Capt. Richard Corriea: Police Beat

The officers at Richmond Station endeavor each day to make the district safer for pedestrians and motorists. Of the several public safety challenges we have in the Richmond, pedestrian and motorist safety is probably the single-most issue that folks bring to the station's attention. There are many traffic safety tactics that we use, including arrests, citations, warnings and education.

For public education, we utilize articles, such as this one, public meetings and deployment of our speed-indicating trailer. Our approach to traffic safety is comprehensive but its most important aspect is that it is dynamic. We are constantly assessing our calls for service to discern collision trends and every day we identify from the data three different locations where we feel officers should focus their traffic enforcement efforts in order to have the greatest impact. This is in addition to the regular enforcement that officers take within their patrol sectors.

We will continue this strategy; however, in a continuing effort to improve safety, we are going to try some new strategies. These strategies are the collaborative product of our police district's Community Advisory Board.

For several months we have been meeting to design approaches to traffic safety using traditional police responses along with innovative community-based ideas. We will be analyzing traffic collision data covering the last two full calendar years and then deploy officers based on the data. Each week we will issue an internal program calendar setting out the locations where the officers will be deployed each day and the activities they will be doing.

We will also be glad to utilize the officers based on your input as to where people are not driving safely. Please call me or e-mail me with any locations that you think may need some attention. Community Advisory Board members asked that the officers focus some time on infractions, such as talking on cell phones while driving, following too closely and unsafe lane changes. Some days we will be issuing warning materials to bicyclists who commit infractions and citing riders who engage in unsafe activities, such as speeding or committing blatant right of way violations.

Some of our enforcement activities will be educational in nature and the officers will be encouraged to stop vehicles and issue warnings in appropriate cases. Because inattention is so often a factor in collisions, Richmond station officers have issued 282 citations this year to motorists using cellular telephones without a hands-free device. The combined total citations for this infraction this year for all the police stations in the City is 694.

Richmond Station's efforts account for 40 percent of the citywide total and we lead every other station in this type of enforcement. We brought this fact to the attention of the media and both the SF Examiner and NBC-11 ran stories reporting on our neighborhood's commitment to traffic safety and notifying motorists that unsafe driving in the Richmond carries a high risk of sanction. Remember, motorists under 18 years of age are prohibited from using a cellular telephone, even in a hands free mode.

So far this year, Richmond Station officers have issued a total of 3,623 citations for moving violations. That number includes 114 citations for speeding, 227 for running red lights and 366 for stop sign violations. These types of violations often precipitate serious collisions.

Richmond Station officers continue to be vigilant for motorists who drive while intoxicated. The year-to-date DUI arrests stand at 42. The combined citywide total is 209 DUI arrests for the same period. Richmond Station leads the City in arrests for this crime. Each arrest potentially saves a life.

Bay to Breakers
As all of you know, the 99th running of the Bay to Breakers took place on Sunday, May 16. The race itself was a well-managed event and our police resources were adequate to deal with the crowds and traffic issues presented. The race sponsors provided funding for more than 50 officers to police the areas of the race in the Richmond and to deal with the expected zaniness and merriment that is part of this iconic event.

The Footstock event was held on Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive this year rather than at the Polo Fields. This change presented some policing challenges but ultimately worked out fine. The day, however, really included two events - the organized race and the miles-long street party along John F. Kennedy Drive that followed. The latter seemed to me to be particularly bad this year.

In the Richmond the number of intoxicated people roaming around the park and adjacent neighborhood streets presented us with significant public safety concerns well into the late afternoon. The crowds of raucous drunks, some of whom engaged in felonious behavior, marred this otherwise fun annual event. The problems that we encountered this year will be a significant part of the conversation as we plan for policing and making next May's 100th anniversary of the Bay to Breakers a safe event.

On May 19, I attended the annual George Washington High School Alumni Hall of Merit Dinner at the Cliff House with about a hundred other Washington grads. School Principal Ericka Lovrin told us about some of the financial challenges affecting the school and her successful efforts to restore school district funding for some of the school's most important programs.

She has also started the "George for George" fund-raising campaign and committed herself to raising $1 million for our school. She is asking for a dollar from every person she meets. Kudos to Lovrin and her grassroots approach to public service. If you would like to help out, please call the school at (415) 750-8400.

Please join us at our next Police Community Relations Forum at Richmond Station (461 Sixth Ave.) on June 15, at 1 p.m. Richmond Station distributes an e-mail newsletter every Friday, which contains information about recent crimes, arrests and upcoming events in the district. To be added to this list, please e-mail us at [email protected].

Capt. Richard Corriea is the commanding officer at the Richmond Station.