We discuss the potential of law enforcement officers to function as mediators in everyday disputes encountered in the field. Examples are drawn from mediation and peacemaking occurring in a variety of contexts, focusing on a description of the Navajo peacemaking program currently in operation, using interviews with Navajo law enforcement professionals who discuss the benefits of officers serving as mediators/peacemakers in the field. Peacemaking is a community-oriented policing tool with the potential to reduce crime and simultaneously improve public perceptions of the police. By enabling citizens and victims to solve their own problems, the police can earn the respect of the communities they serve. Programs such as those discussed here represent a way for police to transform themselves from officials primarily concerned with keeping the peace to those making it.
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Document Type: Research Article
Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice, Rutgers University, Camden, NJ, USA
Retired Sergeant, New Mexico Mounted Patrol, Las Cruces, USA
Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice Studies, California State University, USA
Publication date: 01 September 2009
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