Neighborhood Police Captains Shuffled, Again

Listen up, Tenderloin, Bayview, Park, Mission, Ingleside and Taraval residents.

S.F. Police Chief William Scott walks up Sacramento Street with colleagues during a tour of San Francisco’s Chinatown neighborhood, July 24, 2017. (Jessica Christian)

It seems like every few months the San Francisco Police Department has another staff switcheroo, and this year’s biggest one (surpassing a sweeping command staff reshuffle in February) has just occurred. As is unfortunately very normal at this point, many neighborhood police captains have been moved out of their positions — some only a year, or less, after taking on the role.

“These talented, hardworking men and women take pride in serving our city and embody the diversity of San Francisco and our department,” says Police Chief William Scott. “They have demonstrated their commitment to providing the public with quality service. In their new assignments, they will be instrumental in implementing new strategies to address crime and public safety issues.”

Here’s the breakdown…

Tenderloin Station
As one of the districts with the highest — and most complicated — crime rates, it’s a major shame that the station can’t manage to hold onto a captain for more than a couple years at a time. Jason Cherniss held the role for two years, getting some mixed reviews from residents (as to be expected), but he did make leaps and strides in enforcing community-based policing.

After leaving the team for personal reasons in June of 2015, he was replaced by Teresa Ewins, who can frequently be found walking the beat around the neighborhood. We spotted her taking the “dunk a cop” booth at a recent Tenderloin Sunday Streets in stride, though rumor has it that the role of captain was merely a rung on the ladder she’s climbing to the top.  In late September, she announced via Twitter that she was accepting a promotion to Commander of the Muni Task Force, leaving the role of Tenderloin captain open once again. 

Rumors about a replacement swirled around the neighborhood for a few weeks, and the name that was whispered in coffee shops and on street corners — Carl Fabbri — turned out to be correct. Not much is immediately available about Fabbri, though a quick Google search shows that he was a lieutenant at Tenderloin Station in 2013, so chances are he’s familiar with the neighborhood. Fingers crossed he sticks around for a while.

Bayview Station
Capt. Raj Vaswani served Park Station for less than a year between 2014 to 2015, before being transferred to lead Bayview. A longtime employee of the department, he’s worked in roles that ranged from a street crime undercover unit to the city’s night captain, where he deployed officers to nightclubs to manage incidents. He’s now moving on to head the Traffic Division of SFPD, and Steven Ford, whose Google search produced next to nothing, will be stepping into the role of Bayview captain.

Park Station
Capt. John Sanford is out, and there will be many a cyclist celebrating that fact this week. Sanford took over from Vaswani in April 2015, and received some mega heat from the bicycle community after he deployed extra officers to ticket those rolling through stop signs on the Wiggle. Weeks of frustration culminated in a Wiggle Stop In in July 2015, which snarled traffic as hundreds of cyclists painstakingly stopped at each stop sign. By August Sanford surrendered, but his reputation among many never really recovered. Somewhat ironically, he’s being promoted to the Community Engagement Division. 

In his place, Una Bailey will lead. The captain used to be on SFPD’s Pride Alliance for LGBT officers, and most recently was captain of the field operations bureau and investigations division of the Special Victims Unit. 

Mission Station
Wait, didn’t this just change? I guess it has been seven months, which appears to be a long period for anyone in the police department to hold onto a role, but Capt. Bill Griffin, who replaced Cmdr. Daniel Perea in March, is already on his way out. He will now lead the Special Operations Bureau/Urban Areas Security Initiative.

Gaetano Caltagirone takes his place, and Mission Local has already done a dive into his track record, which includes 23 years of experience on the force. 

Ingleside Station
John Hart joins Ingleside Station after being captain of the Special Operations Bureau and Homeland Security. Former Captain Joseph McFadden will move on to the General Crimes Unit.

Taraval Station
Last but not least, Robert Yick has been promoted to captain at Taraval Station, replacing Denise Flaherty, who is moving on to the Academy. Little is publicly available about Yick, aside from a 2010 SF Weekly article that mentions his role as Police Department liaison to the Special Patrol Program. 

If police staffing drama is really your jam (no shame), here’s the list of the rest of the staff who have received promotions:

 Jason Cherniss, Property/Crime Information Services Division
 Joseph Engler, Airport Bureau
 Michelle Jean, Homeland Security Unit
 Curtis Lum, Risk Management
 Gregory Mar, Special Victims Unit
 Valerie Matthews, Major Crimes Unit
 Milanda Moore, Professional Standards and Principled Policing Bureau
 Eric Vintero, Airport Bureau
 Dominic Yin, Field Operations Bureau/Night Captain

All new positions go into effect Oct. 21.

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