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Police Complaints Board Proposes Monitoring of Citizen Complaints Investigated by MPD and DCHAPD

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

(Washington, DC) The Police Complaints Board (PCB), the governing body of the Office of Police Complaints (OPC), submitted a report and accompanying recommendations today to Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, the Council of the District of Columbia, Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Chief Cathy L. Lanier, and D.C. Housing Authority Police Department (DCHAPD) Chief William L. Pittman urging the enactment of legislation allowing OPC to monitor and publicly report on citizen complaints that are investigated by MPD and DCHAPD.

District law allows an individual to file a police misconduct complaint directly with MPD or DCHAPD that will be investigated by the relevant department, or to file a complaint with OPC that will be independently investigated by OPC.  Each year, OPC issues an annual report detailing the volume, types, and outcomes of citizen complaints that are filed with and resolved by OPC.  Currently, MPD and DCHAPD do not provide the public with similar information.

If OPC is allowed to monitor the universe of police misconduct allegations investigated by MPD and DCHAPD, OPC will be able to publicly report statistics on citizen complaints that are resolved by the two police departments, as well as the discipline that is imposed by them.  In addition, data collected from MPD, DCHAPD, and OPC will allow OPC to better track, analyze, and report on trends that occur in complaints, leading to more meaningful policy recommendations, which aim to improve police services and police-community relations.

“Allowing our agency to monitor and report on citizen complaints investigated by the city’s two police forces, MPD and DCHAPD, will provide the public with a clearer picture of the nature of police misconduct in Washington,” said Philip K. Eure, OPC’s executive director.  “This greater transparency will lead to more targeted police reform in the future.”

In order for this monitoring proposal to be implemented, the District Council would need to pass legislation authorizing it.  Similar police monitoring systems already exist in Denver, Los Angeles County, and San Jose, among other jurisdictions.

For a copy of the PCB's full report and recommendations, select  the link below:

Monitoring Citizen Complaints that are Investigated by the Metropolitan Police Department and the D.C. Housing Authority Police Department