On Tuesday, January 11, 2005, the Office of Police Complaints, formerly the Office of Citizen Complaint Review (OCCR), and its governing body, the Police Complaint Board formerly the Citizen Complaint Review Board (CCRB), issued their Fiscal Year 2004 Annual Report. The report details the work of the agency from October 1, 2003, through September 30, 2004, the last full year that the agency operated under its old names. The report includes statistics about the complaints received by the agency, as well as information regarding the agency’s accomplishments.
The Office of Police Complaints is an independent District of Columbia government agency that receives, investigates, and resolves police misconduct complaints filed by the public against Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) and DC Housing Authority Police Department (DCHAPD) officers. In 2004, the Mayor and the Council renamed the agency in order to more clearly convey its mission.
Over the course of the year, 699 people contacted OCCR to inquire about filing a complaint. The agency received 262 complaints, and closed 312, making fiscal year 2004 the first year that the agency closed more complaints than it received. The increase in the number of closed complaints was driven by a 71% increase in the number of complaints resolved by OCCR through adjudication, dismissal, and successful mediation. Fifteen of these complaints were adjudicated, resulting in nine decisions sustaining police misconduct allegations. All of the decisions were forwarded to MPD, and the Chief of Police has taken steps to impose discipline for all of the decisions.
The agency’s number of open complaints was lower at the end of the year for the first time since the agency opened, decreasing by 11%. The decrease was driven by OCCR’s greater efficiency and productivity with its limited resources, a smaller number of complaints being received by the agency, and a complete review and reprioritization of all open complaints. The agency also significantly increased the use of its mediation program, referring 77% more complaints to mediation and conducting 48% more mediation sessions. Since the agency opened, it has had an overall mediation success rate of 78%.
At the beginning of the fiscal year, CCRB issued a detailed report and recommendations to the Mayor, the Council, and Chief Ramsey regarding disorderly conduct arrests made by MPD officers. The report discussed CCRB’s examination of the issue and the recommendations included changes designed to reduce the occurrence of improper or unlawful disorderly conduct arrests in the District. In response to the report and recommendations, the District took steps to address several of the issues raised by CCRB.
OCCR continued to work with MPD’s Community-Police Task Force, which the Department formed as part of its Biased Policing Project (BPP) after CCRB issued its January 2002 report and recommendations regarding racial profiling in Washington, DC. Consistent with CCRB’s recommendation, OCCR strongly encouraged the Mayor, the Council, and Chief Ramsey to follow the recommendation in the BPP final report to establish a stop data collection program to detect any racial profiling or other forms of police bias that may exist in the District. MPD announced in December 2004 that it would go forward with the stop data collection program.
Finally, OCCR implemented its Community Outreach Strategic Plan for 2004. The plan continued the very successful student interactive training program, and expanded outreach to social service providers and community groups, which allows them to share information with their clients and members. OCCR also significantly increased its outreach to MPD, meeting with several classes of recruits and newly promoted officials, and the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), meeting with the group’s executive committee and newly elected shop stewards.
To see a copy of the report online, select Annual Report.
For more information about the agency or the annual report, please contact Public Affairs Specialist Melanie Deggins at (202) 727-3838.