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Police Complaints Board Issues Report on MPD’s Enforcement of Excessive Idling of Vehicles

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

WASHINGTON, DC – The District of Columbia’s Police Complaints Board (PCB), the governing body of the Office of Police Complaints (OPC), today issued a report to Mayor Muriel Bowser, the Council of the District of Columbia and Interim Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Chief Peter Newsham recommending ways to ensure all MPD officers clearly understand the excessive idling regulation.

Over the past few years, OPC has received complaints from individuals alleging that MPD officers unlawfully issued Notice of Infractions (NOI) for excessive idling while in their personal vehicles.  The regulation (Section 2418.3 of Title 18 of the DCMR) exempts “private passenger vehicles” for non-commercial purposes from the excessive idling statute.

To address concerns about the issuances of NOI’s to community members for excessive idling while in a private passenger vehicle, the PCB recommends the following steps MPD could take to help officers understand the regulation and improve community trust in the Department:

  • Issue an updated circular that discusses the exception for private passenger vehicles, and does not merely quote it in the context of the full regulation;
  • Issue a teletype requiring that Section 2418.3 of Title 18 of the DCMR and the exceptions be read at roll call; and/or
  • Develop new training for officers on Section 2418.3 of Title 18 of the DCMR.

“From the complaints received in our office, it appears that some MPD officers are unaware of the private passenger vehicle exemption in the regulation,” said Michael G. Tobin, OPC’s executive director.  “Officers clear understanding and enforcement of the statutes and regulations has a direct impact on police-community relations.”

To view a full copy of PCB’s report and sample complaints received by OPC, visit www.policecomplaints.dc.gov.