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About Office of Police Complaints

The agency was created by the District to fill the void left by the 1995 abolition of the Civilian Complaint Review Board, which was plagued by inadequate funding and staff, resulting in lengthy delays in the processing and resolution of complaints. The District’s new police oversight office was the product of extensive research and careful thought by District officials and advocacy groups. The result was an agency with board members and staff who seek to employ the best practices of citizen oversight of law enforcement, and whose ultimate goal is to provide the public with an independent and impartial forum for the investigation and timely resolution of police misconduct complaints.

The Office of Police Complaints (OPC) and its governing body, the Police Complaints Board (PCB), were created by statute in 1999, and OPC opened to the public on January 8, 2001.  The agency is independent of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), the District of Columbia’s 3,800-member police force, and the DC Housing Authority Police Department (DCHAPD), the Housing Authority’s 75-member police force, and its mission is to receive, investigate, and resolve police misconduct complaints filed by the public against MPD and DCHAPD officers. 

The Office of Police Complaints is an independent District of Columbia government agency which reviews and resolves complaints of misconduct filed by citizens against Metropolitan Police Department officers and is staffed by civilians.

The Office of Police Complaints has the authority to receive complaints involving six types of police officer misconduct: harassment, inappropriate language or conduct, retaliation, unnecessary or excessive force, discrimination and failure to identify. 

The Office of Police Complaints promotes the highest attainable standard of integrity, professionalism, and accountability in the District's police department. Office of Police Complaints strengthens public confidence by ensuring that citizen complaints about police conduct are taken seriously, carefully investigated, and reviewed by an experienced staff that is overseen by a Citizen Complaint Review Board appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the District Council.

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