Best Watchdogs

Best: Children’s Rights
2nd Best: D.C. Office of Police Complaints
University Legal Services took top honors in this category last year for its advocacy on behalf of patients holed up inside St. Elizabeths, and this year, New York–based Children’s Rights takes the mantle for its work vetting the troubled Child and Family Services Agency and sparring with Attorney General Peter Nickles. Close behind is the Office of Police Complaints. For several years, the organization was out front lobbying D.C. police brass to change how its rank-and-file deal with mentally ill residents. In February, the OPC got a huge victory when the police department decided to train a core group of officers how to respond to incidents involving the mentally ill. The change followed the police shooting deaths of David Kerstetter, killed in his home in November, and Osman Abdullahi, killed in a group house, in late January.