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Office of Police Complaints Aids Effort to Establish Oversight of the Police in Fairfax County, Virginia

Monday, January 31, 2011

(Washington, DC) The District of Columbia’s Office of Police Complaints (OPC) is offering to assist Fairfax County, Virginia, by serving as a resource as the county considers establishing citizen oversight of the police.  The nearby county is one of the largest jurisdictions in the United States without any form of independent police review.

According to recent news reports, the county’s police chief is said to be exploring whether to create a citizen review board and, if so, how it should work.  The idea of creating an independent body in Fairfax County to handle police misconduct complaints has gained increasing support within the past two years.

After being contacted last year by the Citizens Coalition for Police Accountability (CCPA) based in Mount Vernon, Virginia, OPC provided best practices materials on oversight models and citizen review agencies.  CCPA founder Nicholas Beltrante is a retired detective with the District’s Metropolitan Police Department.

“The District of Columbia Government and our agency are ready and willing to also provide information about independent police review to Fairfax County government and police officials,” said Philip K. Eure, OPC’s executive director. “As we’ve learned, there’s a steep learning curve in this field and the District has greatly benefited from reaching out to other citizen review agencies over the years.” 

Since its opening in 2001, the Office of Police Complaints has emerged as a model oversight agency.  It has been regularly contacted by individuals and organizations throughout the United States and abroad that are seeking to create or improve citizen oversight of the police.  This assistance has extended to groups as far-flung as California and Atlanta, as well as to representatives of governments in Brazil, Uzbekistan, Norway and Israel and many other countries.

In addition, OPC executive director Eure, who is the immediate past president and a current board member of the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (NACOLE), draws on extensive knowledge of national oversight developments and trends.

To learn more about OPC, please visit our website at  To learn more about NACOLE, please visit