Rosendall presents award to D.C. Office of Police Complaints

Distinguished Service Award to D.C. Office of Police Complaints

Presented by GLAA Vice President for Political Affairs Richard J. Rosendall

GLAA 37th Anniversary Reception
Washington Plaza Hotel
Thursday, April 17, 2008

The D.C. Office of Police Complaints opened in 2001. OPC and its governing body, the Police Complaints Board, were created after extensive advocacy by the NAACP DC Police Task Force, a coalition that included the ACLU, NAACP, National Black Police Association, and GLAA. OPC is independent of the Metropolitan Police Department and the D.C. Housing Authority Police Department. Its mission is to investigate and resolve police misconduct complaints filed by the public against officers from those departments. 

Under the leadership of Executive Director Phil Eure, OPC seeks to employ the best practices of citizen oversight of law enforcement, with the goal of improving public confidence in the police. In 2007, OPC completed the most investigations, and adjudicated and mediated the most complaints of any year since it opened. OPC has issued detailed policy recommendations, including a report on its monitoring of MPD’s handling of several protests in Washington last spring, and conducted a variety of community outreach activities. Independent oversight is a key to holding our public servants accountable. Phil Eure and his staff have shown patience, persistence, thoroughness and scrupulousness in pursuing their mission.

OPC’s governing board, led by our old friend and colleague Kurt Vorndran, has made numerous proposals for police reform that have been implemented by MPD. Among the most recent are: “Drivers and Cellular Telephones:  Increasing Public Awareness of District Law;” “Medical Treatment for Arrestees;” “Addressing Biased Policing in Washington, DC: Next Steps;” and “Police Service to Disabled Persons Who Use Service Animals.” These results reflect an indispensable spirit of cooperation.

To its difficult work OPC has brought expertise, integrity, and a commitment to fairness for all—not just those who file complaints, but those against whom they are filed, and the wider community from which both are drawn. What they are slowly building with this work is public trust—not mere sloganeering about it, but the real, hard-won variety.

It is my privilege to present GLAA’s Distinguished Service Award to the D.C. Office of Police Complaints.