Office of the Independent Police Auditor (OIPA)



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How to File a Complaint: 

If you’re a victim of, or a witness to, misconduct by the BART Police Department and would like to file a complaint, please call (510) 874-7477. You may also fill out a complaint form  – see below. Although a form is not required to initiate a complaint, a completed form will contain much information that is needed to conduct a thorough investigation.

If you’re calling to make a complaint regarding BART District Personnel (non-police), please click here. To contact the BART Police Department, please click here for their contact information.

Complaint Form
Download a complaint form, fill it out and mail, fax or email it to us, or you may fill out an online complaint form. Our contact information is listed below.

Complaint Process | OIPA Informational Brochure
Read our informational brochure  to find out what happens after you file a complaint.

You may also file a complaint with the BART Police Citizen Review Board by making a public comment at one of their meetings. Or you can file a complaint with the BART Police Department Office of Internal Affairs by calling (877) 679-7000 or by emailing ia@bart.gov


OIPA Contact Information:

BART Office of the Independent Police Auditor
300 Lakeside Drive, 14th Floor
Oakland, CA 94612
Mail: P.O. Box 12688, Oakland, CA 94612-2688
Phone: (510) 874-7477 | Fax: (510) 874-7475
Email: oipa@bart.gov  
Web:  www.bart.gov/policeaduitor 

OIPA Staff
Russell G. Bloom, Interim Independent Police Auditor
Sarah Celso, Senior Administrative Analyst

Interpretive services are available by calling BART Language Assistance Services at (510) 464-6752.


Mission & Duties: 

Mission Statement
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.

Duties
As defined by the BART Citizen Oversight Model  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


OIPA Recommendations

OIPA 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 BART Police 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 BART Police 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 BART Police 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 BART Police 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 BART Police 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 BART Police 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 BART Police 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.  

On October 13, 2014, and in response to a request initiated by the BART Police Citizen Review Board, OIPA submitted a draft proposal for the creation of a new policy to address interactions between BART Police Department employees and individuals identifying as transgender. The draft proposal underwent a series of modifications over the next few months as the BART Police Citizen Review Board, the Professional Standards Bureau of the BART Police Department, as well as the BART Police Associations all collaborated with OIPA on the language. The final recommendation was submitted by OIPA to the BART Police Citizen Review Board, which voted to approve it. You can see the final recommendation here: Policy Recommendation – Interactions with Individuals Identifying as Transgender

On May 11, 2015 OIPA submitted a draft recommendation to the BART Police Citizen Review Board regarding BART Police Department Policy 1053 - Business Cards and Trading Cards. You can see the final recommendation issued by OIPA here: OIPA Recommendation for BPD Policy 1053 – Business Cards and Trading Cards


Monthly Reports
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016

Combined Monthly Reports
2015 Combined Monthly Reports
2014 Combined Monthly Reports
2013 Combined Monthly Reports
2012 Combined Monthly Reports
2011 Combined Monthly Reports

Annual Reports
2014-2015 Annual Report
2013-2014 Annual Report
2012-2013 Annual Report
2011-2012 Annual Report

 


Community Outreach
OIPA continuously seeks opportunities to meet with counties 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 all parts of the Bay Area are aware that they have access to our office in the case they feel they need to get in touch with us.

Photo taken at an OIPA Community Outreach Meeting

Educational Forums
One of the cornerstones of effective oversight of law enforcement is active community input and engagement. OIPA and the BART Police Citizen Review Board have hosted a series of informational forums. One such forum was designed to further OIPA’s goal of connecting with Bay Area youth. OIPA and the BART Police 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 great value in the dialogue that has taken place at every one of these events, and look forward to continuing our series at a new location in the near future.

If you’re interested in having OIPA speak to your organization, please call us at (510) 874-7477 or email oipa@bart.gov.
 

