Force Investigations Branch Mission and Organization
In January 1999, then-Chief of Police Charles H. Ramsey asked the Justice Department to review all aspects of use of force within the MPD. In June 2001, the MPD signed a historic Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Justice Department outlining a number of reforms in the use-of-force area. The Civil Rights and Force Investigation Section was created in July 2002. The section, one of only a few dedicated civil rights divisions established by a major municipal law enforcement agency, is located within MPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau. The section was established in order to group several key civil rights-related functions under a single command.
In April 2008, Mayor Adrian Fenty and Chief Cathy Lanier announced that the Department of Justice agreed to terminate its Memorandum of Agreement on use of force after nearly seven years. As a result, MPD is no longer subject to review by an Independent Monitor. However, the Force Investigations Branch continues to monitor use-of-force issues.
The creation of the Force Investigations Branch reflects the high priority that the MPD places on civil rights and police accountability. The realignment establishes clear responsibilities and ensures operational accountability in these areas.
The section's director reports to the inspector in charge of the Internal Affairs Division within the Internal Affairs Bureau. The Force Investigations Branch consists of the following units:
Force Investigation Team - I (FIT-I)
This unit is responsible for conducting criminal, criminal civil rights, and policy review investigations of all firearms discharges by members of the MPD (with the exception of discharges at animals and accidental discharges at the firearms range). FIT-I is also responsible for investigating all deaths of prisoners while in police custody, suicides of police officers where their service weapon is used, and firearms discharges by members of the DC Office of the Inspector General.
Force Investigation Team - II (FIT-II)
This unit is responsible for conducting criminal, criminal civil rights, and policy review investigations of all incidents of serious uses of force by members of the MPD (not involving firearms discharges). FIT-II investigates those uses of force that result in admittance to a hospital, broken bones, unconsciousness, disfigurement, excessive force, canine bites, and allegations of force-related criminal activity.
Use of Force Review Board (UFRB)
The Use of Force Review Board is responsible for reviewing MPD’s police use-of-force investigations and making determinations regarding adherence to department policy. The Force Investigations Branch administers the UFRB, and provides organizational support, logistical requirements, and statistical tracking for UFRB operations.