Our Core Principles
To help guide the development of Open Police Complaints (OPC), we've identified six interrelated principles. If applied, they form a foundation for a just and effective police complaints model.
Each one of the 18,000 police departments in the U.S. collects complaints in its own unique way. This poor data consistency creates huge headaches for researchers. To gain better insight into police behavior across the country, we're helping to establish national police complaint data standards.
We strive to be fair and neutral in the way we collect and share data. We cannot check the accuracy of complaint allegations, so we never assume that they are true or false. We only present questions and response options that are non-leading. And we always encourage users to share information that’s accurate and truthful.
The people who report misconduct should be at the center of the police oversight process. Filing a complaint is not the end of the road for OPC users. We keep in touch because we care about how well — or how poorly — your department responds to your complaint. Your story is too important to be ignored!
Police encounters can be chaotic, and the law is complex. That’s why people who report misconduct often miss important things or pick allegations that aren’t quite right. OPC helps you find and organize the details that matter most. We also know the law inside and out, so we'll make sure your allegations match the facts of your story.
How we stack up against most police departments
There are about 18,000 police departments in the United States. Each one collects, stores, and shares its civilian complaints data in its own way. While some try to provide an open and transparent process — most departments fail to deliver.