SFPD: We’re Hiring, Shuffling & Ignoring You… Please Send Money.

SFPD is hiring & shuffling: Capt. Ehrlich heads to Tac Squad, Fong brings in new female “Community” Capt. Bennet , plus scroll for details for potential applicants and those that just want to know more about what the hell is it they actually do:

In a continual game that is SFPD’s version of musical chairs meets Stratego, respected local Capt. John Ehrlich, a 27 year vet, moves into the Special Operations’ “Tac Squad” and Northern Station’s former Community Policing Lieutenant, Theresa “Teri” Barrett becomes the Park station’s new captain. An ironic shift perhaps since Chief Heather Fong has been reluctant to give so-called “community policing” much headway. Ehrlich also seemed content like most others in the dept. to hopefully let the “community policing” issue fade away before officers ever were forced to move around outside their bulletproof squad cars like any of us ordinary citizens must do.

This personnel shuffle seems yet another shift in the department that on one hand is derided as being insular, ineffective, and wishy washy and then on the other hand is accused of being insular, insensitive & overly aggressive.


I mean how could one not put their faith in an organization that issues glowing reports on it’s own recruits like
San Frasncisco Policec Academy to Gradtue 13 Lateral Officers” as seen in a press release link posted proudly on the SFPD website since September 21, 2007.

It’s never helped that the majority of SFPD officers don’t live in town, and for a long time many seemed to take gleeful pride in bullying those that do. Lately the embarrassing and stubborn refusal of the SFPD to get around to enacting basic community policing reforms has really strained community relations.

It’s simply ridiculous what we spend here per capita on policing, and the ultimately shoddy results we get for that $500 dollars a year per person. According to a recent editorial in the Chronicle SF spends $120 more per citizen than Chicago, and $180 more per citizen than Los Angeles does on police services. Yet from 1999 to 2005, unlike in those towns, arrests were down 35 percent, and homicides went up, up, up and not away. Especially troubling is the unsolved homicide rate, with less than 25% solved these days, a dramatic reduction since the 50% solved rate of the latter 1990’s under other leadership.

More ranting after the jump…

Crime solving is certainly a community issue, just ask Ross Mirkirimi, the guy who wrote that above mentioned editorial.

Ross is actually a graduate of the City’s Police Academy, and now the D-5 Supe.

He also was literally jogging near his home this past year when he flagged a squad car to help nab a shooting suspect in his district. Mirkirimi and community members had to literally beg Chief Fong to send officers to a troubled Western Addition project during the height of a bloody gang turf war last summer.

The SFPD had actually already termed the intersection “An emerging area of concern”

An SFPD document had already noted: “

Two homicides occurred in this area
related to gang and drug activity. Guns and drugs have been seized from gang
members who frequent this area. Parolees and other felons regularly associate with the
gang members at this location. Drug dealers use this area to make their deliveries


Mirkirimi and community members asked that Cops remain a “fixed presence” at Divisidero & Grove while things cooled down.

The cops said they were working on it. The cops claimed they had staffing issues or some other type of conflicts and just couldn’t do that. One top cop I heard, suggested it might be construed as a politically incorrect civil rights issue or something, then that a federally funded project was potentially out of the SFPD jurisdiction.

Ever try to ask a cop whose swinging a club at you, or choking the shit out of someone if he’s heard of politically correct civil rights?

Anyhow as a result of the SFPD’s failure to appear at “Friendship Village”, many believe there were more unnecessary shootings that could have been prevented.

————– To Protect & Lip Service ——————

Why is everyone in that Dept. playing a game of defeatist P.C lip service at tax payer expense?

Perhaps the saddest commentary on a city losing itself to “woe is me-ism” and “we just can’t seem to stem the tide” sort of pathetic excuses syndrome was our local government & law enforcement just throwing it’s hands in the air, and literally canceling the annual Halloween party.

Excuse Me? What’s next ?

What if Bevan & Gavin & Heather decide they don’t like election day crowds?

Do all the taxpayers have to stay at home then as well?

Instead of thousands of flirty revelers and the occasional drunk, we had an SFPD press release announcing a media parking area so cameras could see an insanely warlike posture from over a hundred of the city’s tac squad. You can’t blame the officers for all happily chewing up overtime pay while our local businesses, bars, pizza parlors & restaurants were shuttered on a potentially very busy night. Nice to know we are still footing the overtime bill anyway, party or no party.

Gary Delagnes the Marin resident who heads the SF POA must have been spitting up his steak dinner laughing about that one somewhere…

It’s hard to believe this defeatist anti-community attitude is coming out of the same famous party throwing city that Herb Caen had termed “the city that knows how”.

Still Gavin’s minions and bureaucrats like to send out notices telling business owners that SF’s government are “your partner”.

Only now in San Francisco, we literally are partners in “crime”, and in so much fear we have to shut down our underground public transit system and numerous businesses because 9 thugs started a brawl on Halloween a year prior?

