GLAA addresses refusal by police to provide complaint forms
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GLAA on Public Safety

GLAA addresses refusal by police districts to provide complaint forms on request; Evans, MPD respond

Date: Thursday, January 09, 2003 4:20 PM
From: Bob Summersgill
To: Charles Ramsey
Cc: Anthony Williams; Sandy Allen; Sharon Ambrose; Harold Brazil; David Catania; Kevin Chavous; Linda Cropp; Jack Evans; Adrian Fenty; Jim Graham; Phil Mendelson; Vincent Orange; Kathy Patterson; Carol Schwartz; Stephe Snell; Philip Eure;
Subject: Police stations still refusing to give out PD99 forms

Chief Ramsey-

We have spoken at length about the policy to make PD99 forms available at all police stations, at all times, without questions to whomever requests one.

I had thought that this issue was resolved, but obviously there are some officers who simply do not understand the policy. I strongly request that you make this policy unmistakably clear to all of your officers and to Sgt. Hill, Lt. Harvey and Commander Thomas McGuire of the First District in particular.

The very lack of the availablity of the forms gives the citizens the distinct impression that the police are all bad. We of course know this not to be even remotely true, but the police officers are often their own worst enemy.

I would appreciate your speedy attention to this incident and I would like to know how it is being resolved.

Thank you.

-Bob Summersgill

Stephe Snell describes police refusal to provide complaint form

Date: Thu, 09 Jan 2003 15:58:36 -0500
From: Stephe Snell
To: Bob Summersgill
Subject: Police stations still refusing to give out PD99 forms

Further development on my trying to obtain a citizens complaint form....

January 9, 2003
Around 1:00 p.m. - I went down to the First District to obtain a citizen complaint form. I approached the desk and Sgt. Hill came forward. I asked for a citizen complaint form. She asked what it was in reference to. I replied that it was in reference to filing a complaint. She asked against whom. I said, "Sgt. Hill." Wide eyed she then said, "I'm Sgt. Hill." I said, "I know." She asked me what the complaint was. I indicated that I wanted to file a complaint about the fact that when I came in yesterday she would not give me a complaint form. (Note that I answered all of her questions.) She then indicated that they just don't give citizen complaint forms to anybody. She said she needed to know the nature of the complaint about which I wanted to complain yesterday. I said that was immaterial to my request now. There was some back and forth wherein she finally said I needed to get that form from an official. I said, "Aren't you an official?" to which she didn't answer. She turned and picked up the phone. I asked her if I was being ignored? (since she didn't explain what she was going to do.) She said she was calling someone. I gave her all the information she needed. She refused and then said that the complaint was about her and I'd have to speak to someone else she was calling. She told me to wait for Lt. Harvey, I believe his name was. He appeared and I asked him for a complaint form. He asked me who the complaint was against. I indicated that it was against Sgt. Hill. He asked the nature of the complaint. I explained that I was in yesterday and Sgt. Hill would not give me a complaint form. He asked the nature of the complaint I wanted the form for yesterday. I explained that I did not think that was material to my complaint now. He said you can't do that and I indicated I could do anything I wanted. He explained it was against policy to just give out a complaint form on request and that that was the policy. I indicated that that was not what I understood according to Chief Ramsey. No effect and he kept arguing with me. I told him I gave him what he needed but he still refused to give me a complaint form. I told him I gave him all the information he requested and he should give me the form, I could then file it and the proper police authorities could then determine if my complaint was valid... all to no avail. After several minutes of back and forth he told me to sit down which I refused, given his tone of voice which I felt was becoming threatening. I simply turned around and left. By now I was getting very very nervous and didn't want to carry this any further since he was getting exasperated and his tone was rising... I didn't want to end up in jail over this. My point is almost no citizen would go to this extent to obtain a citizen complaint form. This demonstrates clearly and without any doubt the extent to which the DC Police will go to prevent citizens from filing complaints. You can't even get one if you answer their questions which brings this whole thing to a new level. They were determined not to give me a citizens complain form. Bad PR, bad customer service, bad community relation, bad attitude, and total arrogance.

Stephe Snell

Councilmember Jack Evans echoes GLAA's concern

Date: Thu, 9 Jan 2003 16:50:31 -0500
From: Evans, Jack (COUNCIL) (
To: Bob Summersgill, Ramsey, Charles (MPD) (
Subject: RE: Police stations still refusing to give out PD99 forms

Chief Ramsey ((and Bob)) -- I don't want to start a long chain of emails between all Councilmembers, so I am responding directly to you Chief Ramsey ((and Bob)) to strongly emphasize the importance of Bob's email re PD99 forms. I hope all officers are 100% clear as to critical need for these forms to always be available. Chief Ramsey and Bob, please let me know if I can be of any assistance with this -- otherwise, I will leave this in the capable hands of two most capable people. Bob, as always, thanks for staying on top of community issues. Jack

MPD Corporate Communications Director Kevin Morison responds

[Note: When GLAA Political Vice President Rick Rosendall received Bob Summersgill's email to Chief Charles Ramsey, he forwarded it to the members of the Community Police Task Force, on which he serves. He promptly received the following response from Kevin Morison, the Director of Corporate Communications at the Metropolitan Police Department.]

Date: Thursday, January 09, 2003 5:50 PM
From: Kevin Morison
To: Community Police Task Force
Cc: Stephe Snell; Charles Ramsey; Jack Evans;; Bob Summersgill
Subject: Community Police Task Force Meeting

Rick -

Thanks for copying the group on your message. While there may be certain instances in which individual officers may balk at giving out PD 99s to the public, I can assure you that the Department is committed to making it easy and convenient for individuals to initiate legitimate complaints.

In fact, the Department has just recently posted the PD 99 on our Website (, click on "Citizen Complaints"); residents can now complete this form on-line, print it, and mail or fax it to the Office of Professional Responsibility. (We don't accept complaints on-line, because we do require a signature.) In addition, our Website - and a news release issued this morning - detail the other ways in which individuals can now initiate a complaint, including phone call, letter, fax and e-mail (to

So while an officer refusing (or even hesitating) to give a citizen a PD 99 is certainly unacceptable, the good news is that citizens do not have to rely on officers in the district stations to initiate a complaint. There are many convenient ways for a complaint to be filed with either the MPD or the Office of Citizen Complaint Review.

Please share this information (and our Website) with your colleagues.

Kevin Morison
Director of Corporate Communications
Metropolitan Police Department

P.S. Chief Ramsey addressed the issue of this morning on his monthly appearance on WTOP radio. He announced that he has directed our Internal Affairs Division to obtain complaint system (CS) numbers on all matters posted to the Website where sufficient information is available to initiate a complaint.

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