Aaron Zisser

Chief of Staff

Community Police Review Agency

Aaron Zisser joined CPRA after the reporting period, in February 2021. Mr. Zisser has spent nearly his entire career in civil rights and police oversight. Mr. Zisser previously worked as an Assistant District Attorney in the Independent Investigations Bureau (“IIB”) of the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, where he investigated officer-involved shootings and in-custody deaths.

Prior to his work in San Francisco, Mr. Zisser was the Independent Police Auditor in San Jose, where he led the independent civilian oversight agency tasked with reviewing San Jose Police Department’s Internal Affairs investigations of citizen complaints alleging officer misconduct. In that role, he reported to the Mayor and City Council; organized large town halls in the community, including one that was held at a shelter and that focused on encounters between the police and the unhoused population; made policy recommendations on police interaction with the mental health community and police response to domestic violence; and appealed Internal Affairs findings to the Chief of Police and City Manager.

Prior to working in San Jose, Mr. Zisser lived in Oakland and worked as an independent consultant on jail and police reform, independent civilian oversight, and civil rights investigations. He advised an independent commission reviewing the Santa Clara County jails, BART’s Independent Police Auditor, the California Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Section, and San Francisco’s Department of Police Accountability (formerly the Office of Citizen Complaints), and he was on the federal court monitoring team for the Illinois state prisons. His recommendations contributed to the expansion or establishment of independent civilian oversight in other jurisdictions. While living in Oakland, Mr. Zisser served on the City of Oakland’s Commission on Persons with Disabilities.

Following a clerkship with a federal judge in Memphis and a human rights fellowship in Washington, DC, Mr. Zisser started his legal career as a civil rights attorney, including more than five years at the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, where conducted “pattern or practice” investigations and compliance monitoring of correctional agencies, state psychiatric facilities, statewide mental health systems, and educational institutions. His cases at US DOJ addressed excessive use of force, solitary confinement, mental health treatment, the school-to-prison pipeline for students of color and students with disabilities, and sexual abuse.

Mr. Zisser earned his B.A. at UC Berkeley and his law degree from Georgetown University Law Center.

Email Address: azisser@oaklandca.gov