Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) - Filing Complaints
How long do I have to file a police complaint with your office?
The Office of Police Complaints (OPC) currently accepts complaints that have been filed within 90* days of the incident. If your complaint falls outside of that 90-day timeframe, please contact our office at (202) 727-3838 during normal business hours, Mon.-Fri., 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time.
I have a complaint against an officer in Florida. Can I file a complaint with your office?
No. OPC only has the jurisdiction to investigate complaints that occurred in Washington, DC and that involve DC Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) and/or DC Housing Authority (DCHA) officers. We encourage you to contact your local police department’s Internal Affairs department or civilian review board. If you need assistance finding the proper venue to call, please contact our office during normal business hours.
I’m having problems in a relationship with someone who happens to be an MPD or DCHA officer. Can I file a complaint with your office?
OPC only has the jurisdiction to investigate complaints that have occurred within the color of law, i.e. complaints that have occurred when the officer was acting in official duty. Please contact our office during normal business hours to determine whether or not the complaint is within our jurisdiction.
I witnessed a crime occur. Can I file a complaint with your office?
No. OPC only has the jurisdiction to investigate complaints of police misconduct against MPD and DCHA officers in Washington, DC. To report a crime, please contact your local police department. However, if you witness police misconduct that falls within our jurisdiction, please feel free to file a complaint with our office.
Can you tell me the best way to file a complaint with your office?
OPC accepts complaints via the following methods:
- In person or via mail: Office of Police Complaints, 1400 I (Eye) Street N.W., Suite 700, Washington, DC, 20005 (accessible via the Orange, Blue, and Silver Lines at McPherson Square Metro Station)
- Via fax: (202) 727-9182
- Via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Via our online system: http://dcforms.dc.gov/webform/office-police-complaints-online-complaint-form
- OPC also has a list of community partners where complaint forms can be accessed. See the “COMMUNITY PARTNERS” section on http://policecomplaints.dc.gov/service/file-a-complaint.
If you do not have access to the previous options, you can call our 24-hour hotline, (866) 588-0569, and leave a message. One of our investigators will be in touch with you within 24 hours or the next business day.
I am not a fan of the police in general and wanted to vent my concerns about them.
OPC only has the jurisdiction to investigate specific instances of police misconduct by MPD or DCHA officers. If you have a concern about the police in general, feel free to contact your local police station’s watch commander or contact your local legislative office.
I watched a YouTube video of police misconduct and I also read a blog about a recent incident of police misconduct, and I’d like to file a complaint with your office.
OPC only has the jurisdiction to investigate complaints from those who have been a direct recipient of police misconduct, or were an eyewitness to police misconduct. If you know the proper party who was involved in an incident, have that person contact our office during normal business hours.
I have a police complaint that occurred in Washington, DC, but it did not involve MPD or DCHA officers.
While there are many police jurisdictions in Washington, DC, OPC only has the jurisdiction to investigate complaints against MPD or DCHA officers. If you need help finding the proper venue to file your complaint, please contact our office during normal business hours.
My complaint occurred in Washington, DC, but I don’t know if the officers involved were MPD or DCHA officers.
Please contact our office during normal business hours and an on-duty investigator can assist you.
I don’t have a complaint against an officer, but I wanted to submit a commendation regarding one.
OPC only handles complaints against MPD or DCHA officers. To submit a commendation (positive feedback) for an MPD officer’s conduct, visit http://mpdc.dc.gov/page/how-file-citizen-complaint-or-commendation and obtain an MPD Citizen Feedback Form. Fill out this form and submit it to your local MPD station.
I have a complaint but I wrote it as a letter (or put it on an MPD Citizen Feedback Form). Can I submit this to your office?
OPC only accepts complaints submitted on the OPC-1 Complaint Form, or via OPC’s online complaint form system. You can obtain an OPC-1 Complaint Form via one of the methods listed above. Please make sure to fill this out completely and sign it (the OPC-1 Complaint Form requires a signature in ink, while the online submission form accepts electronic signatures). Your letter or MPD Citizen Feedback Form can be submitted with your complaint as an attachment.
English is not my first language but I wanted to submit a complaint.
OPC has access to a Language Line to help assist those who have limited-English speaking capacities. Our office also has full-time Spanish-speaking investigators. Please contact our office to be assisted in filing a complaint with our office.
I speak and understand English, but I have trouble with reading and writing so I can’t fill out my complaint form.
Please contact our office during normal business hours to be assisted in getting your complaint filed.
I want to file a complaint, but I don’t want to give out my name and contact information.
OPC cannot accept complaints filed anonymously, and in order to investigate your complaint we would need a method of communicating with you. Any complaints received by our office are kept confidential.
*Please note that OPC literature states the time frame as within 45 days to file to a complaint. However, due to the enactment of new legislation (NEAR ACT) on June 30, 2016, the time frame to file a complaint has changed from 45 to 90 days.