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Police Complaints Board Works to Improve Police Accountability in the District

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

(Washington, DC) As the governing body of the Office of Police Complaints (OPC), the Police Complaints Board (PCB) has a distinct role in addressing police misconduct issues in Washington, DC.  Together, PCB and OPC form the District of Columbia’s independent police accountability agency. 

The Board takes an active role in the work of OPC, offering guidance on issues affecting OPC’s investigation, mediation, and adjudication of police misconduct complaints filed by the public against Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) and D.C. Housing Authority Police Department (DCHAPD) officers.  Pursuant to the statute that established the agency, PCB is also charged with reviewing the determinations of OPC’s executive director regarding the dismissal of complaints, and approving the pools of mediators and complaint examiners used by OPC to resolve complaints. 

Additionally, the PCB can make recommendations to the Mayor, the District Council, and the chief of police where appropriate, regarding changes to policies that may decrease the incidence of police misconduct.  The Board also has been empowered to monitor and evaluate MPD’s handling of protests and demonstrations held in the District of Columbia. 

In the past year, PCB issued four detailed reports and sets of recommendations to the Mayor, the Council, and MPD’s Chief of Police addressing the handling of minors in the care of arrested persons, publication of MPD orders on the Internet, pretextual stops of bicyclist, and property damage caused by District of Columbia police action.  The reports discussed PCB’s examination of these issues and the recommendations included changes designed to reduce the occurrence of police misconduct in the future.

PCB is composed of five members, four of whom must have no current affiliation with any law enforcement agency, while the fifth member must be a sworn employee of MPD.  All Board members must be residents of the District of Columbia, and they serve staggered three-year terms without compensation.  The Mayor nominates members to the Board, who must then be confirmed by the District Council.  For more information about the PCB and its members, please select the link below:

For additional information or questions regarding the Police Complaints Board, please contact OPC’s public affairs specialist, Melanie Deggins, at (202) 727-3838.