Here is list of organizations that we have connected with:

•    A Shot at Peace (ASAP)    
•    ACLU (Alameda County Paul Robeson & Northern California Chapters)
•    Alameda County Developmental Disabilities Planning & Advocacy
•    Alameda County Probation Department
•    Alameda County Public Defender
•    Alice B. Toklas Lesbian & Gay Democratic Club
•    Allen Temple Baptist Church
•    Bay Area Black Prosecutors Association
•    Berkeley School of Law
•    Block by Block
•    BMAGIC
•    BUILD
•    California State University, East Bay (Restorative Justice Class)
•    Center of Independent Living
•    Centerforce Youth Court
•    Chinatown Community Development
•    City of Pittsburg City Council
•    Community Works West
•    Contra Costa County Office of the Public Defender
•    East Oakland Youth Development Center (EOYDC)
•    Fremont High School Senior Exhibition Judge
•    Garfield GREAT Graduation, San Leandro
•    Huckleberry Youth Center
•    Irvington High School, Fremont
•    Jack and Jill of America
•    Kitayama GREAT Graduation, Union City
•    Koreatown Northgate Community Benefits District
•    Mission Cultural Center for Latin Arts
•    Mission San Jose High School
•    MLK Jr. Freedom Center
•    Mo’Magic
•    National Lawyers Guild
•    Newark Optimist Club
•    Neighborhood Crime Prevention Council (various OPD Beats)
•    Oakland California Youth Outreach
•    Oakland Citizens’ Review Board
•    Oakland Mayor's Commission on Persons with Disabilities
•    Oakland Youth Summit
•    Oscar Grant Foundation
•    OYPC Youth Forum (Alternatives in Action High School)
•    People United for a Better Life in Oakland (PUEBLO)
•    REACH Ashland Youth Center
•    Richmond Police Commission
•    Richmond Recreation Center
•    Safety 1st
•    San Jose Independent Police Auditor
•    San Francisco County Public Defender’s Office
•    San Francisco Main Library Community Forum
•    San Francisco Office of Citizen’s Complaints
•    San Francisco Unified School District / Student Advisory Council
•    San Francisco Youth Commission
•    San Francisco Youth Guidance Center
•    Stop the Violence
•    Unity Council
•    Youth Action Summit
•    Youth Alive!
•    Youth Uprising Community Forum


Resources

Download the BART Citizen Oversight Model

Links to oversight agency websites:
National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (NACOLE) 
Oakland Citizens’ Police Review Board 
Berkeley Police Review Commission 
San Jose Independent Police Auditor 

 


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)

What is the Office of the Independent Police Auditor (OIPA)?
Is OIPA part of the BART Police Department?
Is OIPA part of BART?
What is the relationship between OIPA and the BART Police Citizen Review Board?
How do I file a complaint?
What if I have a complaint about a BART employee who is not a police officer?
Do I need an officer’s name and/or badge number to file a complaint?
What will happen after I file a complaint?
How does OIPA monitor BPD Internal Affairs investigations?
What is “Mediation?”
Will a complainant ever find out whether there was discipline imposed on an officer?
What is the OIPA outreach program?



What is the Office of the Independent Police Auditor (OIPA)?
OIPA was formed by Assembly Bill 1586, signed by the Governor of California in 2010 to provide effective, independent oversight of the BART Police Department (BPD) by ensuring that internal police accountability systems function properly, that behavioral, procedural and policy deficiencies are identified and appropriately addressed, and that complaints are investigated through an objective and fair process. The operation of OIPA and the scope of its duties are defined by the BART Citizen Oversight Model  (Model). The Model also defines the role of the 11-member BART Police Citizen Review Board (BPCRB).

Is OIPA part of the BART Police Department?
The Model provides that OIPA shall, at all times, be totally independent. All investigations, findings, recommendations and requests made by OIPA reflect the views of OIPA alone. OIPA is, therefore, entirely independent of the BPD, but has been granted unfettered access to BPD reports and personnel records pursuant to the Model. 


Is OIPA part of BART?
OIPA is staffed by BART employees who report directly to the elected Board of Directors (Board). OIPA does not report to the BART General Manager or to the Chief of the BPD and, as discussed above, OIPA remains totally independent under the terms of the Model.


