Greetings! As a long time, satisfied client of the SF Patrol Special Police Officer program, I’m happy to welcome them to the blogosphere! I hope to participate in their progressive dialog about just how ’special’ their cost-effective, culture-sensitive public safety services are for me and many others in San Francisco, and how they can be of help to new clients who now, more than ever before, need safety information and support from a declining police force!
City-wide as nation-wide, we are all suffering from a dismal economy. It spells continuing cutbacks in public services (305 officers from SFPD slated for lay-offs in June), and layoffs of government-employed public servants like our SFPD and Firefighters, whose services are surely welcomed and needed, but in specified and focused ways.
So too, are the Patrol Specials’ services needed–but not as a replacement for the SFPD. They are complementary to the SFPD. Patrol Specials provide service in a distinctly unique way in accord with San Franciscan-style culture and values. Patrol Special officers care about the culture of the district they serve, and reflect the lifestyle-choice tolerance and compassion for individuals that San Francisco has come to represent in the nation, and in the world.
Patrol Special services are focused on low-cost, highly-effective crime-prevention and order maintenance policing services. Officers go about their business of staying put and getting to know us. They don’t run off to City Hall to answer incident-driven calls for service, or fill out paperwork, or attend Captain’s meetings. They answer our calls, they attend our community meetings, they comply with our priorities and needs.
In sum, the Patrol Specials listen to us, and watch out for those of us who voluntarily pay a small sum for additional policing service of a very special, responsive kind. But they–and we who foot their bill–also benefit by extension the entire district they serve, and without regard to who pays and who does not!
They do so with a careful eye toward our specific priorities in an old-fashioned, participatory and democratic way. They adjust their approach to comply with our specific district culture.
And that’s not always been the case when pre-determined policing services and priorities come down to us from afar, from a City Hall that often spends as much time casting an eye toward politician’s priorities, as they do our own individual well-being.
Governmentally-sponsored policing servants usually have to also cast an eye on larger ‘fish to fry’ such as the threats coming gang warfare and the development of American terrorism. That’s what they are trained for, that’s what they are experienced in, and that’s where we need them, doing what they do best (most of the time!).
But the Patrol Specials also must do what they do best: provide the essence of true ‘community based; policing. In fact, they ARE the very definition of ‘community police’ — and now’s the time to seize advantage of their City Charter status, their unbroken 161-year history of admirable service to San Franciscans, and help them grow. I hope to do just that!