(Washington, DC) The Office of Police Complaints (OPC) and its governing body, the Police Complaint Board (PCB), today issued their Fiscal Year 2005 Annual Report. The report details the agency's work from October 1, 2004, through September 30, 2005, and includes statistics about the complaints received by the agency, as well as information regarding the agency's accomplishments.
Over the course of the year, 674 people contacted OPC to inquire about filing a complaint. The agency received 326 complaints, and closed 368, making fiscal year 2005 the second year in a row that the agency closed more complaints than it received. The increase in the number of closed complaints was driven by a 27% increase in the number of complaints resolved by OPC through adjudication, dismissal, or successful mediation.
Seventeen complaints were adjudicated during the year and 13 of the complaints had allegations that were sustained. All of the sustained decisions were forwarded to MPD, and MPD has taken steps to impose discipline for each one, continuing OPC's unbroken record of not having the Chief of Police return any of the decisions for reconsideration.
The agency's number of open complaints was lower at the end of the year for the second year in a row, decreasing by an additional 13%. The decrease occurred despite the fact that the agency received 64 more complaints in fiscal year 2005, and was driven by OPC's greater efficiency and productivity and the effect of the new investigators added to OPC's staff.
PCB issued four detailed reports and sets of recommendations to the Mayor, the Council, and MPD's Chief of Police over the course of the year addressing the handling of minors in the care of arrested persons, publication of MPD orders on the Internet, pretextual stops of bicyclists, and property damage caused by District of Columbia police action. The reports discussed PCB's examination of these issues and the recommendations included changes designed to reduce the occurrence of police misconduct in the future.
Under the First Amendment Rights and Police Standards Act of 2004, which granted PCB the authority to monitor and evaluate MPD's handling of First Amendment assemblies held in the District of Columbia, OPC monitored MPD's handling of the antiwar and anti-globalization protests that occurred in Washington in September 2005.
"Between the increased number of complaints that were closed, issuing four detailed proposals for police reform, and the new protest monitoring duties we undertook, the agency had a very productive year," said Philip K. Eure, OPC's executive director. "These efforts have allowed us to be a positive force for better policing in Washington, DC."
To see a copy of the report and its appendices, select the links below: