Right from start, police recruits
take to the sidewalks
Police recruit Conor Sever
converses with a shop clerk
on L.A.'s Hollywood Boulevard
Photo by DANIEL B. WOOD
By Daniel B. Wood, The
Christian Science Monitor
Republished with permission
November 18, 2005
HOLLYWOOD - With her factory-fresh police belt holding
revolver, mace, two nightsticks, and one radio, Jeanine Giordano
strides into Hollywood Star Market.
"Sir, we are just walking a foot beat up and down the street.
... I'm sure you've seen us," says the young police recruit
to a Korean working behind displays of beef jerky and pen lighters.
"If you have any problems or questions," she adds after
a conversation, "go ahead and let us know."
The clerk's nervous frown melts into a broad smile.
Score one for the new attempt by the Los Angeles Police Department
to repair one of the most tarnished, adversarial images of any
police force in the country.
By pushing officers out of squad cars and onto sidewalks, many
police departments have tried to reestablish ties to their communities.
What's new about the LAPD's move, formally announced last week,
is that it's starting from the bottom up: training new recruits
to walk the beat.
The innocuous-sounding Community Interaction Program (CIP) -
50 graduate-ready recruits at a time who fan out across the city's
most pedestrian-heavy crime areas - is a new twist on an old idea,
courtesy of one of America's most innovative police chiefs. The
story behind it clarifies, experts say, why many of law enforcement's
own brass feel police often go awry.
"Police work started out as a foot beat in which officers
got to know everyone, and worked on crime from the inside out,
proactively and preventively," says Lieutenant Nick Zingo,
of LAPD's training division.
That changed partly for economic reasons - cops in cars could
cover more ground in growing cities - and also because of strategic
shifts by many to mobile task forces used to get tough on entrenched
"When [police] do nothing but respond to calls, everything
the police see is negative and under high stress - suspects, witnesses,
victims," says Zingo. "This [program] allows the police
to establish relationships."
That's exactly what Ms. Giordano and her two fellow trainees,
Conor Sever and Joseph Romo are doing. As three of 50 in the program's
second class of trainees, they spend four weeks of eight-hour
shifts walking Hollywood Boulevard, getting to know residents
and business owners - and making arrests, if necessary.
"This is the real stuff, the stuff we've been waiting for,"
says Mr. Sever. The 28-year-old said he loved Academy training,
but it was "like a laboratory." "We're finally
dealing with real people and real concerns, seeing what affects
them personally and helping them resolve their problems if we
can." The trio made five felony arrests, including a drug
bust and an in-progress car theft, in their first three weeks.
In the handful of precincts where the LAPD is trying CIP, daytime
crime - petty theft, burglary, car theft, assault - in the target
downtown and Hollywood areas has plummeted to nearly zero, according
to Hollywood precinct Captain Michael Moriarty.
Many residents and business owners on Hollywood Boulevard are
embracing the new program.
"I wish they had been doing this years ago," says lifetime
Hollywood resident Trent McCoy. "Having a show of police
on the streets really lowers the anxiety," he says.
Police watchdog groups nationwide are taking notice, too. They
say despite the talk of new emphasis on community policing - which
accelerated nationally after the beating of Rodney King here in
1991 - there has not been as much progress in the training and
culture of police departments as they would have hoped.
Sending Giordano, Sever and Mr. Romo onto the foot beat in this
formative stage in their police training is the inspiration of
LAPD Chief William Bratton, who has been on the job since 2002.
He earned a reputation for turning around the Boston and New York
police departments. His novel ideas included analyzing crime reports
geographically with central computers, deploying officers accordingly,
and holding precinct chiefs accountable for crime.
But in Los Angeles, which has only one officer for every 429
residents (compared with 1 for every 218 in New York), the gains
have been slower - the result of painstaking refinements.
In announcing the new program last week, Mr. Bratton recalled
his first assignment as a rookie Boston officer, walking a business
district in an all-black neighborhood.
"That experience changed the rest of my life," he said.
Likewise, he wants the first experience of new LAPD officers to
be "not in a black-and-white [police cruiser], not chasing
radio calls, but the intimacy of face-to-face contact with people
in the neighborhood."
Bratton also wants recruits to see the LAPD in a new light and
change the perception many residents have of the force since the
Rodney King beatings. Despite 14 years of investigations, federal
oversight, new chiefs, and civilian boards, police abuse incidents
continue: a 13-year-old boy shot and killed, a baby killed, and
beatings caught on videotape.
"This city's police have made no progress in all that time,"
said Mary Alice Jones of the Congress of Racial Equality at a
recent protest. "They ... ride roughshod through neighborhoods
nestled in the cocoon of their police cars."
Many disagree with her assessment and attribute the city's recent
falling crime rates to getting desk cops back out on the street
and veteran officers into community patrol as well as coordinating
with neighborhood watch groups.
In the past two years, violent crimes (rape, homicide, robbery,
assault) have fallen about 29 percent and property crimes (burglary,
car theft) have decreased by about 10 percent.
Some national experts see that the CIP program can help solidify
the connection between a drop in the crime rate and improved police-community
"There have been a whole host of ways that police departments
have gone out of their way to get closer to the communities they
serve, but they usually involved putting established cops back
into foot beats," says Mary Powers, director of the National
Coalition on Police Brutality. "That's not the same as teaching
police from the outset that getting to know their community members,
and fighting crime together is a superior way to go."
City community policing project
moves to stage two
to tailor district plan
Mayor Gavin Newsom at today's meeting with Citysafe stakeholders.
By Pat Murphy
October 19, 2005
Police Chief Heather Fong presided yesterday over a meeting of
all police district captains, community leaders, and city departments
heads as the CitySafe
community policing project moves into its second phase aimed at
drawing larger resident involvement.
Police Chief Heather Fong
The meeting occured on the heels of a spate of killings in the
Bayview Hunters Point and Western Edition Districts over the weekend.
Deputy Chief of Staff Alex Tourk and Mayor Gavin Newsom opened
the meeting with a rallying call to bring all resources to bear.
Alex Tourk emphasizes the importance
of getting all City resources on the same page.
"We're making progress and that's good, but it's not good
explains Mayor Gavin Newsom
Lieutenant Con Johnson was named to coordinate the process of
planning sessions held in all districts embracing as much community
participation as possible, Fong said.
Lieutenant Con Johnson is well known
for his outreach to the community.
"In those districts, there are a number of different communities.
So the key is not to include just those individuals who have been
so helpful to us today
but to reach out to them
"What we want to insure is that
everyone has a plan
and that plan is reflective and responsive to each district,"
Fong told the gathering.
The goal is to develop a community policing plan tailored to
unique district needs.
"In those districts, there are a number of different communities.
So the key is not to include just those individuals who have been
so helpful to us today
but to reach out to them", for
help in bringing additional district stakeholders to the table.
The first planning meeting for each district will be held in
November, and foresees contribution by members of the Board of
Supervisors representing each district.
"We need education, we need training, we need child care
services - these are the things that our colleagues in City government
can bring to the table
it is so important that this is not
now a plan of one department - that says 'we can only do this'
-- not just what the police department does."
Community leaders and Police Captains gather
in district team break-out sessions
"The teams have been formed now, and each of these teams
will now develop plans in the neighborhoods. In each district
there will be meetings to identify not only the concerns but the
solutions that the community, as well as City government, will
bring to the table to address," Fong added.
Coordinator Lieutenant Con Johnson may be reached at (415) 553-1303.
Baker Places - CitySafe Series
The mental health care component of CitySafe
By Pat Murphy
Monday, September 26, 2006
The mutterers seem everywhere, and too close, oblivious to boundaries
set by those capable.
Sheltered in a protective reality, they tighten the stomach of
others who are competent to debate whether anyone really knows
what time it is, anyway.
Frightening and heart rending, the mutterers are this beyond-the-box
town's especially crazy.
Despite bliss of oblivion, their physical reality often is a
danger to themselves, and troubling to those stuck less blissful.
The trouble is they sometimes hurt people, including themselves.
They also scare off carefree days, scare shoppers, and scare
All done, largely neglected by society last century, without
knowing their bliss became a damaging bother.
Ranks of the severely mentally disordered swelled San Francisco
streets when state institutions closed in favor of local residential
care facilities, then hailed as improving patient quality of life
Unfortunately, many of those residential care centers did not
materialize, and the marginally mentally disordered swelled street
ranks even more when Reagan-era decisions slashed federal subsidized
housing funds by $14 billion.
Those decisions saved money, in hindsight penny wise and pound
foolish, as concluded by breadth of San Francisco political landscape
which last year universally endorsed supportive housing for the
mentally ill as both humane and cost effective.
Today, continuation of that thought is an important component
of CitySafe, the unfolding San Francisco project geared toward
community policing and on-the-spot triage of all city and community
Jonathan Vernick, chief of one of San Francisco's larger residential
care providers for the mentally ill, yesterday endorsed the project
with enthusiasm, and with a few caveats.
"My opinion is that Mayor Newsom really has been a catalyst
in trying to bring together all sets of different communities
in a very positive and in a very interactive way to get them to
work better together," Vernick said.
However, streamlined coordination may come haltingly, he warned
based on his experience with bureaucratic inertia.
"There're always issues that come up between people representing
different issues in different arenas, and who think differently
it takes some time to work in a collaborative way and work out
the various requirements of your systems to fit with the other
systems," Vernick reflected.
He serves as executive director of Baker Places, which house
some 900 clients in a variety of residential programs tailored
to treatment needs. Baker Places provide counseling to an additional
1,000 clients placed in hotels. Some 160 full time employees staff
Baker Places, with an additional 60 relief personnel.
Vernick has led Baker Places since 1990, joining Baker Places
in 1983 as a project director. Before joining Baker Places, Vernick
worked from 1979 for Conard House, another San Francisco residential
care provider for the mentally disordered.
Already familiar with centralized coordination through Baker
Places participation in Project Homeless Connect, Vernick estimates
75% of clients entering Baker Places are homeless.
"For our housing support model, we thought one of the priorities
should be the maintaining of housing," Vernick recalled.
Those moving from intensive residential care to cooperative apartments
overseen by Baker Places are permitted to live there indefinitely,
added Vernick, resulting in low relapse rate.
The concept of mental health care cooperative apartments was
adopted by Bakers Places, Conard House, and the Progress Foundation
- the third of San Francisco's largest residential mental health
care providers - many years ago, Vernick said.
"We have found that if they have the opportunity to live
by themselves, with just three to five other people, and have
an ongoing relationship with a case manager that doesn't change
really kind of mimics normal living," stated Vernick.
Case managers visit cooperative apartment clients from daily
to once weekly, he reported.
"They can stay indefinitely, and the retention level is
extremely high in that environment.
"So what I think is important that San Francisco continue
to be able to offer a full menu of different kinds of environments
for housing and treatment depending on the needs of the individual,"
Baker Places currently house from 60 to 100 clients in mental
health care co-ops, and an additional 64 clients with alcohol
and substance abuse issues.
Finding and leasing apartment stock is relatively easy, Vernick
noted, while acquiring brick and mortar for intensive residential
care is more time consuming and costly.
Purchase is often indicated by mortgage costs being lower than
rent, Vernick explained.
And purchase of brick and mortar - perhaps on a substantial scale
- may be necessary to deliver CitySafe popular vision.
As it is now, intensive residential care is delayed by waiting
lists, and a sudden influx of new CitySafe referrals would increase
Due to state restrictions, intensive residential care facilities
may hold no more than 16 beds. With larger client census, stabilization
rate drop dramatically, Vernick noted as well.
Purchase cost for each such new facility could range from $900,000
to $1.5 million, he estimated.
New facility doors could open in eight to nine months with expedited
Planning Department approval, envisioned Vernick.
New such housing, coming at the rate of 16 people housed per
unit, won't come tomorrow - nor will it come with agreement on
CitySafe: More cops walking beats now, full implementation
awaits community input
Police Chief Heather Fond
details localization of CitySafe community policing.
By Pat Murphy
Tuesday, September 6, 2005
Full benefits of CitySafe - the city and community effort to
staunch violent crime - will be visible in late October or November,
it emerged from interview with Police Chief Heather Fong last
Although that estimate was available from city officials when
the project was announced August 5, length of time planned for
implementation didn't stick in the public mind.
Coordinated real-time delivery of social services upon first
police contact stuck.
Prosecuting drug sales in Federal Court for longer criminal removal
from the community stuck.
But mostly, the promise of more cops walking neighborhood beats
stuck - startling the range of community stakeholders with enthused
sense of real possibility, from fed-up hardliners to root-cause
Finally it seemed residents could cast off spirit killing sense
of isolation, with everyone able to get involved effectively,
as beat cops tomorrow looked crime in the face and laid out the
Tomorrow was too soon, whether expectation came from selective
memory, or from reality understated in city announcement of CitySafe
Yet, even as some rumblings bump up against return to cynicism,
complexity of CitySafe implementation was well thought out, Fong
And even before full implementation, more cops are now walking
beats which weren't walked before, stated Fong.
Right now, "I think that with the officers that we currently
we can cover some beats.
We can't cover all the beats all the time.
"But you can get out of your car for five, ten minutes and
walk a few blocks. It's not designated as a beat, and somebody
may not happen to be there at that time so they miss seeing you,
but we told our officers and I know they are getting out of their
"You're going to see that sustained consistency as some
of the (new police recruit) classes that we've hired, or are scheduled
to hire, are going out into the field," Fong predicted.
Some 200 new police recruits will graduate September 23, she
"Not that we can't do it now. We can do it now.
"But the more resources you have, the more visible it will
"When you think about our policing responsibilities, we
have district sector cars, and we have beats.
"And we have to staff the sector cars first, because when
the 911 call comes in, it's the officers in the sector car that
will respond, or if there happens to be a beat officer there they
will respond as well.
"So if the officers are in their sectors, in their radio
cars, and they get out, even periodically as the General Order
in field operations states, that's an important step, and the
public will see some of that.
"The more officers we are able to deploy, once those radio
cars are filled, then you can put more officers on beats for longer
periods of time."
More seasoned police personnel, as well as newly hired recruits,
will increase beat patrols, Fong reported.
"Those officers who graduate are assigned to the field training
stations, which include Central, Southern, Bayview, Mission, Northern,
Ingleside, and Tenderloin.
"So that class will go all to those stations, and with the
increase of resources there, with the experience that we want
all field training officers to go through, they (the public) will
see additional beats
Community support for beat patrols can overcome wariness of some
officers to mix with the public, continued Fong.
"If they're wary, I think that if only they would hear those
comments that many members of the community are sharing: They
say, 'Stay on our block. Don't go to the next block.'
"The positive feedback that they will get from the public
will (make) them want to do even more outreach.
"This is something that I believe in, that I support, and
that we're not going to rescind.
"You can't get to know people if you don't talk to them,
if you just drive by.
A six-month officer sign-up for assignments goes into effect
this week, after which Fong will provide geographic locations
of beats, stated Fong, although keeping specific times out of
public knowledge better deters criminal activity.
Resident neighborhood patrols, working in conjunction with police,
is part of CitySafe development, continued Fong.
"In the past, this department has worked with members of
the public to have citizen patrols, and I look forward to resurrecting
that. I met recently with a community group and they said, 'You
know, we miss doing that.'
"That's why it's so important that each district have this
community based plan, where the community is a part of it."
That plan allows four to six weeks for community based social
service agencies, and municipal agencies, to draft each agency
contribution to community policing.
Each of the ten police district captains then will meet with
those agency representatives, forwarding localized plans to Fong.
Two of the four lieutenants assigned to each police district
will oversee final implementation, Fong said.
Those 20 lieutenants have been selected, and may present themselves
in a press conference this week, a senior administration official
Beat Patrols in Two Neighborhoods
Part II in a series on Community Policing
Pat Maguire recalls difference
in police and neighborhood relations
before and after foot patrols on La Playa
By Pat Murphy
Wednesday, August 31, 2005
In a town where the citizenry is more wary of its police than
some communities, and many officers feel and share that distance,
it seems nothing is more popular than the vision of a first name
cop walking the beat.
A sense of possibility, perceptibly replacing inertia, first
engaged ordinary residents with homelessness progress through
With the concept of Project
Connect founded in ways for everyone to get involved, that
energy, and Mayor Gavin Newsom's administration, strain toward
ending sterility between police and neighborhoods.
The new effort, unfurled under banner of CITYSAFE, is a mighty
It means to meld community based organizations, all city social
services, policing, and prosecution, in real-time coordination
of first police contact with citizens -- planned to end sterility
through human touch.
District Attorney Kamala Harris,
Mayor Gavin Newsom,
District 5 Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi,
and Police Chief Heather Fong,
shown embracing CITYSAFE.
Begun only this month, on August 5, the component most capturing
the public mind is that of a friendly cop on a beat, maybe not
twirling a nightstick and looking for a free apple, but a person
with a badge who knows the names of your kids, when you went into
business, who can deliver help for the needy, steer hope for the
troubled, vanquish violence, and make a joyous town more free
The difference is black and white in attitude toward the police
in neighborhoods with beat patrols, and communities with only
radio car patrols.
On the West Side, Pat Maguire has known both.
"We always felt like the police don't help, so there was
like a bad relationship.
"We always gave the police car the middle finger,"
said native San Franciscan Maguire. He has operated Java Beach
at 1396 La Playa for thirteen years.
Officer Mike Mitchell has walked a beat in Maguire's neighborhood
for two months.
"Now the relationship is so much better. I mean the people
out here love the police," Maguire added.
"It really changes the face of the Police Department."
"He gets to know the difference between good homeless people,
bad homeless people, good business people, bad business people.
"It's another way to get to know that people don't live
in categories. People are individuals. They get to know that."
The beat patrol came about through insistent request from several
neighborhood groups, and a receptive Police Captain, Keith Sanford,
The sense of community strengthened.
Neighbors pitched in to clean up, and re-landscape a local park,
costing "the city not a cent," Maguire stated. And they
prevailed on city agencies to clean up the park restrooms.
Unannounced visit reveals whistle clean restroom
once strewn with drug paraphernalia
Respect for beat officer Mitchell was seen in a recent incident
recalled by lifetime resident Ray Siri.
Breaking up a large fight, Mitchell became pinned to a garage
as combatants started to lower the garage door on Mitchell, Siri
recalled. Local residents interevned to Mitchell's assistance.
Siri also saw benefit of human touch in Supervisor Fiona Ma's
outreach, who represents Siri's neighborhood.
"What she's doing right here. Talking to me. I've seen her
talking to people all over the place."
Ray Siri surveys neighborhood improvement
with District 4 Supervisor Fiona Ma
Officer Lewis Fong has walked a beat on the outer Irving Street
merchant strip for close to a year. He formerly walked the beat
for five years, when lean economic times put him back in a patrol
car. Community effort prevailed in his return to foot patrol.
"It's pretty much for the communities, for the businesses.
We get to know people on a personal basis, whereas in a patrol
car we're pretty much sent from run to run. It's not as personable,"
Officer Lewis Fong
Local Walgreen's manager Trinh Quyuen ,
who grew up in the neighborhood,
noted, "people feel safer now."
Again, perception was starkly different in how Iriving Street
neighbors view police on the beat, and police in patrol cars.
Irving Street neighborhood resident Ludmilla Brott
"It's great around here," said 25-year resident Ludmilla
Brott who was shopping on Irving Street.
Brott lives a few blocks off Irving Street, where she sees police
"There's never a policeman around except to give you a ticket.
We get very little support or help."
Police Officers Association president backs foot
But you get what you pay for
POA President Gary Delagnes
believes community cops walking beats
is, 'a tremendous program', but adds, '...you get what you pay
By Pat Murphy
Monday, August 29, 2005
Community policing, a term that remained vague over
the decades due to lack of fruition, gained ambitious definition
this month by Mayor Newsom's launch of CITYSAFE.
Rebooting all city and community social services
to work hand-in-hand with police comprise the effort, but its
universally agreed foundation remains elusive.
Cops walking the streets.
Soon it will be one month since Newsom, with Police
Chief Heather Fong's full backing, unveiled the plan and already
there are rumblings of hollow promise.
Impatience in not seeing officers exchange first
names with residents, as they stroll neighborhoods, feeds skepticism.
AGREEMENT ON FOOT PATROLS
Yet, one police voice agrees cops on foot patrol
would be ideal.
"In an ideal world, where we can get lots of
cops out there riding bicycles and walking beats, I think it's
a great concept," Gary Delagnes said. Delagnes serves as
president of the San Francisco Police Officers Association (POA).
He notes Fong's order under CITYSAFE directs officers
to leave patrol cars for foot beats...when they can, yet short
staffing renders that not often.
"This is in no way a criticism of the chief,
because she's doing the best she can with the personnel she has,"
"In an effort to keep some of the high crime
areas fully staffed, for example the Bayview, the Northern District,
the Mission District, Tenderloin, a lot of times they've had to
rob Peter to pay Paul.
"So to keep those districts as fully staffed
as they can, they've really shorted the other districts, the outlying
districts like the Richmond, the Taraval, and the Central which
is down in North Beach...
"For example, Park Station...fully staffed
in the old days they'd have about a hundred cops. Right now they
only have about 60.
"They could have one, two cars running at any
given time for the entire district, and that encompasses all of
THE PEOPLE WHO SUFFER
"The people who really end up suffering in
this deal is not so much the serious crimes in progress...shooting
in progress, rape in progress, serious burglary, robbery, you
know people just drop everything and go. The people who are hurt
are the people who have their car vandalized, or somebody calls
and says 'hey, you know I just got beat up on the corner of Haight
and Ashbury and I'm not seriously hurt but I want to make a police
report,' with priority runs that guy might be standing there for
hours and those are the ones who really suffer.
"The first priority for any police department
is to handle calls for service, in my opinion. The second priority
for any police department is to interact with the community as
much as possible.
"I think if you've got enough personnel to
take care of number one and number two, I think community policing
is a tremendous program.
"They've tried to do some things that I think
are good. One of the things, they ask the cops to park the car
and walk up and down the streets when they're able to do that.
"Some of these cops are handling 25 or 30 runs
a night. Now if you're handling 25 runs in a ten-hour period,
and then write police reports, a good police report, that's your
"Our guys can't get a day off.
"They have to provide an 80% staffing level...so
some guy walks in and says 'My sister's getting Sunday. Can I
get the day off?'
"We're seeing that all the time now because
they have to maintain 80% levels."
YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR
Sufficient police personnel to deliver priority
patrol car coverage and knowing the neighborhood cop by name and
by trust -- would be assured with addition of 400 more police
officers, Delagnes estimated.
For budgeting purposes, said Delagnes, addition
of each officer should be averaged at $125,000 annually.
Total cost of $50 million per year would raise the
current Police budget from approximately $210 million to $260
million, Delagnes reported.
TURN CUSTODY OVER TO SHERIFF'S DEPUTIES
The city effectively loses on-duty officer service
when tied to hospital custody, as some of those arrested require
Delagnes cited abscesses as the common reason for
"We probably lose 50 to 70 hours a day on patrol
because we're tied up at the hospital...that's something that
the Sheriff's Department should be doing."
"Oakland started to go federally on their drug
"What happens federally on their drug cases?
There's no bullshit on plea-bargaining, there's no bullshit on
walking out the door, and a slap on the hand and 'don't do it
"They say, federally, sorry fellah you're gone,
a 123 months."
San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris has
invoked federal prosecution in recent months.
"Kamala gets it. Kamala is a good prosecutor,"
"Now we had our problems on the Isaac Espinoza
thing. That was a fair dispute on the death penalty, but she is
a prosecutor and she knows what to do and how to do it, and we're
seeing a marked improvement in prosecutions in San Francisco on
"I think the mayor gets it...the need to clean
up the streets, but you've got another big problem in this city
that never takes responsibility for anything -- the judges.
GET JUDGES ONBOARD
"The District attorney will go up to the judge
and say 'Hey your honor, you know this is the fourth offense for
this person, this is the fourth time they've been caught selling
drugs by an undercover police officer in a year, that we believe
they should get at least a year in prison.'
"Nope, drug court. Nope, extend their parole.
"They walk right out the door. They do it again.
"It's a joke."
PLUG CUSTODY LEAKS
"Got a call yesterday from my narcotics guys.
They had a guy that lives in San Francisco and has a place in
Oakland. He's got two open cases, which means he's been arrested
twice in San Francisco for sales of drugs and didn't show up.
"So there's a warrant out for him, for failure
to appear, two drug sales cases.
"They lure him in, and he comes into the city
from Oakland, and he's got eight ounces of crack.
"They arrest him.
"They put him in jail. Hold him. And they get
a search warrant for his house in Oakland.
"They go over to Oakland, and they find three
pounds -- that's a kilo and a half -- of crack cocaine.
"They take him to city prison, and they book
him. You know what city prison did with him?
"They cited him out, because they didn't have
the personnel in intake.
"This guy walked out of city prison with a
citation in his hand, with almost four pounds of crack cocaine."
Contact Gary Delagnes
Mirkarimi sees start of covenant to relieve root
cause of deadly violence
Western Addition civic leader Mary Rogers
says, 'they're doing right.'
Saturday, August 6, 2005
San Francisco community and elected leaders yesterday swept aside
political difference to laser bulwark against Western Addition
Nothing less than a covenant engraving every possible resource
to relieve root cause of crime is essential, Western Addition
city supervisor Ross Mirkarimi prefaced.
With Friday announcement of newly tooled community policing,
coupled with streamlined social service delivery, the merger "is
a good start," Mirkarimi said.
He spoke before an 11:00 a.m. Mayor's Office press conference,
packed so tightly with stakeholders crush of shoulders startled
And lifetime Western Addition social justice voice Mary Rogers
said they were doing right.
Mirkarimi, who is called to Western Addition homicide scenes
by police, leaves that desolation genuinely near tears with tragic
routine, yet worked non-confrontational to redress an imbalance
he saw between Bayview and Western Addition city resources.
MAYOR EMBRACES PARTNERSHIP
"I am particularly pleased with the leadership of Supervisor
Ross Mirkarimi, and I mean this with sincerity," said Mayor
I love the enthusiasm, I love the passion, and yes, I like the
criticism because I need to be held accountable."
"And I need to be more focused. I get that, and he has done
that -- in a respectful way, so he is a partner."
TO SEE HOW A NEIGHBORHOOD CAN CRUMBLE
"When I came into office I had asked the police department
to notify me whenever there was to be a homicide in our district,
District 5" Mirkarimi recalled.
"I did that because I had been concerned for many years
of...this simmer in the Western Addition and the Fillmore for
all too long.
"I can't tell you how dispiriting it is, because mostly
these homicides occur between 1:00 and 6:00 a.m., to see the crime
scene, and to see how a street or a neighborhood can crumble.
"I welcome the fact, I've been asking and I believe we all
see the dire need for infusing measures now such as what the mayor
and the chief have talked about so that we can bring our community
back to stability, so that people can feel the self-esteem returned
to their neighborhood and they don't have to walk in fear.
"But I also believe as well that the short term strategy,
and one that I know the city is going to put full resources behind
in making sure that we stop the violence, that there is a longer
term strategy as well.
"That longer term strategy is really that the poetry of
any vibrant or healthy community really is predicated on the fact
that we have to make sure that aspirations don't outweigh opportunities,
and that when in a neighborhood that can be economically challenged
or feeling any kind of oppression it can be given the opportunity
to thrive and prosper the way it is when have a larger responsibility.
"That is why I welcome this opportunity of having a more
refined community policing structure.
"It's important that we provide a covenant now where none
has ever really existed, but has always been eloquently discussed
in the past, between city government, between the community based
organizations that work, between the police department, that we
are then able to understand the sources that lead to criminality
which consistently tends to be because of the absence of economic
opportunity in those particular neighborhoods.
"I believe that it is critical that we determine, and that
we also work with, the other departments whether it is on creating
jobs, whether it is on providing safer housing conditions, whether
it's making sure that our youth do not succumb to what the pulverizing
impacts of what the streets have to offer, and that we give them
something alternative to do so that it is them who do not become
the next perpetrators of crime.
"What we're off to is a good start.
"It's never, never , in my opinion, too soon to do what
we're talking about today, and what I want to see connected to
this idea of a reformed and restructuring of our community policing
is our ability to really embolden communities while we are, at
the same time, we're trying to make them safe.
"So this Monday, I will be conducting a hearing at the Government
Audits Committee that tries to give as much support to the vision
that here Mayor Newsom with his important leadership on this issue,
and of course our police chief and other electeds, try to help
shape and to help make accountable the elements that can make
community policing and the empowerment of the community just that
what we want, 3:00 p.m., Monday, and I encourage you to come,"
WE ARE COORDINATING EVERTHING
"We are coordinating everything from job training to education
opportunities to street light improvements in our fight to make
this one of the safest cities in America," Newsom detailed.
ON THE SAME PAGE
Joint efforts unveiled by District Attorney Kamala Harris (left),
Mayor Newsom, Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi
and Police Chief Heather Fong.
Revamped strategy is citywide, Newsom reported,
tailored for neighborhood cultural needs.
"That's why we're also calling for a coordinated
strategy that would provide for four individuals in each district,
or each district (police) station, to coordinate community policing:
two lieutenants, one member of the Mayor's Office of Neighborhood
Services, and one member from John Osaki's shop that will focus
on youth related issues, coordinated overall by Lieutenant Con
Johnson who will make sure that there are community policing plans
established in a collaborative way, in an organic way, that are
specific to the needs of that particular district.
"One size community policing does not fit all.
We've got to establish parameters and strategies that address,
in a very cultural way, in a very competent way, in a very specific
way, in a strategic way, where the gaps exist in every district,
and make sure there is community buy-in.
"Without that, none of this is going to succeed,"
Named CITYSAFE, the partnership is designed to focus
on five broad areas: youth services, job creation, community development,
criminal justice and safer streets.:
Community Connect: new Community Policing
strategy unveiled today
Community Safety Cameras: A new initiative
announced last week, there are now 2 safety cameras installed
in Western Addition on a pilot basis.
New Police Officers: Included in this year's
budget, signed into law yesterday, there is now full funding to
recruit and train 150 new police officers
Over 350 after-school programs: 140 programs
funded through the Department of Children Youth and Their Families.
A list of these services will be provided to the community police
officers, community organizers and city government officials.
Mayor's Youth Education and Employment Program:
Over 1000 jobs for youth have been created, in the coming weeks,
these programs will be integrated into the community organizers
portfolios as options for anti-violence efforts among young people.
Wellness Centers in eight high schools:
Announced in the Spring of this year, Wellness Centers will be
providing early intervention and help for youth at their most
vulnerable stage of development
Safe Start: Providing intensive services
for children exposed to violence
Universal Pre-K: Announced late last month,
San Francisco is leading the state in the development of a universal
pre-K. Studies have shown that this is among the most effective
ways of creating a healthy environment for children to develop.
Citybuild: To be launched in the next month
by MOEWD, Citybuild is a major new initiative aimed at hiring
disadvantaged residents onto City-sponsored capital projects.
Shipyard job training program: A new announcement,
this is a partnership with the city and Lennar is providing $225,000
annually in job training and employee assistance services for
Bayview-Hunters Point (BVHP) Area residents. These services will
be delivered by local organizations that have a successful track
record in serving the community. The funds will be directed to
four areas: Construction Skilled Trades Training, Occupational
Skills Training, Youth Development and Professional Services Training.
Emporium job training: A new announcement,
the new Emporium project is expected to create over 2,000 new
permanent jobs, primarily in the retail sector. In addition, there
will be 1,900 construction jobs created. The city is partnering
with the Developer, Westfield, to invest $400,000 in job training
and placement services targeted at getting disadvantaged residents
into these permanent jobs.
Communities of Opportunity: A year long in
development, this is a pilot program that utilizes community and
public/private partnerships currently in Visitacion Valley and
Bayview to integrate physical improvements, intensive social services
and new employment opportunities. Best practices will be customized
and implemented in Western Addition and Mission.
Launch of Advancement Area: Citywide initiative
to increase accountability and effectiveness among Community Based
Organizations (start date: 01/06).
Business Development: Establishment of Resident
Entrepreneurial Advancement Program to increase small business
and job creation in distressed neighborhoods; $1 million SFShines
initiative to revitalize neighborhood commercial corridors throughout
Strengthening Operation Ceasefire: Fully
funded with a $500,000 grant to six community-based agencies in
the FY '05-'06 budget (backfilling federal cuts), Ceasefire is
the City's primary suppression and intervention program dealing
with violence, gangs and crime. Ceasefire deters violent behavior
by targeting and reaching out to our most chronic, serious offenders,
setting clear standards for their behavior.
Gang-Free Communities Initiative: At least
30% of all crimes in the Mission are gang-related, and in Bayview
Hunters Point at least 20% of all crimes are gang-related. In
both communities, approximately 2% of all 11 to 24 year-olds are
involved with gangs, and only a small percentage of those individuals
are committing violent crimes. Gang-Free coordinates services
and support to a targeted group of highly active, violent gang
members, coordinating institutions and individuals to ensure effective
use of resources
SAFETYConnect: A new initiative, this has
been created in response to the needs of victims of violence,
their families and loved ones. The goal is to protect the integrity
of the location of the incident and investigation, respect the
rights of family and loved ones, support the victim and provide
support for the communities impacted. Safety Connect establishes
a protocol to be followed when a homicide occurs, ensuring that
city and community representatives will provide outreach to families
and others at the scene, within 48-72 hours, as well as ongoing
response like environmental assessments and mental health and
THEY'RE DOING RIGHT
"Yeah, I think they are doing right," observed Mary
"All of us have to be involved, especially adults. We can't
just as adults see kids doing things, and not say anything to
"And that's what we do too often. We see kids in the streets
doing things, and we don't even stop to say to them, 'Young man,
or young woman, don't do that -- there's other things to do.'
"All of us have a responsibility to our young folks.
"But what about our young folks with these guns?
Civic leader Mary Rogers
"Now somebody knows how these young folks are getting these
guns. I don't know who knows, but I know that they know.
"They're killing a generation of young folks.
"It don't do us no good being in this room. We need to be
on the streets talking to our young people."
Western Addition ready to reclaim streets
By Sharen Hewitt, Director
of C.L.A.E.R. Project
Wednesday, August 3, 2005
In recognition of America's Night Out, where citizens across
the country reclaim their communities, San Francisco continues
to provide innovation and leadership to stem the tide of violence
that continues to plague its disparate neighborhoods.
Mayor Newsom, anti-violence activists and city leaders Tuesday
joined together to roll out a public media campaign to call out
for an end to violence through bus shelter ads that call for peace:
'PEACE ZONE - GOTTA HAVE IT?'
The first ad was unveiled at the bus shelter on Fillmore and
Golden Gate, and replaces an advertisement for liquor in an area
that has been the site of many of the recent homicides in the
As of Tuesday, 44 murders had occurred on the streets of San
While many of these incidents have dropped from the headlines,
the ongoing effects of these tragedies remain. To address this
continuing crisis, community advocates representing surviving
families, San Francisco's city officials and the private sector
partnered to create a public media campaign that carries a message
of hope and peace.
"The public media campaign focuses on a universal message
that we know San Franciscan's can relate to -- improved quality
of life for the residents of San Francisco," C.L.A.E.R reported.
"We are marketing peace in the same way the private sector
sells McDonalds to four-year olds."
HIDDEN FROM BULLETS
Justice Goff spent his two-year birthday being hidden from bullets
by mother Dede Hewitt (right) and grandmother Sharen Hewitt.
Gunfire had erupted claiming a life
outside Justice's Western Addition home.
"This is part of a larger, ongoing peace campaign, and the
public media effort is one tool that we are using to take back
San Francisco's streets," stated George Jurand, one of the
founding members of the Circle of Friends, a support group for
surviving family members of homicide victims.
"It takes a village to create a society that is safe for
all of our children," he concluded.
This campaign represents the coming together of disparate parts:
the private sector, including Viacom, who is generously donating
advertising space, David Quintero Design and graphic artist Enzo
Lombard-Quintero; Police Commissioners Joe Veronese and Gayle
Orr-Smith, who are reaching out to community partnerships that
go beyond law enforcement; Community organizations like the C.L.A.E.R.
Project and the Circle of Friends that have been providing leadership
and advocacy on this issue long before it was headline news.
Police Commissioner Joe Veronese
Mayor prepares to unveil ad
Grim statistics bring somber reflection
Police Commissioner Gayle Orr-Smith at center
Reverend Ted Frazier
Green Party activist Susan King
TAKE MY PICTURE --
Mom Elisha Rochelle reports
five-year-old Damiani Williams
is intent on Hollywood,
but has a stop at kindergarten first.
For more information, contact Sharen Hewitt, C.L.A.E.R. Project,
at (415) 724-4797.
City installs closed circuit street cameras
in troubled Western Addition
Fourth London bombings suspect nabbed
in Rome today due to London cameras
Friday, July 29, 2005, 3:00 p.m.
Fourth suspect in the London bombings was arrested in Rome today
thanks to street closed circuit camera images -- scant hours before
San Francisco installed similar cameras in the troubled Western
In addition to London, which now has all four bombing suspects
in custody, the cities of Baltimore, New Orleans, Detroit, and
New York have implemented similar street camera use.
With this morning's Eddy and Buchanan Streets installation, Mayor
Newsom reported it took him a year and a half of consideration
to overcome Newsom's civil liberties objections, and the program
is a 90-day trial period.
Western Addition longtime civic leader Mary Rogers helped overcome
initial mayoral objections by imploring the cameras be installed,
In San Francisco, cameras cannot be manipulated to focus in on
individuals or into windows, instead they constantly record 270
degree neighborhood panorama. Complete 360 degree recording is
achieved with use of two cameras, which comprise the program.
Imaging is looped, recording for a 72-hour period, after which
previous images are erased as new images are recorded on the loop.
Cost is paid from drug arrest asset seizure. The ballistic proof
cameras are 27-feet above the street, costing $13,000 plus $5,000
labor installation expense.
Advanced technology permits adequate enlargement of events as
necessary at the time and location of violence, Newsom said.
Random questioning of residents living within camera view this
morning brought pleased response.
"This is great, I called my mother as soon as I heard they
were going up," said 43-year-old native San Franciscan Phillip
Mason who lives in apartment complex directly beneath cameras.
"We should have done this a long time ago," Mason added.
Critics of street cameras come from non-violent neighborhoods,
one Western Addition resident suggested.
"People who are saying that are not really affected,"
Otis Harris maintained.
"They aren't the ones who live in these housing projects."