Re: Police policies
From: Maggie McGovern (
Date: Sun, 6 Jun 2021 04:50:29 -0700 (PDT)
Thank you Liz and Sharron for sharing. The confusion around when to use 
authority seems to be a theme. I appreciate all the examples! Wow! I’ve been 
writing funny cohousing skits (really as therapy haha) and some of these 
stories are inspiring. 

Perhaps no one has written guidelines about using police (or other 
authorities). Very interesting. 

I would love to see who is on board with what agreements here. I like that idea 
Liz. It’s not really an agreement to me if people aren’t on board. Coming in 
new I assumed people liked and used the agreements but that’s not always the 
case. I’d love transparency around that like, “many of us agree to this...” or 
wording that reflects what’s true. 

Well thanks for the replies!

Sent from my iPhone

> On Jun 3, 2021, at 6:19 AM, Elizabeth Magill <pastorlizm [at]> 
> wrote:
> We don't have policies on that, but we have a slightly similar
> situation. (We are two coho communities on one property.)
> In the northern community a dog bit a young person who lives in the
> southern community. The bitten family called animal control.
> The northern community (with the dog) reacted by saying "you must talk
> to the family before calling".
> Our community (with the bitten person) reacted by saying "you can call
> if it feels appropriate".
> I work with communities on conflict. Often there is conflict that
> "that other person isn't following our policies."
> I think it would help when developing policies to ask how you would
> enforce it once it is in place. Also ask whether you really have
> agreement from all people to follow it.
> So taking a policy about calling police (or animal control, or any
> outside the community resource)--would the person who has done that
> follow such a policy? And if they did not, then what would the
> community do about the fact that they didn't follow it? In my
> experience, and in this case even in my dreaming of best case
> scenarios, I can't imagine what would happen if someone didn't follow
> the policy. What would be a logical consequence? Who would make that
> consequence happen?
> The only next step that I can imagine is to talk to the person about
> them calling the police. Do you have someone from the community who
> would come with you as you try to do that?
> It sounds like a very frustrating situation and I'm sorry there isn't
> a way to change other people's behaviors. I wish there was.
> Liz
> Mosaic Commons in Berlin, MA.
>> On Thu, Jun 3, 2021 at 7:34 AM Maggie McGovern via Cohousing-L
>> <cohousing-l [at]> wrote:
>> Hi people. I’ve never posted to here so I’m not sure if I’m doing this 
>> right. I’ll find out!
>> I’m curious if any of you have policies/guidelines/agreements/rules around 
>> people calling the police?
>> I’ve had a neighbor call the police on me for something that was not 
>> breaking any agreements and wasn’t brought to my attention by him (we do 
>> have agreements to go to each other with complaints but he has chosen not to 
>> do that). We don’t have any agreements around calling the police and for my 
>> and other’s safety and peace of mind I would like that to exist. I was 
>> thinking of having a discussion in our coho with those interested but I 
>> thought I’d first see if other Coho’s have written agreements that I can 
>> bring as options. When I think of writing something it is very hard for me 
>> to clearly, concretely describe how it would look to use police when needed 
>> and not just as a threat.
>> I also know there are many views on this from people trusting the police as 
>> a strategy for protection and conflict resolution to those who see using 
>> police as a danger given historical and current violence and abuses of power 
>> and then everything in between. Anyone tackled this?
>> Thanks,
>> Maggie
>> Sent from my iPhone
>> _________________________________________________________________
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> -- 
> -Liz
> (The Rev. Dr.) Elizabeth Mae Magill
> Pastor, Ashburnham Community Church
> Minister to the Affiliates, Ecclesia Ministries
> 508-450-0431

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