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Police Complaints Board Proposes Business Cards for Officers

Monday, July 24, 2006

(Washington, DC) The Police Complaints Board (PCB), the governing body of the Office of Police Complaints (OPC), submitted a recommendation to Mayor Anthony A. Williams, the Council of the District of Columbia, and Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Chief Charles H. Ramsey urging MPD to provide business cards to each of its officers. 

In April 2005, a new law took effect in the District of Columbia requiring that MPD officers clearly display their nameplates and badges while in uniform.  This change to the law was in addition to other Departmental policies that require officers to identify themselves in different situations.  The new law also expanded the jurisdiction of OPC to include the authority to investigate and resolve police complaints alleging that officers failed to wear or display required identification or identify themselves by name and badge number when requested to do so by a member of the public. 

Since the new law was passed, OPC has received complaints alleging that officers have refused to identify themselves when asked, were not wearing their nameplate or badge, or attempted to identify themselves, but the information was not successfully conveyed to the person who asked.

PCB recommends that MPD provide business cards to each of its officers to assist officers with identifying themselves as required by law and MPD general orders and to further the goals of community policing.

“We believe that giving business cards to officers is an easy way to help them carry out their work,” said Philip K. Eure, OPC executive director.  “We also believe that it will help officers develop relationships with the public that will allow citizens to ask questions, provide information to officers, and report crimes.”

PCB issued its report and recommendations pursuant to its statutory obligation to, where appropriate, make recommendations to the Mayor, the Council, and the Chief of Police concerning those elements of management of the MPD affecting the incidence of police misconduct, such as the recruitment, training, evaluation, discipline, and supervision of police officers.

PCB's report and recommendations are available online:
Business Cards for MPD Officers
For additional information or questions regarding the report and recommendations, please contact OPC's public affairs specialist, Melanie Deggins, at (202) 727-3838.