What does the Community Relations Service Do ?
The Community Relations Service (CRS) helps local communities resolve
serious racial and ethnic conflicts. Its services are provided to local
officials and leaders by trained federal mediators on a voluntary and
cost-free basis. The kinds of assistance available from CRS include
mediation of disputes and conflicts, training in conflict resolution
skills, and help in developing ways to prevent and resolve conflicts.
What is the jurisdiction of the Community Relations Service ?
The Community Relations Service provides its services to local communities
when there are serious community conflicts or violence based on racial
or ethnic issues. CRS services are provided on a voluntary and confidential
basis, and are conducted according to provisions in Title X of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964.
Where does CRS work ?
Most of CRS' work comes from requests by police chiefs, mayors, school
superintendents, and other local and State authorities. They ask CRS
to help when there is serious community racial conflict and when they
believe that impartial mediators from CRS can help calm tensions, prevent
violence, and get people talking again. CRS works in all 50 states,
and in communities large and small, rural, suburban, and urban.
How does CRS work ?
Trained impartial CRS conflict resolution specialists are stationed
in 10 Regional and 4 Field offices across the county. They are available
on a 24-hour basis. They follow established and standardized procedures
in conducting their work. For each situation, CRS will first assess
the situation, which includes hearing everyone's perspective. After
gaining a good understanding of the situation, CRS will fashion an agreement
among local officials and leaders on the services CRS will provide to
help resolve the conflict or prevent further violence.
What kinds of issues does CRS become involved in ?
Most of the work involves situations where there is racial conflict
or violence involving police agencies or schools. The most volatile
situations CRS responds to are negative reactions to incidents involving
police use of force, the staging of major demonstrations and counter
events, major school disruptions, and organized hate crime activities.
What is the Federal interest in helping local communities resolve
racial conflicts ?
CRS provides its services when it is asked by local authorities and
officials to help. They may decline our services at any time. Since
CRS mediators are not funded by sources other than Federal funds, they
are able to ensure their neutrality in helping to resolve conflicts,
especially those which involve local and State agencies. CRS is an integral
component of the Justice Department's mission to help State and local
governments prevent violence and promote public safety.
Why is CRS located in the Justice Department ?
CRS mediators carry no guns or badges and cannot file law suits. Nevertheless,
they represent the Department of Justice in one of its most important
missions - providing assistance and support to State and local authorities
in their efforts to prevent violence and resolve destructive conflicts.
As representatives of the Department of Justice, CRS mediators have
the credibility and trust to work effectively with people on all sides
of the conflict.
How does CRS know if it has been successful ?
CRS success is best measured by the level of satisfaction among those
who receive CRS services. Police chiefs, Governors, Mayors, school superintendents,
and others praise CRS for its effectiveness. Whenever possible, CRS
will contact local officials to review how well agreements are holding,
whether violence has abated, and if tensions remain low. An internal
reporting system registers outcomes and accomplishments for each CRS
What are some of the big changes in CRS conflict resolution work
Today, CRS mediators are called on to help resolve conflicts involving
a wider range of racial and ethnic issues. Conflicts and violence is
no longer Black and white, but may involve new immigrants, Native Americans,
Central Americans, and others.