Chief urges – use mediation instead of guns

Civility, civility, civility – police urge the angry to use mediators instead of pistols.

Things like hard words, grudges and disrespect led to more murders last year than drugs, gangs or domestic violence, says police chief Darryl Forté.

He says in his blog today that 22 people were killed last year because of disputes.

“This deadly shortage of conflict resolution and anger management skills can be remedied,” he said.

The non-profit Community Mediation Center of Kansas City can help with that, he says, and police already send feuding neighbors or landlords and tenants there.

“The center’s goal is to give people the skills to deal with conflict at lower levels so it doesn’t escalate into violence,” he said, and it also gets referrals from schools, churches, the courts and others.

It has picked up the slack since the city mediation services were cut from the budget four years ago and it served 5,942 people last year, he said, most of them Kansas City residents.

The center’s web site says mediations take about two hours and aim to reach resolutions that “are mutually satisfying and realistic.”

They are effective, it says, because “conflict partners meet face to face, sharing perspectives and listening during a safe and structured process.”

The cost is on a sliding fee scale based on income with a minimum charge of $35 and a maximum of $150 for a two-hour session.

But it also says no one is turned away because of an inability to pay.

It’s phone number is 816-461-8255.

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