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Close Encounters August 2021

August 1, 2021

We can understand how our Police Commissioners may not be entirely familiar with all of the Department Personnel Orders all of the time but we are strongly urging these appointed officials to check the most recent ones that have been issued. For example, Personnel Order No. 15 issued on 7/07/21.


Because by examining this document the Police Commissioners would realize that they just lost 45 officers to retirement while another 5 officers were recently benched because of serious injuries they sustained on the job.

Officers are leaving. Many have already left and there are far more getting ready to go.

But maybe the Commissioners aren’t that worried about filling the vacancies since they have an Academy Class already in session.

But let’s face it, the Academy is close to 7 months long and once finished with that hurdle the cadets will then undergo 14 more weeks of an intensive Field Training program that they’ll have to successfully complete before they get any car keys to help out with the shortage.

And this will all be taking place while the retirement clock is still ticking.

And, something else for consideration is the fact that there are many officers already signed up for the retirement seminars scheduled for September, December, and January.

The overall math is concerning to say the least but it looks like there will be a number of officers leaving the SFPD in the next year or so . And, if that is the case it won’t be the first time we’ve experienced the “binge hiring” process which, in this case, would actually expand the opportunity for career SFPD officers to continue to make the job their career.

But for now, the work goes on.

Dispatch was asking for units to respond to a ‘shots fired’ call taking place in a vacant field in the Bayview in the middle of the night. Taking the lead was Officer Nadia Mohamed, Officer John Norment, Officer Jason Kozy, Officer Yaroslav Shablinskiy, Officer Bret Grennell, and Officer Omar Vaquerano. And it’s fortunate there were 6 of them responding because the 2 suspects they detained while trying to drive away were armed with some very powerful weapons. One of the rifles confiscated had been modified to fire as a fully-automatic machine gun! 

And if that isn’t dangerous enough how about facing off with an individual who is standing in the front window of a second-story home while holding his wife hostage with a butcher knife at her throat threatening to kill her?

Fortunately, the call was covered by Officer Natalie Villatoro and Officer Jerry Harper, who were both trained in Critical Interventions and who managed to employ de-escalation tactics.

But even with this background the situation was getting worse by the minute until Officer Eric Roberts and Officer Raymond Zuroski forced entry to a lower door and managed to disarm the suspect without further injury to anyone.

Police Service Aide, Nadia Ortiz, who is assigned to Bayview Station was commended in this article a short time back for recognizing an outstanding suspect wanted for brandishing a weapon at a muni bus driver. The suspect had just walked into Bayview Station to make a report when Nadia noticed the likeness of the individual wanted on a posted BOLO in the station’s front office and alerted the officers working with her. The subject was taken into custody and booked.

This time Sergeant Kroos of the Special Victims Unit/Financial Crimes section distributed a BOLO for 2 suspects with felony warrants. Through a year-long investigation, Sergeant Kroos obtained an arrest warrant for grand theft and elder abuse related to fraud.

A mere 30 minutes later one of the suspects entered the lobby of Bayview Station complaining that she was receiving scam phone calls from someone pretending to be the police. Unbeknownst to the suspect, the alleged “scam artist” was Seregeant Kroos calling her to advise her of the outstanding warrant and encourage her surrender.

PSA Ortiz immediately recognized the woman from the BOLO posted, notified another officer and the suspect was finally taken into custody.

Another commendation, very well deserved, was prepared for PSA Ortiz by her commanding officer and it probably won’t be the last. 

Officer Steven Filippi and Officer Ray Biagini responded to a call of a stabbing in the Bayview but when they arrived they determined through witness statements and physical evidence that the victim had been set-up to be violently attacked including having his vehicle stolen.

The officers did manage to get a name of a suspect from the victim and the officers were able to track that individual down due to a trail of blood leading from the scene. The suspect was eventually located and taken to SFGH for a reverse cold show which was positive – case closed!

Probably one of the best cases, as far as investigations are concerned, that we have ever seen involved the shooting of Spanish-speaking immigrant who was simply collecting cans to supplement the income for his family. The case was assigned to Sergeant Ryan Hart.

Lieutenant Thomas Maguire submitted a request for a Meritorious Conduct Award for the Sergeant based on the following:

“Sergeant Hart collaborated on a complex and exhaustive investigation to identify, arrest, and successfully charge the suspect involved in a violent shooting. Sergeant Hart took a case that began with an unknown motive, an unknown location, and with no witnesses. He did his job diligently as he worked tirelessly to solve a case for a victim that comes from an underserved community.

“The amount of time invested by Sergeant Hart and the others involved in assisting with this investigation was time well-spent. The violent offender involved in this crime is now incarcerated and many future acts of violence have been averted.”

A job well-done!