sports they play. We (the NYPD) feel it is a great way to breakdown barriers and generate understanding– all while having fun!

I would like to share with everyone an article the New York Times wrote on our Cricket program (it was even mentioned on the front page!).

The article is [here] and a great corresponding NYT’s video is [here].

If you are interested you can learn more about the programs here: As an example of reaching out to the audience, we even created a twitter account (, a YouTube page ( and a blog type site.

Just added- the CNN news segment covering the NYPD Cricket program (see below).

Embedded video from CNN Video

Lt. Cambria, Hostage Negotiation Unit

April 7, 2009
“Negotiators attempt to resolve high-conflict situations using words.”

As an advocate of using communication as a way to promote nonviolent resolutions to situations (was that a mouthful?), I often get the opportunity to serve as a bridge between two different people or groups that can help serve that purpose.

Today is one of those days where I am able to bring together Jack Cambria (pictured above), a Lieutenant and Commanding Officer of the Hostage and Negotiation Unit for the New York City Police Department (NYPD) and law students at Cardozo Law School enrolled in the Negotiation and Theory Skills.

The plan is for there to be a presentation and discussion on the negotiation principles used when negotiating in a hostage or other serious police situation and how although unique and only a few very highly trained people are involved is such situations, core negotiation principles such as BATNA, interests, credibility and among others are used. Hopefully the students will not only find the presentation interesting, but also be able to take some information learned and add it to their toolbox.

Read more about Lt. Cambria [here]

Btw, not sure if you want to read the above article? Here’s a tidbit that might change your mind:

In a highly-charged crisis situation, the first step is to slow things down, he says. “Most policing looks to resolve a situation quickly. Negotiation has a different dynamic. People have to work through their emotion.” If anyone has the proverbial nerves of steel, it’s Cambria. He estimates he has dealt with more than 1,000 negotiations, each taking about four hours on average. The longest lasted 50 hours.

Read more about the nationally ranked Kukin Program for Conflict Resolution at Cardozo Law [here]