Summary of Memorandum of Agreement Between the United States Department of Justice and the District of Columbia and the District of
Columbia Metropolitan Police Department
Read the Agreement
Read the Letter of Findings
Summary of Memorandum of Agreement between
the United States Department of Justice and the District of
Columbia and the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department (MPD)
The Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) addresses the following matters: policy requirements
and limitations on the use of force by officers, including the use of firearms, ASP batons,
Oleoresin Capsicum spray, canines and physical force; procedures regarding the reporting and
documentation of use of force; procedures to ensure thorough investigation of all uses of force;
procedures for receiving, investigating, and resolving misconduct complaints; supervisory
measures to reduce use of force and promote police integrity; training; public reporting by MPD
about its use of force incidents, investigations and outcome; and the establishment of an
independent monitor to review and analyze implementation of the MOA by MPD and the
District of Columbia.
The MOA includes the following specific provisions:
- Use of Force Policy Requirements: MPD officers may not use any
degree of force that is more than is objectively reasonable. MPD will complete
development of a Use of Force Policy addressing both lethal and non-lethal
use of force that complies with applicable law and current professional standards.
With respect to its Canine Unit, MPD will continue to retrain its canines
in the "find and bark" methodology, which minimizes unjustified bites because
the canines will be trained to bark, rather than bite upon locating a suspect.
The Use of Force Policy will emphasize the goal of de-escalation and will
encourage officers to use advisements, warnings, and verbal persuasion when
appropriate. Also, the Policy will define and describe the types of force
and the circumstances under which use of such force is appropriate. The Policy
also will advise that the use of excessive force will subject officer to discipline
and possible criminal prosecution and/or civil liability.
- Use of Force Documentation and Supervisory Review: MPD will require
officers to notify their supervisors immediately following any use of force
or receipt of an allegation of excessive use of force. Supervisors will then
respond to the scene and will ensure that the officer documents the use of
force. In every incident involving a serious use of force, a specialized use
of force investigatory team will be notified and will conduct the investigation.
All investigations will be conducted in a timely manner by qualified investigators.
Supervisors regularly will review MPD use of force reports to ensure that
officers are employing appropriate amounts of force and are engaging in de-escalation
techniques. Where concerns arise, supervisors may require that an officer
be counseled, receive additional training, or that some other non-disciplinary
action be taken. Supervisors also can refer specific incidents for further
investigation, where appropriate.
- Supervisory Review of Patterns of Conduct: MPD will develop and
implement an early warning system, called the "Personnel Performance Management
System," that uses computerized information on use of force incidents, misconduct
investigations, and other matters to assist MPD supervisors to identify and
modify potentially problematic behavior. At least quarterly, MPD supervisors
will conduct reviews and analyses of computerized data and other information,
including data on uses of force, weapons used, and type of law enforcement
activity. These reviews and analyses, as appropriate, may result in supervisors
implementing changes in training, policies and practices, implementing non-disciplinary
interventions for particular officers (such as supervisory counseling or additional
training), and/or requiring further assessment or investigation.
- Misconduct Allegations: MPD will implement a variety of changes
in its procedures for receiving, investigating, and resolving misconduct allegations.
MPD will develop a plan to coordinate activities with the new Office of Citizen
Complaint Review. MPD will make complaint forms and informational materials
available at a variety of locations and will institute a 24-hour toll-free
telephone hotline for persons to call to make a complaint regarding officer
conduct. MPD also will institute procedures for ensuring that MPD is notified
of criminal cases and civil lawsuits involving the conduct of officers on-duty
and, as appropriate, off-duty as well, so that consideration may be given
to whether an officer's conduct warrants disciplinary action. Allegations
of excessive force involving a serious use of force, unlawful searches and
stops, and other significant misconduct allegations will be investigated by
the Office of Professional Responsibility. All investigations will be properly
documented. Disciplinary and non-disciplinary supervisory steps will be taken
in a timely manner.
- Training: MPD will implement measures to improve training for
recruits and current officers. The training will address such matters as critical
thinking and decision making skills to reduce the use of force and ensure
officer safety, compliance with Fourth Amendment and other constitutional
requirements and MPD policy on use of force, safe gun handling procedures
and supervisory issues. MPD will also take steps to improve its field training
program for new officers.
- MPD Public Reports: MPD will issue quarterly public reports containing
aggregate statistics of MPD use of force incidents broken down by districts
covering each of the geographic areas of the City, indicating race/ethnicity
of the subject of force, the weapon used and the enforcement actions taken
in connection with the use of force. The report shall include statistical
information regarding use of force investigations conducted, including the
outcome. Also, the report shall include the total number of complaints of
excessive force received and the resolution.
- Independent Monitor: An Independent Monitor will be selected by
the Justice Department, MPD and the District of Columbia to review and report
on MPD's implementation of, and assist with MPD's compliance with the MOA.
The responsibilities of the Monitor will include evaluating use of force reports
and investigations; analyzing data concerning uses of force and any actions
taken by MPD to address deficiencies; assessing supervisory reviews of use
of force incidents, misconduct investigations and supervisors' use of the
Personnel Performance Management System, and the use of non-disciplinary procedures
to address at-risk conduct.
- MOA Term: The basic term of the MOA will be five years, based
on MPD and the District of Columbia's substantial compliance with each of
the provisions of the MOA and maintaining such compliance for at least two