GLAA urges restoration of cuts in Office of Police Complaints budget
GAY AND LESBIAN ACTIVISTS ALLIANCE OF WASHINGTON
for FY 2007
Fighting for Equal Rights Since 1971
P. O. Box 75265
Washington, D.C. 20013
April 19, 2006
The Honorable Phil Mendelson
Committee on the Judiciary
John A. Wilson Building
14th & Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20004
We are writing to support the FY 2007 budget request for the Office of Police Complaints, including the full restoration of the $127,000 in salary cuts officially proposed by the Williams Administration, though apparently in error.
As you know, GLAA worked very diligently with the ACLU and other community groups for legislation re-establishing what is now known as the Office of Police Complaints. The record the OPC has compiled in recent years under Executive Director Philip K. Eure has justified the high priority we placed on this agency’s mission. The OPC hired four more investigators thanks to a budget boost in FY 2005 and has put them to good use. The number of cases the OPC has been able to close has exceeded the number of new complaints filed for the past two years, facilitating speedy justice for both civilian complainants and accused officers.
Cutting OPC’s salary budget by $127,000 would force layoffs of three of those four new investigators, which would be even more irresponsible in light of the projected advance in the number of MPD officers on the streets. Case backlogs would inevitably soar, thereby demoralizing both the police force and those seeking redress of their grievances, a situation that effectively destroyed the effectiveness of OPC’s predecessor agency a decade ago.
In view of the increasing number of complaints, the rise in the number of officers on the street, and the burden of complying with a surge of FOIA requests, we endorse Mr. Eure’s request not just for a restoration of the unintended $127,000 cut in salary costs but also for additional budgetary and staffing support in FY 2007.
Thank you for your continued leadership. We look forward to presenting you with our Distinguished Service Award at our 35th Anniversary Reception tomorrow night.
Richard J. Rosendall
Vice President for Political Affairs
Cc: Councilmember Sharon Ambrose
Councilmember Kwame Brown
Councilmember David Catania
Councilmember Kathy Patterson
Philip K. Eure, Office of Police Complaints
Art Spitzer, ACLU/NCA