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Office of Police Complaints Releases Fiscal Year 2020 Annual Report

Monday, January 11, 2021
Agency received 814 complaints, record number of complaints for the 4th consecutive year

(Washington, DC) – The District of Columbia Office of Police Complaints (OPC) and its governing body, the Police Complaints Board (PCB), today released its Fiscal Year 2020 Annual Report. The report provides information on complaints received and investigated by OPC as well as the impact of body-worn cameras (BWC) on investigations, a summary of policy recommendations issued by the PCB and information on OPC’s community outreach initiatives.  

In FY20, OPC received 841 complaints, which is a 3.5 percent increase from FY19. This is the fourth consecutive year OPC has received a record number of complaints. The agency also opened 490 new investigations and conducted more than 500 interviews, including 379 community member and 144 officer interviews.

Additionally, within the 841 complaints received by OPC, there were 1,411 allegations of police misconduct reported. Harassment and language/conduct were the largest categories of allegations with harassment accounting for 49 percent of the allegations and 22 percent for language/conduct.

The impact of the Metropolitan Police Department’s (MPD) BWC program continues to enhance OPC’s ability to conduct police misconduct investigations. OPC found relevant BWC video in 72 percent of the cases investigated and of those cases there was some form of non-compliance by MPD officers in 32 percent, which is a 3 percent decrease from FY19. Similar to previous years, community members not being notified they were being recorded accounted for the largest non-compliance category at 21 percent. As of FY20, the D.C. Housing Authority Police Department has not implemented a BWC program.

The PCB also published four policy recommendations in FY20 - Implementation Update on the Reports and Recommendations of the Police Complaints Board from FY18, Personal Use of Social Media, Lawful Firearms, and Automated License Plate Readers. Policy recommendations examine and address large-scale concerns about District law enforcement policies, training, or supervision. To date, the Board has issued 57 reports and set of recommendations for police reform.

OPC continued its outreach efforts, conducting and participating in more than 40 in-person and virtual outreach events throughout the District of Columbia and beyond. The agency expanded its outreach to the senior population by conducting Know Your Rights sessions virtually for various senior groups throughout the District. In addition, OPC further expanded its outreach to college students and added two new organizations to its Community Partnership Program.

“Like many other agencies, OPC had to quickly adapt and convert its operations to a virtual environment as a result of a global pandemic,” said Michael G. Tobin, OPC’s executive director. “Our annual report shows how through this crisis we continued to serve the community, promote police accountability and work to improve police-community relations.”

To view the full report, visit www.policecomplaints.dc.gov.