(Washington, D.C.) – The District of Columbia’s Office of Police Complaints (OPC) recently hosted a four-member delegation from the Bahrain Ministry of Interior’s Ombudsman Office. The Ombudsman Office had previously conducted research on OPC and identified it, among others, as a model of law enforcement oversight.
The Bahraini delegation, which visited OPC on September 30, 2013, under the auspices of the U.S. State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program, included: Nawaf Al Moawda, Ombudsman; Abdulrahman Fares, Director of Complaints; Ghada Hameed Habib, Director of International Cooperation and Development; and Rahma Showater, Studies and Research Specialist of International Cooperation and Development.
The group met with OPC Executive Director Philip K. Eure, Chief Investigator Mona Andrews, and Public Affairs Specialist Nykisha Cleveland to learn more about independent review of the police in the United States and Washington, D.C.
During the meeting, the representatives from OPC provided information about the history of police oversight in the United States, OPC’s investigative process, and the agency’s mediation program. OPC representatives also discussed the agency’s community outreach program and its role in helping to build confidence in the police by educating the public about the citizen complaint process.
“OPC welcomes the opportunity to share information with other oversight agencies about strategies to promote greater police accountability,” said Eure. “We also appreciate learning from the experiences of police review offices abroad.”
While in Washington, D.C., the delegation also met with representatives from the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General, and several civil society organizations.
In addition, the officials from Bahrain were scheduled to meet this week with police, prison, and oversight officials in Baltimore and Los Angeles.
Bahrain’s Ombudsman Office of the Ministry of the Interior was created in July 2013 on the recommendation of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI). The Ombudsman Office is the first such agency in the Arab world.
Bahrain is located in the Persian Gulf and has a population of approximately 1.3 million. It is a constitutional monarchy headed by a king.
Over the years, OPC has met with delegations of government officials from around the world, including Mexico, Nigeria, Serbia, South Korea, Uzbekistan, Ireland, Italy, and Brazil.