Can we trust these well trained & well paid cops that managed to arrest none of the gun toting out of place idiots in a Castro crowd with hundreds of witnesses?

Now our expensive cops dictate public policy & business practices, yet can’t handle simple scheduled events like an annual party?

Does New Orleans cancel Mardi Gras?
Does New York cancel New Years Eve?
Does Las Vegas close down during a Tyson fight?

Northern Station literally sent out a recent “community” newsletter suggesting store owners remove all advertising from their windows because clear windows discourage robberies. Some cop who likely never sold a pack of gum, or ever earned anything but other people’s tax dollars is instructing local merchants that “clearing your windows makes your shop appear more personable.” What are they retail consultants now?

Then the cop adds ” If you feel you need the ads, post them on the walls inside your store. Weigh how effective they are against your personal safety. Which is more important? ”

I guess San Francisco police can no longer guarantee anyone business owners potential safety, and suggest we have to live in constant fear. Sorry folks, but merely scaring the community is not “Community Policing”

—————– Concerned Community Policing Works ————-

About the only neighborhood where I see consistently good policing is North Beach, and I mean during the daytime.

At night, the area can get obviously out of hand, with both the cops & the creeps stepping out of line, but in the daytime North Beach resembles all the characteristics that have it named one of the best neighborhoods in the U.S. I will have to give credit to not only the scenery and citizens, but also the police. Most cops working out of Central Station have decades under their belts, and it shows.

Brawlers, bums, annoying beggars and stupid shoplifters all swiftly learn to keep moving, and merchants & citizens alike praise the speedy reaction times from the Central substation and particularly it’s well known neighborly beat officer Mark Alvarez.

Alvarez is the type of old fashioned beat cop you do want to see every day, a guy who gives people his cell phone number for emergencies, and knows everyone. I mean literally everyone, from local nutcases hanging by a thread in sleazy hotels to millionaires that own some of the city’s finest properties, and he treats everyone with the same level of professional courtesy and respect. Whether yer some burning man refugee seeking to burn down Grace Cathedral, or a victim of a purse snatching, Alvarez will know exactly how to handle the situation. He’ s human, and not simply the ubiquitous kind of jerk with a badge you run into so often that can only bark commands like a dog.

While the rest of the SFPD struggles to find it’s way, Alvarez embodies the best qualities of an officer.

Sadly, SF has but one cool cat like Mark Alvarez on the force, and there seems to be an awful lot of scared barking dogs and angry chips on the shoulder types filling in the rank and file…

——– Erhlich heads over to the Tac Squad ———-

While the Northern Station and it’s numerous community groups adjust while going through a period of community transition, Ehrlich takes his experience elsewhere.

Like most “old school” cops , John Ehrlich himself seemed resistant to the community policing ideas proposed by many outside the department, and perhaps that is why he’s found a new home in the city’s most “old school” unit.

Ehrlich, a 27 year vet, moves over to the darkside of the Special Operations Group with the “tac squad” based out in HP. The “Tac Squad” has a long and colorful history, mostly bloody.

The feats of this fearsome “elite” unit are legend, with a reputation built battling the Black Panthers and Anti-War Activists in the 60’s & 70’s. Their legacy includes military style assaults on local housing projects, setting up fellow officers they didn’t agree with for fake busts, reportedly drinking in the ol’ HQ, and the general night sticking of anyone deemed a police problem including the infamous rupturing of the spleen of a well known grandma in 1988. United Farm Workers activist Dolores Huerta sued after the beating she received from a Tac Squad officer outside the St. Francis hotel, and won $825,000. In 1989, the same Tac Squad ran rampant through the Castro beating on Aids activists, and that resulted in another $250,000 settlement.

They’ve chilled out a bit over the years, but anyone present at the anti-war protests after the recent invasion of Iraq, or even the clearing of the streets after the North Beach bars close on weekends knows these fellas still know how to get their dander up.

It will be interesting to see if Ehrlich can steer those cowboys away from the trouble they tend to get into and into a more “community” centric SFPD tactical squad.

Ah, somehow I doubt it…

If you’d like to apply here’s the scoop:

The SFPD is continuously hiring qualified applicants. Applicants must be 21 years old, have a valid driver’s license, must be US citizens, must have a high School diploma or equivalent, and must not have been convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor which would prohibit possession of a firearm. The Accelerated Hiring Program began in February. DHR has begun an accelerated testing process where applicants must respond on the day of testing with a valid photo ID/DL. They will take the written exam, complete a personal history questionnaire and complete the job application on the same day. Testing will be at Bill Graham auditorium on Tuesdays April 17, May 5, June 19 at 8am. See for information http://www.sfgov.org/police

San Francisco Magazine had an interesting article by Bennet Cohen in November about Heather Fong’s battles within the SFPD. It’s linked here for those interested

PDF of SFPD’s supposed Community Policing Strategy White Paper

5 Comments so far

  1. Tironius (unregistered) on January 16th, 2008 @ 1:11 pm

    "Can we trust these well trained & well paid cops that managed to arrest none of the gun toting out of place idiots in a Castro crowd with hundreds of witnesses?"

