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Office of Police Complaints to Launch New Alternative Dispute Resolution Program

Friday, May 31, 2013

Office of Police Complaints to Launch New Alternative Dispute Resolution Program

Pilot conciliation program aims to improve police-citizen relations and speed resolution of some cases

(Washington, DC)  – The District of Columbia’s Office of Police Complaints (OPC) is preparing to launch a pilot conciliation program in June.  The program will run for approximately two months, and is the agency’s newest tool for resolving police misconduct complaints, complementing OPC’s successful mediation program.  

Conciliation is a form of alternative dispute resolution that provides citizen complainants and Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officers the opportunity to resolve certain complaints more speedily.  The complaints referred to this process contain less serious allegations, but participation in conciliation offers benefits to both officers and complainants.

As with mediation, officers will be able to learn how their actions affect complainants.  In turn, members of the public can expect to become familiarized with the procedures that officers must follow when performing their duties.

Participation in the conciliation program is voluntary for both parties.  Assuming their good faith participation, the case will be closed after the conciliation session takes place.  These features set the program apart from OPC’s existing mediation program, in which participation is mandatory for both the officer and the complainant and lack of a formal agreement will result in the complaint being investigated.

Another difference is that conciliation sessions are conducted over the phone, providing both parties with the flexibility to participate from anywhere and eliminating the inconvenience of commuting to downtown Washington, DC, while also reducing the time officers spend away from their regular duties.   

“The launch of OPC’s pilot program is an important step in expanding and speeding our ability to resolve some types of police misconduct complaints,” said Philip K. Eure, OPC’s executive director.  “We expect the program to promote even greater understanding and trust between officers and the communities they serve.”

For additional information about OPC's conciliation program, please contact the agency at 202-727-3838.  To learn more about the agency, visit our website at www.policecomplaints.dc.gov.