On February 25, 2005, the Office of Police Complaints (OPC) hosted a delegation of nine criminal justice professionals from Uzbekistan that included judges, prosecutors, lawyers, defense attorneys, and government investigators. OPC staff met with the group as part of a training program sponsored by the US Department of Justice (DOJ). A representative of the US Embassy in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, also participated in the OPC session.
OPC Executive Director Philip Eure, Deputy Director Thomas Sharp, Chief Investigator Clifford Stoddard, Assistant Chief Investigator Kesha Taylor, and Public Affairs Specialist Melanie Deggins presented information to the Uzbek delegation on the role of the District's police accountability office and the importance of similar agencies throughout the United States.
OPC's presentation included an explanation of how the agency investigates, mediates, and adjudicates police misconduct complaints, and also emphasized the significance of its community outreach program in educating the public about police accountability and OPC's services.
DOJ organized the Uzbek delegation's training program, entitled "US-Uzbek Exchange: Balancing Law Enforcement Priorities and Human Rights Guarantees," through its Office of Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training (OPDAT). During their weeklong visit to the United States, the Uzbeks planned to meet with American counterparts in Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico, as well as with law enforcement officials, legislators, academics, human rights activists, and representatives of non-governmental organizations.
The training program is part of an ongoing effort by the United States to improve the legal and judicial systems in Uzbekistan and other emerging democracies through exposure to American legal practices and international norms.
Uzbekistan, which was part of the former Soviet Union, established its independence on September 1, 1991. The country, slightly larger than the state of California, has a population of 26 million.