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Extended police family mourn inexplicable loss

Sergeant Darryl Tsujimoto, popular canine unit leader of the San Francisco Police Department is honored by fellow officers. Tsujimoto died unexpectly May 1
Photo(s) by Luke Thomas

By Pat Murphy

May 8, 2006

Called in life to be centurions, San Francisco Police men and women Sunday turned to spit-and-polish family caress for loss of their young one taken early in death.

A coronary, unforeseen and at first unbelieved, had taken 41-year-old Sergeant Darryl Tsujimoto last Monday and the extended police family filled Civic Center Auditorium seeking comfort for inexplicable loss.

More than most, the police family turns to ceremony to mourn. But the touch was there, the tear-stained laughter and the embrace.

Sonia Rosenberger, fiancé of Sergeant Darryl Tsujimoto,
is comforted during Sunday memorial.

San Francisco Police Officers Association President Gary Delagnes seen in foreground.

Tsujimoto, a 15-year veteran of the San Francisco Police Department and proud officer-in-charge of the Tactical Company Canine Unit since April 1999, collapsed May 1 after a half-mile training run on Treasure Island.

Darryl Tsujimoto

He played the role of a suspect who had assaulted a police officer, with fellow officers and canine patrols in pursuit.

Tsujimoto collapsed as a canine team caught up to him. At first, officers thought Tsujimoto had added a dramatic flourish to the capture, but the collapse was real.

The City's best equipped to provide pulmonary resuscitation continued the effort as Tsujimoto was transported to San Francisco General Hospital. He was pronounced dead on arrival.

Tsujimoto poured all of his efforts into improving the canine unit, Police Chief Heather Fong recalled.

Under his leadership the canine unit gained national recognition and won many gold medals in canine unit competitions, reported San Francisco Police Chief Heather Fong. Those who knew him well are seen, from left, canine unit Officer Davin Cole, Tactical Lieutenant Joe Garrity, and Caption Greg Corrales. Tsujimoto earned a Bronze Medal of Valor, a Unit Citation, two Police Commission Commendations,
and a Master 10851 Award.

"He took over a great unit, a unit that is one of the most highly regarded within the San Francisco Police Department," Fong noted.

"Darryl's efforts these past seven years held to make it one of the finest canine units in the country.

"Darryl's passion for the canine unit is very well known. He had the understanding of what it would take to bring that unit to a higher level of achievement and he had the drive to see it happen.

"Darryl significantly increased the amount of training within the canine unit and the amount of interaction that the officers and the canines had with other canine units throughout the State.

Sergeant Neville Gittens with statewide canine team formations entering Civic Center Auditorium memorial.

"Darryl was as devoted to his work as anyone I have ever known.

"A few months back I had the opportunity to visit with the tactical canine unit at its home in the Hunters Point Shipyard in Building 606.

Video captures Tsujimoto in training.

"Darryl's love for the canine unit extended way beyond the SFPD. He volunteered so many hours to rescue many, many dogs from rescue operations, from the SPCA, and working with Sonia's support trained so many of these dogs and donated them to other law enforcement agencies that did not have a canine unit or did not have the funding to start one.

"In fact, today we have with us Barak and Loki who are two of our department's police canines who were raised as puppies to be the wonderful police dogs that they have provided to the San Francisco Police Department.

"And Sonia, those dogs will be retired in Darryl's honor and returned to you and your family.

Tsujimoto at home with Barak and Loki.

"To Darryl's parents, to Sam and Tina, and to other members of the Tsujimoto family, to Sonia his fiancé, on behalf of the men and women of the San Francisco Police Department I thank you for sharing Daryll with us and for inspiring us with his professionalism."

Sam Tsujimoto, father of Sergeant Darryl Tsujimoto, receives the flag of honor on behalf of the Tsujimoto family from San Francisco Police Chief Heather Fong. Sam Tsujimoto was accompanied in mourning by his wife Tina Tsujimoto and Sergeant Darryl Tsujimoto's fiancé Sonia Rosenberger.

Sonia Rosenberger, fiancé of Sergeant Darryl Tsujimoto.




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