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Officials explain how the City of Dayton's Mediation Response Unit works

Dayton Mediation SUV's
The Mediation Response Unit specializes in nonviolent situations that involve a conflict ranging from family disputes to a neighbor’s dog that has been barking for the past 6 hours.

The City of Dayton introduced its 911 alternative response in May.

Not every dispute needs a police officer. That’s why on May 23, 2022, the City of Dayton introduced its 911 alternative response. The Mediation Response Unit specializes in non-violent situations that involve a conflict. That ranges from family disputes to a neighbor’s dog that has been barking for the past 6 hours.

The Unit consists of six responders trained in de-escalation, active listening, and mental health first aid.

“We also go through diversity, equity, and inclusion training and talking about implicit biases and different things like that,” Raven Cruz Loaiza, the Mediation Response Unit Coordinator, said. “We want to make sure that we’re going in there with a clean slate and going in there as neutral as possible.”

Each member has experience in victim services, children’s services, juvenile detention, law enforcement, and other areas of community response. In other words, while the MRU may be a new concept, the members have been in the community responding and taking care of situations unarmed.

While law enforcement focuses more on the enforcement of the law, Loaiza said that her unit is more focused on conversation and understanding.

“We try to really get down to the root of the challenge and really try to bring people together to have conversations so that we can move from conflict to conversation,” she said.

As of August 15, the MRU has responded to more than 400 calls. The MRU operates from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. To reach the MRU and their responders directly, you can call (937) 333-2333. You can also call 911 or 333, as the MRU operates on the same computer system as police and fire.

Garrett is a WYSO intern and graduate of University of Dayton. He spent time covering the Dayton area with WDTN Channel 2 News after the 2019 Memorial Day Tornado outbreak. It was around this time that he began listening to NPR and fell in love with radio-based journalism. Garrett graduated from UD in May of 2021 with his Bachelor’s in Communications with a focus in journalism and graduated in May of 2022 with his Master’s. While not working at WYSO, Garrett is an avid reader, loves to play video games, and hanging out with his friends.