What is the relationship between OIPA and the BART Police Citizen Review Board?
OIPA provides staff support to the BPCRB and provides monthly reports to the BPCRB regarding complaints received, open cases, completed investigations, dispositions, and recommendations for corrective action, including discipline and dismissals. OIPA presents investigative findings and disciplinary recommendations to the BPCRB, who may agree or disagree with those findings and recommendations prior to submission of those findings and recommendations to the Chief of Police for appropriate action pursuant to the Model.

 
How do I file a complaint?
OIPA will accept complaints no matter how they are transmitted to our office. A complainant who feels they are a victim of on-duty misconduct, or who is the parent or guardian of such a victim may call, email, submit an online form, send a fax, walk into our office, or speak up at a BPCRB meeting. Complaints received by BART Customer Service or by the Board will be routed to our office. It is our goal to receive complaints no matter how the complainant prefers to communicate with us, and it is our policy to respond to every complainant within 24 hours of receipt. OIPA will also provide the services of an interpreter if necessary to receive a complaint from a member of the public.


What if I have a complaint about a BART employee who is not a police officer?
Our office only handles complaints about the alleged misconduct of BPD officers and employees. Complaints about any other aspect of the BART system or its employees should be directed to BART Customer Service.


Do I need an officer’s name and/or badge number to file a complaint?
While it may be helpful for investigators to have an officer’s identifying information, it is certainly not necessary to do so to file a complaint. Both OIPA and BPD Internal Affairs have resources available to use whatever information you are able to provide to help identify the officer or employee in question. To that end, it is helpful to have information regarding the location and time of day that an incident occurred.  


What will happen after I file a complaint?
OIPA will conduct an initial intake interview with most (virtually all) complainants in order to determine the appropriate action. OIPA is authorized to investigate all complaints and allegations of police officer misconduct regarding unnecessary or excessive use of force, use of deadly force, suspicious or wrongful deaths, racial profiling, and bias or harassment based on sexual orientation or gender identity. OIPA will determine whether the complaint falls into one of these categories, and all other complaints received by OIPA will be forwarded to BPD Internal Affairs for appropriate action. If the complaint involves one of the categories mentioned above, OIPA will undertake to complete a through and detailed investigation including interviewing all subject and witness officers, interviewing available civilian witnesses and BART employees, and reviewing all available video, audio, and documentary evidence before reaching a finding. OIPA will also provide regular updates to complainants regarding the progress of the investigation. 


How does OIPA monitor BPD Internal Affairs investigations?
If OIPA routes a complaint to BPD Internal Affairs, that process will be monitored by OIPA through completion. OIPA will review BPD complaint investigations to determine whether the investigations are complete, thorough, objective, and fair. OIPA may, at its discretion, monitor or require follow-up investigation into any citizen complaint or allegation that is handled by BPD.


What is “Mediation?”
Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution based on voluntary participation by all parties to a dispute, and it focuses on understanding, problem solving, and reconciliation rather than fact finding, determining guilt or innocence, and assigning responsibility. Mediation can often yield the optimal outcome of an incident involving alleged misconduct, both for the complainant and the involved employee.  It may be the most effective way for a complainant to feel that his or her concern was genuinely listened to, and it presents an opportunity for an employee to share his or her views about the incident that gave rise to the complaint in a non- interrogatory setting. By maximizing the chance that each party will listen to the other's point of view, mediation often makes it possible for both sides to gain a new understanding of each other and of why the interaction between them might have escalated into a conflict in the first place.


Will a complainant ever find out whether there was discipline imposed on an officer?
California state law strictly limits the information that can be made public in connection with the discipline of peace officers (see Penal Code §832.7). OIPA and the BPCRB discuss investigative findings and recommendations for discipline during confidential, closed meetings. OIPA does communicate to complainants the results of its investigations, and the specific allegations that were examined without divulging protected information including any identifying information about the subject officer or officers. 


What is the OIPA outreach program?
OIPA strives to inform people who live and work within the BART District about our office and the services we provide. To that end, OIPA staff endeavors to meet with students, educators, community-based organizations, advocacy groups, neighborhood councils, social clubs, and general BART ridership to generate awareness of our office as a resource.