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Police Complaints Board Adopts Open Meetings Policy

Thursday, September 30, 2010

(Washington, DC) The Police Complaints Board (PCB), the governing body of the Office of Police Complaints (OPC), today formally adopted a written Open Meetings policy that establishes procedures for public participation in PCB’s official meetings, consistent with the letter and the spirit of the District of Columbia’s Open Meetings law.

Under the District of Columbia’s Open Meetings law (D.C. Official Code § 1-207.42), District government meetings and hearings must be held publicly if any “official action” will be taken, made, or enacted by a governmental body at the event.    

In accordance with the requirements of the District’s Open Meetings law, PCB meetings have always been open to the public; however, no official policy establishing procedures for notifying the public of dates, times, and locations of meetings or for publishing minutes of board meetings had been implemented.

The policy adopted today:  1) reaffirms PCB’s commitment to complying fully with the District’s Open Meetings law; 2) announces procedures for notifying the public of board meetings; and 3) establishes that minutes of PCB meetings will be published on OPC’s website. 

In addition, the policy defines and explains the parameters of “executive session,” those limited portions of PCB meetings which are closed to the public because they entail discussion of matters that the board is legally required to protect from public disclosure.  Notably, the policy also provides a means for members of the public to seek redress if they believe PCB has failed to comply with its obligations under the District’s or PCB’s Open Meetings policy.     

PCB believes that instituting an agency-specific Open Meetings policy will encourage greater public participation in the board’s proceedings and will improve OPC’s citizen complaint process.

“Having a defined Open Meetings policy will provide for greater transparency of our agency,” said Philip K. Eure, OPC’s executive director. “It will also allow the public to share concerns about police-community relations in the District which, over time, should lead to greater police accountability.”

To view a full copy of PCB’s report and new Open Meetings policy, click on the link below: