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Police Complaints Board Urges Creation of Program to Improve Police-Community Relations

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

(Washington, DC) The Police Complaints Board (PCB), the governing body of the Office of Police Complaints (OPC), today submitted a report and recommendations 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 proposing the enactment of legislation that would give OPC the authority to refer some citizen complaints to a new program that will speed up their resolution.

Designed to improve communication between the police and the public, the Community Policing Rapid Response (CPRR) program would allow some less serious citizen complaints evidencing the citizen’s misunderstanding of police department policies to be referred to and handled by MPD and DCHAPD supervisors. 

Under the program, the police department supervisor would speak directly with the citizen and the officer identified as the subject of the complaint to determine and resolve the problem.  OPC would then be tasked with following up to ensure that the police department addressed the citizen’s complaint in a timely and appropriate manner.

Under OPC’s current authority, the agency has been resolving citizen complaints by either investigating or mediating them.

“The Community Policing Rapid Resolution program will provide OPC with another tool in the agency’s toolbox that could be used to resolve some citizen complaints,” said Philip K. Eure, OPC’s executive director. “The program will increase citizen satisfaction with the complaint-handling process and improve police-community relations.”

In order to take effect, the District Council would have to authorize the program through legislation.  Similar programs have been successfully implemented in Boise, Idaho, and in Portland, Oregon, in recent years.

For additional information or to view a full copy of the PCB’s report and recommendations, please click on the link below: