Code of the District of Columbia

Chapter 10A. Police and Firefighters Disciplinary Action Procedures.


Subchapter I. General.

§ 5–1031. Commencement of corrective or adverse action.

*NOTE: This section includes amendments by temporary legislation that will expire on July 16, 2021. To view the text of this section after the expiration of all emergency and temporary legislation affecting this section, click this link: Permanent Version.*

(a) Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, no corrective or adverse action against any sworn member or civilian employee of the Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department shall be commenced more than 90 days, not including Saturdays, Sundays, or legal holidays, after the date that the Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department knew or should have known of the act or occurrence allegedly constituting cause.

(a-1)(1) Except as provided in paragraph (1A) of this subsection and subsection (b) of this section, no corrective or adverse action against any sworn member or civilian employee of the Metropolitan Police Department shall be commenced more than 90 days, not including Saturdays, Sundays, or legal holidays, after the date that the Metropolitan Police Department had notice of the act or occurrence allegedly constituting cause.

(1A) If the act or occurrence allegedly constituting cause involves the serious use of force or indicates potential criminal conduct by a sworn member or civilian employee of the Metropolitan Police Department, the period for commencing a corrective or adverse action under this subsection shall be 180 days, not including Saturdays, Sundays, or legal holidays, after the date that the Metropolitan Police Department had notice of the act or occurrence allegedly constituting cause.

(2) For the purposes of paragraphs (1) and (1A) of this subsection, the Metropolitan Police Department has notice of the act or occurrence allegedly constituting cause on the date that the Metropolitan Police Department generates an internal investigation system tracking number for the act or occurrence.

(b) If the act or occurrence allegedly constituting cause is the subject of a criminal investigation by the Metropolitan Police Department or any law enforcement agency with jurisdiction within the United States, the Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, or the Office of the Attorney General, or is the subject of an investigation by the Office of the Inspector General, the Office of the District of Columbia Auditor, or the Office of Police Complaints, the 90-day or 180-day period, as applicable, for commencing a corrective or adverse action under subsection (a) or (a-1) of this section shall be tolled until the conclusion of the investigation.


(Sept. 30, 2004, D.C. Law 15-194, § 502, 51 DCR 9406; Mar. 7, 2015, D.C. Law 20-173, § 101, 61 DCR 12582; Dec. 3, 2020, D.C. Law 23-151, § 117, 67 DCR 9920.)

Effect of Amendments

The 2015 amendment by D.C. Law 20-173 deleted “or the Metropolitan Police Department” following “Medical Services Department” twice in (a); added (a-1); and rewrote (b).

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 117 of Comprehensive Policing and Justice Reform Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2020 (D.C. Act 23-437, Oct. 28, 2020, 67 DCR 12993).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 117 of Comprehensive Policing and Justice Reform Second Emergency Amendment Act of 2020 (D.C. Act 23-336, July 22, 2020, 67 DCR 9148).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 101 of the Metropolitan Police Department Commencement of Discipline and Command Staff Appointment Emergency Amendment Act of 2014 (D.C. Act 20-524, Dec. 18, 2014, 61 DCR 13112, 20 STAT 4438).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 days) amendment of this section, see § 117 of Comprehensive Policing and Justice Reform Second Temporary Amendment Act of 2020 (D.C. Law 23-151, Dec. 3, 2020, 67 DCR 9920).


§ 5–1032. Report on misconduct allegations and grievances.

The Chief of Police and the Fire Chief shall, not later than January 15 of each calendar year, beginning in 2006, deliver a report to the Mayor and the Council concerning misconduct and grievances filed by or against members of their respective departments. The report shall contain:

(1) The number of individuals, of all rank and services, investigated and disciplined for misconduct, categorized by the nature of the misconduct allegations, the nature of those misconduct allegations that are substantiated, and the discipline given for substantiated allegations; and

(2) The number of formal grievances filed by individuals, including complaints filed with each agency’s Equal Employment Opportunity Officer, categorized by the nature of the grievance filed and the nature of those grievances that are substantiated.


(Sept. 30, 2004, D.C. Law 15-194, § 503, 51 DCR 9406.)


Subchapter II. Firefighter Retirement While Under Disciplinary Investigation.

§ 5–1051. Definitions.

For the purposes of this subchapter, the term:

(1) “Chief” means the Chief of the Department.

(2) “Conditional retirement” means that a member has retired or resigned from the Department while under disciplinary investigation for serious misconduct.

(3) “Department” means the Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department.

(4) “Disciplinary investigation” means an official investigation by the Department, including the Office of Internal Affairs, of allegations of serious misconduct by a member of the Department.

(5) “Resign” means the voluntary separation of a member from the Department before the member’s pension rights have accrued and vested.

(6) “Retire” means the voluntary separation of a member from the Department after the member’s pension rights, retirement pay, or other benefits have accrued and vested as provided by federal or District of Columbia law or regulation.

(7) “Serious misconduct” means any felony violation of federal, local, or District of Columbia law, making a false statement under oath, falsifying official records or reports, using unnecessary force, gross dereliction of duty, perpetrating a felony or assisting a person to escape investigation or prosecution, using illegal controlled substances, or other violations as determined by the Chief by general order.


(Sept. 30, 2004, D.C. Law 15-194, § 511; as added Mar. 11, 2015, D.C. Law 20-236, § 2(b), 62 DCR 485.)


§ 5–1052. Completion of disciplinary investigations.

The Department shall complete a disciplinary investigation, including issuing findings pursuant to the general orders, of a member regardless of whether that member resigns or retires while under investigation.


(Sept. 30, 2004, D.C. Law 15-194, § 512; as added Mar. 11, 2015, D.C. Law 20-236, § 2(b), 62 DCR 485.)


§ 5–1053. Conditional retirement.

(a) If a member of the Department retires or resigns while under disciplinary investigation, that member shall be deemed to be in conditional retirement until the disciplinary investigation is completed and factual findings are made.

(b) A member who is in conditional retirement shall not be paid a pension or receive other accrued benefits of any kind, including salary, compensatory time, or accrued leave, during the pendency of the disciplinary investigation.

(c) The Department shall complete the disciplinary investigation of a member in conditional retirement within 25 days from the date that the member retired or resigned. If the Department has not completed the investigation 25 days from the date the member retired or resigned, the matter shall be deemed to be closed and the allegations of serious misconduct not sustained.

(d) If, at any time during a member’s conditional retirement, the Department finds that the allegations of serious misconduct are not sustained or are unfounded, the matter shall be deemed to be closed and the member’s pension rights and accrued benefits shall be paid retroactive to the date on which the member initially retired or resigned.

(e) If the Department sustains the allegations of serious misconduct, the disciplinary process shall proceed as if the member in conditional retirement continued to be a member of the Department. The member shall be accorded all rights to which he or she is entitled under federal and District of Columbia law and regulations, Department regulations, and any applicable labor agreement.

(f) If the Department ultimately determines that a member in conditional retirement should be subjected to discipline as provided by law and regulation, the member shall be subject to penalties in lieu of discipline, pursuant to § 5-1054.

(g) A member who retires or resigns from the Department without knowing that he or she was under disciplinary investigation for serious misconduct shall not be deemed to be in conditional retirement, but shall instead be provided the opportunity to continue employment with the Department during the pendency of the disciplinary investigation. Should the member decide to retire or resign after he or she has been informed of the disciplinary investigation, he or she shall be deemed to be in conditional retirement as provided in this section.


(Sept. 30, 2004, D.C. Law 15-194, § 513; as added Mar. 11, 2015, D.C. Law 20-236, § 2(b), 62 DCR 485.)


§ 5–1054. Penalties in lieu of discipline for members in conditional retirement.

(a) The Department shall set the level of discipline for a member in conditional retirement as if he or she continued to be a member of the Department.

(b) A member in conditional retirement who would have received suspension as discipline had he or she remained a member of the Department shall be assessed a penalty of not less than $100 and not greater than $5,000, depending on the length of suspension.

(c) If a member in conditional retirement would have been terminated from the Department as discipline for serious misconduct, the member shall be assessed a penalty of not less than $1,000 and not greater than $5,000 in the discretion of the Chief, pursuant to written standards developed by the Chief.


(Sept. 30, 2004, D.C. Law 15-194, § 514; as added Mar. 11, 2015, D.C. Law 20-236, § 2(b), 62 DCR 485.)


§ 5–1055. Payments of penalties and collection of debts.

Penalties assessed against a member in conditional retirement as provided in §  5-1054 shall be treated as a debt owed to the District of Columbia government, pursuant to § 1-629.03, and may be collected by the District of Columbia government, pursuant to § 1-629.04, or by any other means authorized by law.


(Sept. 30, 2004, D.C. Law 15-194, § 515; as added Mar. 11, 2015, D.C. Law 20-236, § 2(b), 62 DCR 485.)


§ 5–1056. Administrative review.

A member in conditional retirement may challenge the imposition of penalties imposed by §§  5-1054 and  5-1055 in an administrative proceeding before the District of Columbia Office of Employee Appeals, pursuant to subchapter I of Chapter 5 of Title 2 [§ 2-501 et seq.].


(Sept. 30, 2004, D.C. Law 15-194, § 516; as added Mar. 11, 2015, D.C. Law 20-236, § 2(b), 62 DCR 485.)


§ 5–1057. Applicability.

This subchapter shall apply upon adoption of regulations by the Chief to implement the provisions of this chapter. The Chief shall adopt such regulations within 60 days after March 11, 2015.


(Sept. 30, 2004, D.C. Law 15-194, § 517; as added Mar. 11, 2015, D.C. Law 20-236, § 2(b), 62 DCR 485.)