A Victory for Police Reform


In July 2020, in response to nationwide calls for police reform, the Council of the District of Columbia enacted the Comprehensive Policing and Justice Reform Second Emergency Amendment Act of 2020. This Act included a provision that prevents the Metropolitan Police Department’s (MPD) union and the District from including officer disciplinary matters in future collective-bargaining agreements. This will ensure that MPD management can impose appropriate discipline on officers who violate MPD policy or the law.

In response to this legislation’s passage, the union filed suit against the District of Columbia. The Office of the Attorney General (OAG), which defends the District in court, successfully had the case dismissed this November.

This victory ensures greater accountability for law enforcement by putting disciplinary power in the hands of the MPD management. It ensures that officers who violate MPD policy or the law are not shielded from discipline due to contract provisions that are not in the public interest.

OAG was proud to support the Council in its efforts to increase police accountability and views this win as an important step towards a more equitable and just criminal justice system. This victory is also affirmation that officers who violate the public’s trust can and should be held accountable.

Though the Comprehensive Policing and Justice Reform Second Emergency Amendment Act of 2020 has since expired, additional temporary legislation mirroring this measure that was upheld by the court has been enacted by the Council and transmitted to Congress, and permanent legislation is currently under review by the Council.