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Close Encounters November 2021

November 1, 2021

There are times when this column just writes itself. Take, for instance, the memo prepared by Sergeant Jarrod Yee complimenting those members of the Department who have no problem taking that extra step to ensure the safety of the public.

These officers volunteered to serve as liaisons with the California Office of Traffic Safety conducting multiple DUI Checkpoints held at locations with a history of documented collisions. They also served in the same capacity during holidays:

Officer Anna Cuthbertson, Officer Joshua McFall, Officer Marisa Chung, Officer Crispin Jones, Officer Chris Mansfield and Officer Ryan Buckley were members of this specialized unit which participated in over 234 traffic stops, making 25 driving under the influence arrests, issuing over 111 citations as well as dealing with 90 plus incidents involving suspended licenses.

These officers have completed supplemental DUI training to further their professional knowledge and careers with 65 years of combined law enforcement experience with 3 of the 6 officers serving in other jurisdictions prior to joining the SFPD.

And, while DUI related investigations were their primary focus, these officers have also uncovered other criminal activity during the Checkpoints and Saturations, resulting in arrests for outstanding warrants, hit/run causing death, identity theft, weapons violations, probation violations and the transportation of large quantities of narcotics.

The memo prepared and submitted by Sergeant Jarrod Yee covered these outstanding accomplishments and he recommended that the officers be commended for their outstanding dedication.

Nothing wrong with that. We believe it’s exactly why former Commissioners initiated a Police Commission Commendation.

We’re not exactly sure of the status of the Sergeant’s request for recognizing the officers involved but we’ll check on it next month.


And here’s another one we couldn’t pass up!!

On 8/03/21, Officer Trent Collins was at SF General Hospital when a victim arrived at the Emergency Room reporting he had been shot. Officer Collins was at SFGH on an unrelated case but assisted Bayview officers until the scene was under control.

Sergeant Benzinger, Night Investigations Unit, arrived and took over the investigation. Ultimately the suspect and his vehicle were identified. It was believed the shooting stemmed from a “road-rage” incident where the suspect fired a gun at the victim, striking him as he was driving. A BOLO was distributed to SFPD members with a vehicle description and license plate.

The next day Officer Collins was working an overtime assignment in the Bayview District when he observed the suspect’s wanted vehicle drive by. He initiated a high-risk traffic stop detaining the driver. Sergeant Benzinger was contacted and the suspect was soon thereafter charged with several felonies to include attempted murder.

But that’s just the beginning . . . in 2019 Officer Collins located a murder suspect fleeing the scene of a homicide which resulted in a vehicle pursuit into Oakland where Officer Collins took the suspect into custody.

And, in 2020 Officer Collins arrested a suspect for vehicular manslaughter along with firearm violations, hit and run causing death, as well as DUI causing death.

Officer Collins deserves to be commended for his outstanding work on a broader scale than this column. Sergeant Jarrod Yee started that ball rolling. Let’s see how far we can get before the nomination gets side-tracked.


Once again, we find ourselves approaching the Season of Sharing with Thanksgiving right around the corner. As such, we’d like to take the time to thank all the people who made Close Encounters possible this past year starting off with President Tony Montoya who allows us the privilege of preparing the article for The Journal in conjunction with Ray Shine, the Managing Editor who simply does an amazing job month after month.

And then there’s the Office Manager, Cyndee Bates, a tremendous help in production as well as Leah Daye of the office staff.

Kudos also go to Mike Hebel, who is not only one of the gatekeepers of our pension system but he also represents members of our Department who have sustained serious injuries while working and makes sure that they receive the medical attention they deserve.

And we wouldn’t be thanking anyone if it wasn’t for Michael Popoff, the Advertising Coordinator, who does an outstanding job of salesmanship throughout the year.

And a very special recognition goes to Georgette Petropoulos who is “totally hands-on” each edition in charge of Layout and Production. She has always been blessed with a saintly disposition while having to “gently prod” her writers into timely submissions.

We are also indebted to Lieutenant Tracy McCray, Val Kirwan, Paul Chignell, Kevin Martin and Sergeant Jarrod Yee for their associate contributions.


And finally, a shout-out to my better half, my wife, Barbara, for keeping me on track with the continuation of this column dedicating it to the men and women officers of the SFPD who risk their lives 24/7!

But most of all we need to thank each-and-every one of you.

We know that the heroic exploits you confront day-after-day, putting your life at risk to help others, definitely takes a toll. Make sure to try and maintain a balance between your job at work and your family at home.