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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Community Forum at Youth UpRising
On Thursday May 16, the Office of the Independent Police Auditor and the Citizen Review Board held their latest event in a series of community forums throughout the Bay Area. We were very pleased to partner with, and be hosted by, Youth UpRising (YU) for this forum. YU is an organization in the heart of East Oakland dedicated to community transformation powered by the leadership of youth: www.youthuprising.org
We focused this event more heavily than past ones on a responsive discussion with our attendees, and we could not have been more pleased by the engaging questions, comments, and suggestions we heard from those in attendance. It remains crucial for both OIPA and the CRB to listen carefully to members of the public on matters of interest involving the BART Police Department, and we really appreciated the intelligent dialogue that took place at this event. You can download a flyer about the forum here: OIPA_CRB_YU Community Forum
We look forward to more great discussions at future events, and we hope you will stay tuned for news about our next forum. In the meantime, here are a few photos from the event at YU:
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.
On May 13, 2013, OIPA presented the following recommendation to the Citizen Review Board:
OIPA Policy Recommendation for BPD Policy 450 - Use of Video and Audio Recorders
Independent Police Auditor: Mark P. Smith
Independent Police Investigator: Kobia D. West
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 (.pdf)
Download the Office of the Independent Police Auditor’s Complaint Form (.pdf)
Download the Office of the Independent Police Auditor's Informational Brochure (.pdf)