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Office of Police Complaints Welcomes Scholar from Germany

Monday, June 17, 2013

Office of Police Complaints Welcomes Scholar from Germany

Berlin university professor studies handling of citizen complaints against the police

(Washington, DC) The District of Columbia’s Office of Police Complaints (OPC) recently hosted Dr. Hartmut Aden, a professor of law and public administration at the Berlin School of Economics and Law.

Dr. Aden met with OPC’s executive director, Philip K. Eure, on June 10, 2013.  Mr. Eure provided an overview of OPC’s complaint process and information about how the agency’s policy recommendations can achieve police reform. 

Dr. Aden is currently engaged in a comparative research project that will examine different models of handling citizen complaints against the police throughout the world.  The professor is studying the operations of independent police review agencies, such as OPC, as well as internal affairs divisions of police departments.

Among his teaching responsibilities, Dr. Aden instructs college students preparing to become police officers in Berlin and other parts of Germany.  He teaches courses in a number of areas, including criminal procedure, police and criminal law, and human rights. 

The German capital’s police force is comprised of 16,000 sworn members.  Approximately sixty percent of Berlin’s police officers are college graduates.  According to a 2010 study, the comparable rate for police officers in the United States is about 23 percent. 

Despite a brief experiment with independent police review in Hamburg, Germany’s third largest city, in the late 1990’s, the country does not have a tradition of citizen oversight of the police.  In more recent years, Dr. Aden has established a working group with colleagues from several German universities and research institutes who are looking into both external and internal processes to investigate citizen complaints.

 “At OPC, we are always honored to attract the attention of international scholars and experts in police accountability,” said Mr. Eure. “We strive to further this type of dialogue as a way to improve police oversight and policing in Washington, D.C., and to share our experiences with others from around the world.”  

For more information about Dr. Aden’s background, visit http://www.hwr-berlin.de/prof/hartmut-aden. To learn more about the District’s Office of Police Complaints, visit www.policecomplaints.dc.gov.