Office of the Alexandria Independent Policing Auditor
||Office Address:||123 N Pitt Street, Suite 225, Alexandria, VA 22314|
Key components of Alexandria Community Oversight of Law Enforcement
- Complaint, Commendation and Feedback Intake and Review
- APD Policy/Practices Review, Analysis and Recommendations
- Relationship Building
- Community Engagement
- Board Guidance
- Periodic Reporting
- Professional Development & Coverage
- Other Key Initiatives
The City of Alexandria's Office of the Independent Policing Auditor was first established in April 2021 pursuant to Alexandria City Code Art. 4, § 4-1-5 thru 4-1-6 as a mechanism with which to provide oversight and accountability of the Alexandria Police Department (APD). The City of Alexandria’s first Independent Policing Auditor commenced in December 2022. This office serves a proactive leader in law enforcement accountability of APD to the population it serves and is independent of APD. The City Council also voted unanimously to adopt an ordinance establishing the structure of a new Independent Community Policing Review Board, to be effective as of July 1, 2021 along with its authorizing state law.
To promote fair and equitable policing in the City of Alexandria through the promotion of law enforcement accountability, law enforcement transparency and enhancement of public safety, and ultimately, strengthen trust in the community.
History of Civilian Oversight
Civilian oversight of law enforcement in the US dates back to the Progressive Era due to concerns regarding the effect of corruption in policing at the federal, state and local levels. Many took the form of appointed commissions to review policing practices, and locally, some included the direct authority over their police departments. At times, there was political interference, which impacted the integrity of the appointed commissions.
The first assembly of citizens to receive complaints of misconduct against police officers date back to the 1920’s. The demand for citizen or community oversight first occurred in the 1940’s. Many of these early review procedures were short lived due to insufficient fiscal support, lack of resources and served as only venues to receive and review police complaints. Further development of community oversight was strongly influenced by the civil rights movement and the perception in many quarters that law enforcement responded to racial unrest with excessive force.
Community review revived in the early 1970s as urban African-Americans gained more political power and as more white political leaders came to see the need for improved police accountability. They were more successful because they had more powers and enhanced resources. There was then a momentum of increased oversight agencies, responsibilities and policies, which usually came into existence due to a high-profile cases of alleged police misconduct (usually a shooting or other physical force incident), often involving white officers and suspects of color. Racial or ethnic profiling and allegations of discrimination are often at the heart of movements to introduce community oversight.
By the early 2000s, community review became more widespread in the United States. Roles of community review of law enforcement have evolved in cities, counties and towns using a form or hybrid of recognized community oversight models. The models include review, investigation and auditor/monitor focused.
Is your office a part of the Alexandria Police Department?
No, AIPA works independent of the Alexandria Police Department and provides the community and the City leaders with objective, unbiased reporting on policing data and our offices activities and outcomes.
How can civilian oversight of law enforcement help the City of Alexandria?
See infographic .
Can your office assist me with a citation I received or with my court case?
Unfortunately, we cannot provide any legal advice or assistance. You should seek guidance from a licensed attorney.
Who can file a complaint?
Any member of the public can file a complaint. You do not need to be a City of Alexandria resident or a U.S. citizen to file a complaint.
How do I file a complaint?
By mail (Download the complaint form. Print and fill it out, providing as much of the requested information as you can. Mail it.) - 123 N Pitt Street, Suite 225, Alexandria, VA 22314
Can I file an anonymous complaint?
Yes, you can file an anonymous complaint; however, you must have first-hand knowledge of the incident, which means it must be an incident that you witnessed or were directly involved. Please note, should you choose to be anonymous, we will not be able to contact you with potential follow-up questions or provide you any information about the case. If you would like for our office to follow up with you, please be sure to provide your first and last name, phone number, and/or email or mailing address.
How do I commend Alexandria Police Department personnel?
To provide feedback or thank a specific Alexandria Police Department employee, complete a Commendation Form or contact us.
How is your office involved with the Alexandria community?
Part of our mission is to update the community about our work; this includes how to file a complaint and collaborate with the community regarding policing in the City of Alexandria. Also, office representatives create programming, events and attend existing community events. If you are interested in having the Office of the Alexandria Independent Policing Auditor (AIPA) meet with your community group or organization, please contact us.
Submission of Report or Comment
- Complaint - The Office of the Independent Policing Auditor welcomes any concerns you may have concerning APD personnel.
- Commendation - The Office of the Independent Policing Auditor welcomes your compliments of APD personnel. Once received, we will also share with APD.
- Comment - The Office of the Alexandria Independent Policing Auditor is interested in hearing from community members about the office the Independent Community Policing Review Board or APD. The office is the designated community oversight agency empowered to act fairly and impartially, ensuring greater accountability of and public trust in Alexandria law enforcement. Policing must be fair and consistent, and independent community oversight is imperative to achieve effective procedural justice in our community. We value your feedback.
- National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (NACOLE)
- Virginia's Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement Legislation, adopted July 1, 2021
- National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives Report of the Reimagining Public Safety Task Force
- Video: Get Home Safely: 10 Rules of Survival
- “The Evolution and Growth of Civilian Oversight: Key Principles and Practices for Effectiveness and Sustainability” and “Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement: Report on the State of the Field and Effective Oversight Practices" (NACOLE, 2021)
- “Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement: A Review of the Strengths and Weaknesses of Various Models,” “Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement: Assessing the Evidence,” and “Guidebook for the Implementation for New or Revitalized Police Oversight" (NACOLE, 201)
- Final Report of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing (May 2015)
If you or your community or business group would like to learn more about civilian oversight of law enforcement in the City of Alexandria, we invite you to contact our organization. We are available to speak on a variety of topics at your next meeting, including, but not limited to: Overview of Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement; History: Life Before and Life Since Creation of Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement in Alexandria; Complaint and Investigations Process; and Other Related Topics. We welcome the opportunity to share more information about our office or the board as well as collaborate with the community more regarding positive enhancement of policing in Alexandria. To schedule a speaker, contact us.