Independent Police Auditor

The Palo Alto Police Department has had an Independent Police Auditor (IPA) since 2006.  The IPA is an independent, third-party contractor (currently the OIR Group) who conducts audits of investigations of complaints by members of the public; internal affairs investigations; all use of force investigations where a baton, chemical agent, TASER, less-lethal projectile, canine or firearm is used; and any other use of force investigation where a subject’s injuries require treatment beyond minor medical care in the field.  The IPA’s audits are designed to ensure that the Department’s investigations are conducted thoroughly and objectively.   You are welcome to review the IPA's contract(PDF, 767KB), including its full scope of services as revised in July 2021(PDF, 367KB).

In 2021, following many discussions through ad hoc committees and Policy and Services discussions, the City Council expanded the IPA scope and included several components that were previously reported in summary form in a supplemental cover memo. As of June 2021, the IPA’s scope includes the following for future IPA review and reports:
  • Incidents where an officer uses a TASER, baton, chemical agent, less-lethal projectile, canine, firearm, or any other force, resulting in an injury requiring treatment beyond minor medical care in the field;
  • The Police Department’s handling of Supervisory Inquiry Reports (formerly called Informal Inquiry Reports) (complaints that are sufficiently investigated and resolved through expedited review); and,
  • Review of City investigations of uniformed officers arising from employee complaints of discrimination, harassment or retaliation by a uniformed officer.

After reviewing these administrative reports and any associated police reports and evidence, the IPA generates its own report, which includes recommendations to the Chief of Police regarding further investigation, processes, and dispositions.  That report is provided to the City Council and published as a public document for our community to review.  No other police department in the region has this degree of transparency with their internal investigations.

View Independent Police Auditor Reports

Here are links to every Independent Police Auditor report dating back to the IPA's inception in 2006, in reverse chronological order.