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Close Encounters September 2022

September 1, 2022

“To Protect and Serve” was the motto so proudly displayed on the vehicles the police officers in San Francisco used to drive. But it’s no longer relevant ever since the motto became more of a question rather than a goal. And that question, “To protect and serve who?” still lingers.
The felons, until recently, had a District Attorney who, in our judgment, acted like a Public Defender. So they were safe from being prosecuted.
That left the citizens and the cops with no back-up...
But the citizens have a cadre of police officers who, while short-staffed, are still the finest representatives of law and order. They are the best trained, and the most dedicated members of a time-honored profession even though they are doing more with less. Much more.
But what about the cops? They’re still wondering who’s protecting them . . . They have severe doubts about recent decisions members of the Police Commission have made that involve hands-on control of prisoners. The control of prisoners plays hand-in-hand with complaints filed against the officers. Even rookie cops have figured that out.
Why, instead, hasn’t the Police Commission negotiated some type of a centralized booking procedure to minimize the officer-to-arrestee exposure?
And, if the Police Commission wants to make changes, then fine. But let’s play fair. They need to test the changes they want to make before they make them.
Let’s have them spend a little time pushing a black and white on a shift.
They could do a tour with Officer Alejandro Meza and Officer Gonee Sepulveda. These 2 officers were assigned to Mission Station when they were dispatched to handle a call of a person with a gun. The subject in question was surrounded by several other people so the officers had to be extra cautious. They soon managed to isolate the individual described and noticed that he had the handle of a gun extending from his right front pants pocket.
The subject was immediately placed under arrest and the handgun removed from his possession.
But thank God he was given the choice to either sit on the curb or take a ready position just waiting to take off. If he had not been given the chance to, our interpretation, “escape”, then OCC would have been on that like a dog without a bone.
Later, when the officers had a chance to check out the weapon they recovered from this individual they found that it was fully-loaded with one round already chambered and that the carrier was a felon with prior convictions

A similar case involved the same type of call “a man with a gun” was received by Dispatch from callers visiting Pier 39, a heavily populated location for tourists. The suspect had accidentally dropped his weapon and that was why officers were called to the area. Officer Majeski, Officer Sabella, Officer Sylvester, Officer Dito, Officer Bareneche, and Officer Tang responded and initiated a coordinated search for the armed individual.
These officers had to be extremely cautious in the manner they approached the suspect so as not to place anyone else in danger.
They managed to locate him just as he was meeting 2 other individuals. The group being followed by the officers suddenly engaged in a fight with each other, with one of them now in need of medical care.
The subject who was originally armed was then taken into custody and relieved of the weapon he was carrying, a loaded and unregistered ghost gun.
It would have been great to have one of the Police Commissioners present at either incident so they could see just how well (or not) their ideas would have worked under the given circumstances.
Or how about one of the Commissioners taking a ride with Sergeant Brandon McKelley who was working as a night shift street supervisor when he noticed a license plate that came back to a Mercedes instead of the Volvo it was on. Brandon initiated a traffic stop to investigate and Officer Hallisy and Officer Gardner backed him up. It was a good thing they did. Turned out the driver of the car in question was on active probation with a search condition, and had no driver’s license issued.
But he did have, in close access, a fully-loaded, .45 caliber handgun that had been reported stolen.
Gee, Commissioners – why would a felon want to drive a car with switched plates while concealing a large handgun he had ready access to just to make sure no one took the stolen gun he was also hiding.
Got me.
Officer Jonathan Sylvester and Officer Curtis Clinton were dispatched to 650 Bush Street where a man was hanging out a window on the 6th floor screaming unintelligible statements. This is a sad case. But why are Police Officers still being called to handle mentally-challenged moments in a person’s life?
By the time the officers got to where the subject yelling might be he had left the area, but not before the hotel staff removed a gun from his possession.
Back-up officers arrived to now search for the individual suffering from the lack of psychiatric care. Officer William Ma, Officer Loren Chiu, Officer Talent Tang, Officer Marissa Chung, Officer Jason Galvez, Officer Jason Robards, Officer David Dito, and Officer Kyle Simmons also responded. The officers eventually located the subject who was now seriously injured and in need of medical assistance after jumping several stories landing on a cement awning on the first floor of the Sutter/Stockton garage.
Meanwhile, Officers from all over the City were conducting seriously dangerous investigations:
Officer Robert Glenn, Officer Kevin Stucki, and Officer Kristopher Stoffel were patrolling the Tenderloin when they noticed a car making an illegal turn barely missing pedestrians. They conducted a traffic stop and found a Glock style ghost gun in possession of a convicted felon.
Officer Sanja Kajasa, Officer Juan Jimenez-Almanza, Officer Martin Smith, and Officer Luciano Ortega were all part of a traffic stop conducted at Shotwell and 17th Streets. The area, at times, is well-known for criminal-related behavior and they hit the jackbox on their investigation.
One of those aboard was on active parole for robbery. The officers then conducted a parole search of the vehicle and located 2 fully-loaded firearms.
Officer John Ishida and Officer Glennon Griffin were patrolling the 18th and South Van Ness corridor when they noticed a car parked with an expired registration occupied by 2 individuals. The individuals were in violation for the illegal possession of narcotics and possession of a 9mm handgun. Case closed.
These last few cases were all outstanding investigations conducted by uniform personnel on patrol 24/7.
It seems that the very best change the Police Commissioners could make would be to visit these officers at their district stations and personally thank them for the work they do.
Now that’s something we could support