    "Out of place" in this quotation means "black." Right? I mean, let’s say what you want to say. The Castro Halloween party is usually nothing but queers, save for the occasional "out of place" black. Right? And, how does a cop determine how "out of place" they are? And and, do you think the gun toting "out of placers" are just waving them around and shooting in the air, shouting "Look at me!"? The cops, if they were smart, *would* have just stopped, detained, and searched the "out of place" citizens, but then you would be screaming bloody murder over constitutional breaches in liberties.

    Get real.

  2. Lil Mike (unregistered) on January 16th, 2008 @ 5:33 pm

    Leave it to Emperor Tironius to further confuse the issue, and then level some misguided charge of racism.

    You, of all people, are the only one who brought that into it.

    I never implied that I knew the skin color of anyone involved in the Halloween gunplay in the Castro.

    Although if you wish to explore this, I am fairly certain the people involved were likely not wearing any sort of "costumes", nor would they likely have blended in with the festive nature, nor chipped in at the community donation stations by the barricades. That is basically what I meant by being out of place, people obviously not there to respectfully "participate" in anyway…

    I’m certain their demeanor & salient level of animosity alone would have made them obvious to any observer, whether they were green, blue or red.

    Although I was not at the shooting, a photo I just found printed alongside this article from 2006 entitled
    "Alleged gang member started altercation, then victim’s pal opened fire, police say" does now lead me to believe young African-American males were involved, so would that be racist to note that ?

    pic link: http://www.sfgate.com/c/pictures/2006/11/02/ba_castro_dsc0038.jpg

    story link:

    My main concern was public safety, and why with the presence of 600 paid & supposedly trained law enforcement officers onsite, why was not one suspect was arrested? Apparently Police had information that the brawl was between a dozen or so members of a "street gang" based in the Sunnydale housing projects and another group of kids from Lakeside.

    Hmmm… Is it really that hard for investigators to determine who to question to whittle down the list of suspects?

  3. Frumpy (unregistered) on January 16th, 2008 @ 6:21 pm

    Um, the Halloween party in the Castro has not been ‘mostly queer’ since before the Carter administration.

    Get down off the cross, Mary.

  4. Emperor Tironius (unregistered) on January 17th, 2008 @ 4:39 pm

    "’Alleged gang member started altercation, then victim’s pal opened fire, police say’ does now lead me to believe young African-American males were involved, so would that be racist to note that ?"

    No it wouldn’t. It would be a practical assumption. (Seriously.) Never said such assumptions shouldn’t be made, but rather the hypocrisy of this publication (whether including or excluding yourself) to imply others are racist for coming to the same conclusions. What I mean is, I once said in another comment to another story that the black neighborhoods are where the killins’ happen, and I was derided for such horribly racist thinking (though we all fucking know it is what it is.)

    So, a unified stance from this publication’s writers is needed. Can we assume gang activity as black behavior, or not? Or, maybe I’m being unfair, each writer has his or her own opinion on this site.

    So, the original point remains: You can’t blame the cops for not noting such subtle nuance in behavior to indicate who is out of place and who isn’t. What I’m saying is that if they did see "out of place people"–and again, I agree with what is being said between the lines–the cops cannot be blamed for letting them continue with what they are doing, that is until something bad happens, else their constitutional rights be violated, DESPITE common sense.

    So, to make myself clear… I would like for the cops to see a suspicious asshole and shake him down before he has a chance to pull out his Glock and wreak havoc, but lefty wingnuts would decry the breach in civil rights (and they would technically be right). Basically, people need to get off the cops’ backs and let them have latitude in how they do shit, and for politicians to stop tying their hands.

  5. anna (unregistered) on January 17th, 2008 @ 5:59 pm

    I feel like there’s a need for another opinion here, so I offer up a straw man:

    I had heard the issue with SFPD (from the Captain himself) was a retirement clause issue- offering early pension, which mean there was a huge loss of qualified cops as they all went for the 15-year earlier pension out. Then, as dot-com times happened 5-7 years of very low recruit numbers. This is happening in other districts, as wel. I think cost of living is a big issue in deciding to work on the police force. If you are thinking of joining- you usually have to (or heck, at least SHOULD) speak 2+ languages, your compensation is sub-par, and no, you will never get to own a house in the town you protect. Great options! I don’t blame them living outside of the city. If we offered a teacher/cop/nurse homebuying incentive, we would probably have a different kind of force.

    One cop I knew with the above qualifications ended up going federal because they paid better.

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