Brothers and sisters,
It was my pleasure to serve you for seven years on the Executive Board and twelve years as a defense representative to back you after your courageous moments. I will always be in your corner when you do what is right but fall short of the perfection demanded of you. I am forever grateful to President Marty Halloran for giving me the opportunity to experience labor-management issues and advocate on your behalf. I attempted to answer every call, email, and text but if I missed a few know that it was not on purpose.
I heard your praise and your worries. I heard your happiness and frustrations. I heard you when no one else would and voiced those concerns to those responsible.
I heard your tales of humble heroism that didn’t make the news but made you a cop’s cop to those that ever took on the dangers despite the slings and arrows of 20/20 hindsight.
I can’t say enough how unique and special San Francisco Police Officers are. We truly have a cast of characters working for us, but you all have big hearts and do your best everyday. I would not be a cop anywhere else with anyone else without you all.
Be Proud. Not Everyone Can Wear This Uniform
Be proud that not everyone has the grit to wear a San Francisco Police uniform. Many have tried and fallen short or quit. You continue to show up and do your best to navigate the twists and turns to a job well done. You are cool and calm under pressure. Exercising exceptional restraint when an average cop would succumb to instinct or worse — when subpar cops would become a national disgrace. You are exceptional humans when seeing the suffering of others. I have heard about many occasions when the watch puts money together to pay for a hotel room for a stranded family torn apart by domestic violence. You are true caretakers of the meek. Answering those calls on midnights while the rest of us sleep peacefully.
But…many months after telling stories of proud moments with your brothers and sisters over drinks on the fat day after work, reality sets in. The ticker tape parade gets rained out and the cracks in the hero’s armor are exposed. A complaint, a subpoena, a tweet, an IG post, EIS, a lawsuit, and nasty grams hit your inbox. Newton’s third law of physics truly applies to police work, “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”
It was my honor to assist you in ducking and dodging, sometimes even pivoting and parrying, an interrogator’s questions to a “Not Sustained” finding. I watched in awe as you continued to police — despite the complaints. I realized San Francisco Police Officers were “resilient” before that became this generation’s self-help book catchphrase. Despite the challenges, you make it happen.
Keep Pressing Forward. Never Give Up.
“Never give up.” Those three words written on the board in our academy classroom have guided me throughout my life and career. Whether it was a physical confrontation or an intellectual challenge, perseverance reaped rewards.
The most dangerous thing to our Association is apathy. Do not fall victims to apathy. Care even when it is not your turn to care. Get involved and make your voice heard.
After seven years on the Executive Board, I can tell you that times are not going to get easier. Policies will continue to grow. The number of seats at the table will increase. Many voices will be added to the conversation. Often times, I have seen some cops say nothing while stewing inside over the results. I encourage you to make your voices heard and do the right thing. Union activism is not a career ender so long as you are professional.
If a policy involves public safety issues, you should make your voices heard. You know first hand the effects of enacting policy. You should tell the Association how you see things. You should hold the Association accountable and ensure your voices are heard. It has always been my view that your voice should be the first consulted and most weighty when deciding what course of action should be taken on public safety. You are the practitioners while everyone else is an observer.
An Unbelievable Conversation Exemplifying the Very Best
“Let me get this straight. You were in a foot chase with a suspected shooter you had been tailing?... You caught up to him as he pulled the gun out of his holster to point it at you?.... You smacked the gun in his hand as he was letting off a round at you?... The round hit the ground?....And you took him into custody after tackling him? You guys struggled to take him into custody and nobody is injured? And… he had two more guns on him?”
Proud. Flabbergasted. Grateful.
I was proud because you all are the most selfless and courageous people. You adapt quick to changes in law and policy. Facing dangers and putting yourselves out there despite incredible odds. Winning time after time even when the rules of the game change mid-play.
I was flabbergasted no one got shot or injured on either side. Often times, we pay a price for subpar policing that does not originate in San Francisco. We watch videos from other incidents throughout the United States and wonder, “Isn’t this 2023? What was that?” I am proud to observe that we live in a bubble because we are the forerunners on modern policing. Exceptional restraint and taking on mortal danger without resorting to what you legally could do. I have always known this about you all and that is why I have so much admiration.
I was grateful that a higher power was watching over everyone in that incident. Everyone gets to live and play cops and robbers another day. The criminal justice system will take over and the suspect will have his day in court with our heroes taking the stand to tell an exceptional tale of selflessness.
Thank you for letting me represent you!