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Close Encounters March 2020

March 1, 2020

One of the most interesting things about police work is that sooner or later you realize that you’re all in this thing together.

“This thing” is the daily routine of handling calls for service and, occasionally, those frantic seconds when you’re requesting back-up. And when you call for that emergency assistance you don’t really care who comes to stand side-by-side with you, you just want someone there.

And that is why this job is so unique because a great deal of it requires your trust in your fellow officers to be there when you need them.

And this trust carries over to the politics of the job as well.

We noticed how, during the recent POA election, there were a few contentious issues which each camp highlighted in their bid for office. The presentations were left for the members to decide, as it should be, but now the votes are in so both sides should move ahead.

But moving ahead is going to be a lot more difficult with the current politics at certain government levels. President Montoya is going to have to deal with a Police Commission as well as a Board of Supervisors who don’t exactly see eye-to-eye with the members. So it’s not going to be an easy job to accomplish. Nevertheless, President Montoya has accepted this task so he’ll definitely need your support.

We think that Tony’s job for the near future was best described by Tracy McCray, SFPOA Vice President, in her recent comments to the Journal: “Our strength in this day and age Is our show of force through the sheer number of members who stand up! I am not laying down for anyone. If they are looking for a fight, then they are going to get one. One they won’t see coming. 2020 is just the beginning so buckle up, it’s going to be one helluva ride for the next 3 years!”

We couldn’t have said it better . . .


For whatever reason, the 5 individuals pushing a disabled vehicle along 19th Street near Alabama in the Mission had just, minutes earlier, brandished a gun and threatened to shoot an individual in the area. The victim of the threats flagged down Sergeant Jeff Aloise, Officer Michael Mayo, and Officer Vincent Masalang who were driving by and pointed the suspects out to them. The officers immediately caught up with the suspects and went to detain them when one of the individuals carrying a large backpack took off running.


Sergeant Aloise wasted no time following while Officer Mayo and Officer Masalang detained the other 4 individuals. The suspect ran through a construction site that was patrolled by Mr. Miguel Cendejas, a security guard, and when Cendejas saw what was happening he tackled the suspect trying to escape. Turns out that the suspect was in possession of a fully-loaded, .38 revolver with speed loaders and a .45 semi-automatic Glock that was equipped with an extended 26 round magazine both located in the backpack he was carrying.

 Might be nice to honor Mr. Cendejas at the next POA Board meeting . . . just saying.


And it was only a few days earlier that Officer Vincent Masalang was working with Officer Patrick Cummins when they received a call regarding a person armed with a gun outside a residence on the 600 block of Hampshire who was trying to kill the reporting party and her family. The officers arrived and confronted a person who matched the description of the suspect at which time she turned and ran into the back of an unlocked but enclosed U-Haul truck. The officers managed to convince her to come out and took her into custody. A search of the U-Haul turned up a loaded gun stuck under the cushion of a couch inside.



Again in the Mission and Officer William Ma and Officer Taariq Shaheed end up responding to a report of a domestic violence assault that occurred at 24th and Orange Alley. The officers were taking a report from the victim when they saw the suspect walking nearby. The officers went to detain him at which time he engaged with Officer Ma, physically resisting Officer Ma’s attempt to control him by trying to cut Officer Ma with an open box cutter he was brandishing. The officers were finally able to place the suspect under arrest.


The suspect later admitted to the officers that he was trying to get them to shoot him because he didn’t want to go back to prison. (Somebody should probably tell him about the new District Attorney’s policy alleviating the need to get shot to stay out of jail.)

Sergeant Alexander Lentz submitted a request for a medal of valor, which, under the circumstances, should be an easy confirmation for the Police Commission . . . we’ll see.


And it was just as active in the Central District. Officer Tim Scott, Officer Kaitlin Christ, Officer Andrew Juarez, Officer Sammie Byrd, and Officer Rudy Paredes were on patrol in the area of Hallidie Plaza when they were approached by an individual who said he was just robbed at gunpoint. He then pointed out the 2 suspects involved who were 2-3 blocks away. The officers then coordinated a perimeter lockdown in order to apprehend the armed felons and it worked but not before Officer Scott and Officer Paredes had to physically take down one of the suspects who was running from them trying to escape. As it turned out the fleeing suspect did have a loaded gun in his backpack.


The victim made a positive identification and related how he was just standing near a BART entrance when the 2 suspects approached him and one of them pulled out a gun and threatened to kill him if he didn’t turn his property over to them. The victim complied and was still visibly shaken by the encounter even after the suspects were in custody.

It’s a scenario that, unfortunately, happens too often in The City. And, as traumatized as the victims are, the stress also takes a huge toll on the officers who had to chase the suspects not knowing whether or not the felons were going to use their gun against them. And there is no way to measure that trauma but it does add up over time.


And, we just located one of the better arrests that had slipped through our files but which definitely falls in the CE category:


The suspect that was moving a whole lot of marijuana from one coast to the other was reported to Officer Michael Tursi who then utilized the assistance of Officer Anthony Scafani, Officer Michael Montero, Officer Christina Hayes, Officer Michael Cunnie, and Officer Britt Elmore to build a case. The result was that an individual who was already on probation with a search condition was taken into custody while carrying $10,000 of US currency and a pound of marijuana and had an additional $244,000 in cash and another pound of marijuana hidden at his residence.


Here’s another CE incident that was overlooked:


Sergeant Tim Kiely was off-duty driving through San Bruno when he saw a marked San Bruno police vehicle stopped in an intersection with the driver’s side door open. Sergeant Kiely then saw an officer in uniform attempting to gain control over a woman who was violently resisting. Sgt. Kiely ran over to the officer, showed him his star while identifying himself, and then noticed the woman resisting was trying to reach the handle of a butcher knife protruding from her purse. Sergeant Kiely managed to assist in controlling the suspect just as other uniform patrol units arrived.

The uniforms might look a little different but the job is just the same and just as dangerous and, thanks to Sergeant Tim Kiely, that officer went home that evening.

Stay safe.