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Police Complaints Board Recommends Uniformity in Categorizing Citizen Complaint Allegations

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

(Washington, DC) The Police Complaints Board (PCB), the governing body of the Office of Police Complaints (OPC), submitted a report 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 recommending that the two police departments adopt the categories and subcategories used by OPC to classify police misconduct complaints filed by the public. 

Residents of and visitors to Washington have more than one option available to them as to where they can file a complaint against an MPD or DCHAPD officer.  The law allows a citizen to file a complaint directly with MPD or DCHAPD that will be investigated by the department, or to file a complaint with OPC that will be investigated and resolved by OPC, which has its own investigative staff and is independent of both police departments. 

At present, the three different agencies do not have a uniform system of categorizing the complaints they receive from the public.  After looking at this issue, PCB believes that a measure of uniformity is appropriate across the various agencies that will help advance the larger purpose of the District’s police accountability system, which is to increase public confidence in the police and promote positive community-police interactions.

The Board expects that the use of this system will allow all of the agencies to better track, analyze, and report on trends that occur in complaints. 

“We hope that MPD and DCHAPD will join us in adopting a uniform set of categories for tracking the citizen complaints received by each agency,” said Philip K. Eure, OPC’s executive director.  “We think the new system will enhance our agency’s work overall, and give us the opportunity to be even more proactive in identifying and responding to overall trends in the universe of citizen complaints.”

For a copy of the PCB's full report and recommendation, click on the link below: