Supes pass resolution protecting SF Patrol Special Police Officers

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Jane Warner, or “Officer Jane” as she’s known throughout the Castro, had a rough Christmas Eve. It started when Warner, a San Francisco Patrol Special Police officer who was out walking the foot beat, was alerted that a fight had broken out at Trigger, a bar on Market Street. When she arrived, she says she encountered a drunk and belligerent man. “He got more excited and charged the doormen, he pushed me, I pushed him back, and I said, ‘You’re under arrest,’” Warner told the Guardian shortly after the incident occurred. “He started to walk away from me, I drew my baton, I hit him twice, and he turned around and he hit me and I went to block his punch and he broke my arm,” at which point she fell to the ground in pain. “It cracked the bone right between the elbow and the shoulder,” she said.

According to a police report, several San Francisco police officers arrived on the scene shortly after and arrested the man, James Crayton McCullough. But when they arrived at the police station and tried to get him out of the police car, according to the report, he wedged his body onto the floor of the vehicle and allegedly shouted at one of them, “I’m going to shoot you in the fucking head!” Later, he was transported to San Francisco General Hospital because he had a laceration on his head, where he allegedly threatened a nurse.

Before he was through that night, he’d amassed six felony charges and three misdemeanor charges, District Attorney spokesperson Brian Buckelew told us shortly after the incident. He somehow managed to make $250,000 bail. But he was issued orders to stay 150 yards away from Warner, as well as Castro bars Trigger and Badlands. McCullough also received an order to stay out of the entire Castro neighborhood -- a move Buckelew says is highly unusual.

The incident prompted Sup. Bevan Dufty to introduce a resolution to encourage San Francisco Police Chief George Gascon to consider imposing an increase in penalties for an assault on a Patrol Special Police Officer. This past Tuesday, at the Board of Supervisors meeting, that resolution was approved.

Since Warner was assaulted, other incidents have occurred in which Patrol Special Officers were placed in harm's way, according to a press release sent out yesterday by the organization.

San Francisco’s Patrol Special Police, roughly 40 strong, is a private force dating back to the days of the Gold Rush. In a rare arrangement, they’re authorized under the City Charter to patrol different neighborhoods, hired by private clients such as merchant associations, and they adhere to regulations set by the Police Commission. While they aren’t sworn officers, they undergo a training process similar to that of SFPD officers and they make arrests. Warner describes the patrol specials’ model as a form of “community policing” which she says emphasizes crime prevention.

When asked about Dufty’s resolution in an interview with the Guardian last week, Gascon was somewhat resistant to the idea. He said he had a problem with private policing in general. “This is more of a private police model,” he said. “Their uniforms are very similar to the San Francisco Police Department. So, quite frankly to the majority of the public, it is very hard to distinguish between one and the other.”

“I understand where Supervisor Dufty’s coming from,” Gascon added. “These are people that are certainly out there providing public safety services and they sometimes become the target of people that, for whatever reason or another, they don’t want to be subject to their authority. The problem that I have again is that it continues to blur the line of a very unusual process. … There’s no question that in some places there are people who certainly are in favor of having patrol specials. This is not to take away from the quality of service that patrol special officers provide because I think some of them are very professional and they are very courteous and very effective in what they do. ”

While it’s a felony to assault a San Francisco Police Officer, there are no special charges in the penal code for an individual who commits an assault on a patrol special officer. Dufty’s resolution asks the Police Commission and Gascon to provide Patrol Specials with "the same protections that San Francisco Police Department officers and a number of others who are protected under state code from being assaulted in the line of duty.”

Comments

I don't believe this special private police force should get any special treatment... Mall cops?!?!?!?!

Posted by Guest on Mar. 15, 2010 @ 8:25 am

I disagree. All special police should have the same rights as SFPD. They are providing crime prevention through out our city of San Francisco. Mall cops? You must be retarded. Mall cops are not trained at the San Francisco Police Academy. And they do not uphold the law as Special Police. Your definition of a Mall Cop. They are not "Cops" at all. They are security guards. They observe and report to their local law enforcement agency. If anything. I would prefer every mall in the city of San Francisco to have SFSP. At least they have the training to make arrests and to deter crime.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 21, 2010 @ 9:13 pm

Sounds to me that Officer Jane Warner should be charged with assault.

She states; "He started to walk away from me, I drew my baton, I hit him twice,"

Now if this was regular SFPD, that's what the Bay Guardian would be screaming.

OR AM I WRONG? ..............DON"T THINK SO!

Posted by Guest on Mar. 26, 2010 @ 4:46 pm

GOD BLESS YOU and rest in peace Jane.
Jane you were a true public servant.
Despite the obstruction and hatred that you
experianced you kept on till the very end.
How many lives did you save? We will
never know but all of the Castro and
mission were safer because of the
thankless service you performed.

Posted by Guest on May. 08, 2010 @ 9:58 pm

The only training patrol specials are required to have is teaser 832 powers of arrest class that can be taken at any community college...that is not the same as 5-7 months of police academy training...

Posted by Guest on May. 15, 2010 @ 5:20 pm

Officer Warner went down protecting a Castro bar doormen and patrons (not even her own private and paying client!) who were being assaulted by an out-of-control attacker, when the man struck and broke her arm with his cell phone. There was no question of wrongful policing action here, or a complaint could have been filed. None was. And the Bay Guardian certainly does not stand for unthinking left or wrong-sided reporting that supports a position unfounded in fact, as one writer above suggests.

The Chief hesitates to support a unanimous Board Resolution that allows more serious charges to be filed against those who attack police officers from our historical, 162 year- old neighborhood Patrol Specials, yet these officers report to the Chief's own captains daily before their private patrols, the Chief sets their annual continuing education training standards, the Chief's own department vets officer applicants to begin with, and the Chief's own Police Commission helps regulate them?

And metermaids and dog catchers are so protected in San Francisco, but our valuable Patrol Special Police do not deserve the same? Does that make sense?

Police Chief Gascon -- whose media story has been that he promotes community and modern policing modalities -- is apparently not so modern since he expresses reservations about the national trend of enhanced use of private police. Curiously, in Mesa, Arizona where he was Chief before coming here, he used private security in cases of emergency, who were called up and worked with his public police officers. Was his experience there so bad? See, http://phoenix.gov/fire/20213a.pdf

If so, he needs to consider the facts of how our San Francisco Patrol Special Police differ -- police who are no 'fly by nights' or ill-trained security guards. First, he should answer their invitation extended last August to sit down with officers and clients to learn what his force actually does, which is to prevent small incidents from becoming big and expensive crimes that require his SFPD officers to be called in. He should learn how the force works historically and effectively side-by-side with his SFPD foot patrol officers, backing and freeing them up for serious law enforcement.

Second, he should consider his shrinking police force (78 officer will retire and not be replaced this year) and budget deficits, and how the effective allocation of scare taxpayer dollars might best be put into high level law enforcement, then encourage private businesses and residents to step up to help the city and the Chief out, by hiring more of these non-civil-service Patrol Specials to prevent crime to begin with and do the community policing the Chief stands for -- at far less cost and more effectively than his highly paid SFPD officers ever can.

He should consider that being market driven, these private police are motivated to listen to, be responsive to, and be effective regarding their clients, unlike his own officers who as civil servants know that their salary is secure and that they can seldom be dismissed but for the most heinous of behaviors. I know, because as a former State attorney for six years, I tried mostly in vain to dismiss incompetent State employees, and can hardly believe things are better in the City bureaucracy.

Finally, the Chief should carefully consider what clients who hire Patrol Specials value -- and the Chief apparently has heard some of it. Many hundreds of Patrol Specials clients across the city -- from large to small businesses, from City departments to Residential Associations, from the festivals like the huge Castro Street Festival to merchant associations and more -- find not just ‘some’, but the grand majority of these police to be professional, responsive, loyal, present, effective, and more responsive to safety concerns than the SFPD can be.

They simply make our neighborhoods a safer place to live and work -- at no cost to taxpayers. See, http://www.sfspecialneighborhoodpolicing.org/articles/PS%20-%20Report.on...

What further logic does the Chief require?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 18, 2010 @ 4:54 pm