New Captain Takes Command at Richmond Police Station

By Judith Kahn

Anthony Fotinos has been appointed the new captain of the Richmond Police Station.

Although Fotinos, a native San Franciscan, is the new captain, he is not new to the San Francisco police force, where he has served for 28 years - as an investigator, patrolman and administrator in many different areas of the city.

When asked which departments he found most challenging and some of the problems he faced in each of those departments, he said all the departments have one universal problem, bureaucracy. He said this universal problem slowed all the departments down and prevented the force from acting as effectively as it could.

Fotinos comes from a family with a history of law enforcement. His father served as a patrolmen at the Richmond Station for 31 years.

Fotinos took command at the Richmond Station after Capt. Jere Williams was transferred to the Bureau of Inspectors.

Fotinos said he was "just getting the oars in the water" and was working to gain an historical perspective of the area and station. He has discovered that the officers at the Richmond Station are hard working, thorough, sensitive to community needs and always looking to do the best job they can.

According to Fotinos, the station was working well prior to the time he took over. The neighborhood is relatively safe, with few shootings and homicides. But, he noted that the Richmond faces two major problems: residential and commercial burglaries and crimes related to vehicles, including stolen and vandalized vehicles. Traffic accidents and illegal parking are other issues related to vehicles.

The new captain would like to see a continuation, and strengthening, of communications between the people in the neighborhood and city agencies, such as the SF Department of Public Works, SF Department of Traffic and Parking and Operation Outreach, which works with the homeless population.

Operation Outreach provides homeless people with information where they can receive shelter or medical assistance. Fotinos remarked that it is vital for people in the neighborhood to alert the police about what is going on and not to assume the police are aware of all problematic situations in the area.

"It is better to report twice rather than not at all," said Fotinos.

Fotinos said he hopes the public will attend the monthly community/police forum held at the Richmond Police Station to voice their concerns.

According to Fotinos, the meetings provide an opportunity for people of the Richmond District to have an ongoing dialogue with officers at the station as to their concerns. He feels strongly that such meetings will continue to help the police do their job effectively and keep the neighborhood safe.

The forum is held at the Richmond Station, located at 461 Sixth Ave., the third Tuesday of the month, at 7 p.m. For more information about the meeting, call the station at 666-8000. There is also information on the SF Police Department's Web site.