Community Support Program at the BPD

The Community Support Program is a program of the Burlington Police Department that encourages people to resolve their disputes constructively - in ways that empower individuals to repair relationships and build community. Using conciliation, mediation, or other alternative dispute resolution strategies, the Community Support Program strives to assist people in creating their own solutions to the conflicts they face.

The Community Support Program also engages other stakeholders (community-based providers and advocates) in collaboratively addressing neighborhood concerns. Additionally, the program refers individuals and receives referrals from these groups.

This program is appropriate for conflicts and disputes that are non-violent and non-criminal. Kind of cases the program helps with often include:

  • residential noise concerns
  • trash and yard disorder
  • landlord/tenant disputes
  • parking issues

To learn more about the CSP program please contact Brooke Hadwen at the Burlington Police Department.  (802) 540-2393 or bhadwen@burlingtonvt.gov

Advice on effective ways to manage disputes
Steps to take when you have a conflict with a neighbor:

  1. Before you call the police, talk to your neighbor. Often neighbors are unaware of the problem (for example their dog barks when they are not home) or they may not realize the activity bothers someone else.
  2. If the issue continues, bring it up again. Try to work together to come up with solutions that will work for both parties.
  3. Talk to others to find out if they are also affected by the disturbance. The more people who are willing to address the issue the faster it will be resolved.
  4. If you both live in rental units, remind them of the lease agreement or property rules if there are any. This will give them a chance to respond before the landlord becomes involved.
  5. If there is a local ordinance that the neighbor is violating, get a copy and give it to the neighbor along with a letter asking them to follow the ordinance.
  6. If you get no response from the neighbor then it is appropriate to call the authorities.

Ways of handling the conflict that make things worse or that have no effect:

  • the conflict gets ignored or denied
  • the conflict gets blown out of proportion
  • blame for the conflict is placed on someone
  • you engage in struggles where one person wins and the other loses

Ways of handling conflicts that make it better:

  • address the issue as soon as possible
  • have discussions when things have cooled down
  • attack the problem and not the person
  • hold all parties involved responsible for arriving at the solution to the problem
  • strive for solutions that have no losers
 
- Departments of the City of Burlington -