It is OIPA's mission to provide all members of the public with effective and independent oversight of the BART Police Department by conducting unbiased and thorough independent investigations and reviews of police department investigations, making policy recommendations to improve the performance of the police department, and maintaining continual communication with members of the public in the BART service area.
As defined by the BART Citizen Oversight Model (available below) adopted by the BART Board of Directors, OIPA is charged with a number of specific duties. Among them are the following:
- Accept complaints of misconduct against BART police officers
- Investigate complaints filed with this office that involve allegations of unnecessary or excessive use of force, racial profiling, sexual orientation bias, sexual harassment, the use of deadly force, and suspicious and wrongful deaths
- Review Internal Affairs investigations conducted by the BART Police Department, including those cases where the complainant has sought to appeal the findings issued by Internal Affairs
- Develop an alternative dispute resolution process for resolving some complaints
- Respond to the scene of officer-involved shooting incidents and monitor the ensuing BART Police Department investigation
- Develop recommendations to improve BART Police Department policies
- Maintain a regular program of community outreach
- Prepare annual reports for the public and the BART Board of Directors
How to File a Complaint
If you are a victim of, or a witness to, misconduct by the BART Police Department and would like to file a complaint with OIPA, you can do so by mailing, calling, faxing, emailing, or visiting the office. Contact information is listed below, and you can also download the OIPA Complaint Form. Although this form is not required to initiate a complaint, a completed form will contain much of the information that is needed to conduct a thorough investigation.
Also available for download is the OIPA Informational Brochure, which contains information about what happens after you file a complaint with OIPA.
You may also file a complaint with the BART Citizen Review Board by making a public comment at one of their meetings. Or you can file a complaint with the BART Police Department’s Office of Internal Affairs by calling (877) 679-7000 ext. 7029 or emailing email@example.com.
Interaction with the Bay Area Community
OIPA continuously seeks opportunities to meet with the countless civic groups, neighborhood councils, social clubs, and other community based organizations that help make the Bay Area such a vibrant place. We want to make sure that all parts of the Bay Area are aware that they have access to our office in case they feel the need to get in touch with us.
One of OIPA's most recent outreach events was a presentation to the Centerforce Youth Court (CYC) in Oakland. CYC engages all youth, especially those at risk of entering the juvenile justice system, in empowering experiences related to law and justice. We had a very informative question and answer session with the youth attorneys, bailiffs, and clerks after telling them a bit about what our office does, and we were impressed by their commitment to educating themselves through studying the law. OIPA will continue holding outreach events like this one throughout the Bay Area, and we encourage any organization that might like to hear from us to give us a call so we can schedule a presentation for your group.
Below are a couple of photos from our visit to CYC:
UPDATE: Independent Police Auditor Mark Smith was recently honored to be a guest judge at the CYC Youth Offender Program, where he presided as youth attorneys, clerks, bailiffs, and jury members conducted actual hearings regarding criminal offenses by youth defendants. Mr. Smith was very impressed with the substantive, yet supportive, sentencing options pursued within the program, ranging from letters of apology to anger management classes to positive self-expression workshops. These examples are additional evidence of the meaningful changes that the CYC program is making in the lives of young people in the Bay Area.
Educational Forum with Jack and Jill of America, Inc.
One of the cornerstones of effective oversight of law enforcement is active community input and engagement. OIPA and the BART Citizen Review Board have hosted a series of informational forums, the most recent of which was specifically designed to further OIPA's goal of conecting with Bay Area youth. OIPA and the BART Citizen Review Board were pleased to pair up with a great organization called Jack and Jill of America, Inc., which seeks to provide social, cultural, and educational opportunities for youth in order to foster their leadership potential. We have found great value in the dialogue that has taken place at every one of these events, and we look forward to continuing our series at a new location in the near future. Below is a flyer, as well as a few pictures from the event:
Recommendations on Procedures, Practices, and Training
One of OIPA's important responsibilities is to develop specific recommendations concerning General Orders and Directives, procedures, practices, and training of the BART Police Department. These recommendations have as their goal improved professionalism, safety, effectiveness, and accountability of BART Police Department employees. OIPA's recommendations are reviewed with the Chief of Police and presented to the Citizen Review Board for review and comment. Depending on the response received, OIPA may then make additional modifications to its recommendation prior to issuance.
On May 8, 2013 OIPA submitted a draft recommendation to the Citizen Review Board regarding BART Police Department Policy 450 - Use of Video and Audio Recorders. You can see the final recommendation issued by OIPA here:
OIPA Policy Recommendation for BPD Policy 450 - Use of Video and Audio Recorders
On September 30, 2013 OIPA submitted a draft recommendation to the Citizen Review Board regarding a portion of BART Police Department Policy 300 - Use of Force. You can see the final recommendation issued by OIPA here:
OIPA Recommendation for BPD Policy 300 - Use of Force
On December 31, 2013 OIPA submitted a draft recommendation to the Citizen Review Board regarding BART Police Department Policy 402 - Racial- or Bias-Based Profiling. You can see the final recommendation issued by OIPA here:
OIPA Recommendation for BPD Policy 402 - Racial- or Bias-Based Profiling
On March 27, 2014 OIPA submitted a draft recommendation to the Citizen Review Board regarding BART Police Department Policy 309 - Electronic Control Device - TASER. You can see the final recommendation issued by OIPA here:
OIPA Recommendation for BPD Policy 309 - Electronic Control Device - TASER
On June 30, 2014 OIPA submitted a draft recommendation to the Citizen Review Board regarding the implementation of new BART Police Department Policy 1021 - Complaint Mediation Program. This recommendation was the product of collaboration between OIPA, the Citizen Review Board, and the BART Police Associations (as required by the BART Citizen Oversight Model), as well as the BART Police Department. The final recommendation issued by OIPA attempted to account for the interests of each of these parties, and you can see it here:
OIPA Recommendation for BPD Policy 1021 - Complaint Mediation Program
Independent Police Auditor: Mark P. Smith
Independent Police Investigator: Vacant
Senior Administrative Analyst: Anita Grayson
San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART)
Office of the Independent Police Auditor
300 Lakeside Drive, 14th Floor
Oakland, CA 94612
mail: P.O. Box 12688, Oakland, CA 94604-2688
phone: (510) 874-7477
fax: (510) 874-7475
Interpretive services are available by calling BART Language Assistance Services at (510) 464-6752.
Download the BART Citizen Oversight Model
Download the Office of the Independent Police Auditor’s Complaint Form
Download the Office of the Independent Police Auditor's Informational Brochure