Code of the District of Columbia

§ 5–1101. Findings.

The Council of the District of Columbia finds that:

(1) The District of Columbia delegated to the Metropolitan Police Department (“MPD”) the vital task of protecting the safety of persons and property in the District of Columbia. This task is difficult, dangerous, and sensitive.

(2) Most members of the MPD perform their duties with diligence, devotion, and sensitivity. From time to time, however, some members of the MPD do not act in accordance with the high standards of conduct that the people of the District of Columbia have a right to expect. On other occasions, honest misunderstandings arise between police officers and members of the public with whom they interact.

(3) Because police officers have been given extraordinary powers, it is essential that there be an effective and efficient system for reviewing their exercise of police powers. Further, it is essential that both police officers and members of the public have confidence that this system of review is fair and unbiased. Members of the public must be aware of this system and have easy access to its processes.

(4) The need for independent review of police activities is recognized across the nation. Effective independent review enhances communication and mutual understanding between the police and the community, reduces community tensions, deters police misconduct, and increases the public’s confidence in their police force.

(5) Some complaints against police officers involve serious charges requiring formal disciplinary proceedings. Many, though, can be resolved through conciliation, mediation, or other dispute resolution techniques. An effective and efficient review mechanism should encompass a variety of procedures for dealing with different complaints in an appropriate manner.