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Police Complaints Board and Office of Police Complaints Issue Fiscal Year 2008 Annual Report

Friday, May 29, 2009

(Washington, DC) The Office of Police Complaints (OPC) and its governing body, the Police Complaints Board (PCB), issued their fiscal year 2008 Annual Report this week.  The agency took in the most complaints and mediated the most complaints in its history.

The agency received 600 complaints from the public against officers of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) and the D.C. Housing Authority Police Department (DCHAPD), reflecting a 36.4% increase over the year before.

The agency prepared 336 investigative reports and conducted over 800 police officer and citizen interviews.  In addition, 11 complaints were adjudicated and nine of them had allegations that were sustained and forwarded to the Chief of Police for discipline.

“The record number of complaints filed with our agency kept us very busy during the year,” said Philip K. Eure, OPC’s executive director. “But we were able to manage our caseload effectively and carry out our other duties in a way that furthered police accountability in Washington, D.C.” 

In addition, for the first time, the annual report provides data on 65 complaint allegation subcategories, reflecting an effort to provide more meaningful information regarding the six statutorily-defined categories of citizen complaints. 

For example, under the general category of unnecessary or excessive force, there are now 20 subcategories that cover the myriad of ways that officers use force, including striking someone with the hand, forcefully pushing a citizen to the ground, and directing a police dog to attack a person.   

The purpose of reporting data for these subcategories is to capture more detail about the types of complaints that people make in order for OPC to better track, analyze, and report on trends that occur in complaints.

The agency also conducted a record high number of 29 successful mediations.  From OPC’s inception in January 2001 through the end of fiscal year 2008, the agency has mediated 208 complaints, with an overall success rate of 75%. 

In addition to investigating and resolving individual complaints of police misconduct, the agency released four reports and sets of recommendations for police reform.  One of these policy recommendations would allow the agency to monitor the handling of citizen complaints filed with and resolved by MPD and DCHAPD.  A bill to implement this proposal was introduced earlier this year by three District council members.

Beyond investigating complaints and the issuance of policy recommendations, the agency successfully conducted a variety of community outreach efforts in neighborhoods all over the city.

To view a full copy of PCB's 2008 Annual Report, click on the links below: