Friday, August 10, 2007

Notes from Northern Station Community Meeting - August

Captain Casciato now leads Northern Station.

Kicking off his tenure, Captain Casciato is taking inventory of the staff and equipment and re-assigning personnel to sectors headed by day and night sergeants who are responsible for their sectors. Cars and beat officers will be assigned within these sectors.

Casciato is bringing in veteran beat officer John Gallagher to train officers on beat work - how to get to know the neighborhood, etc. Casciato is still getting useful information from folks he met as a beat officer.

Casciato called in eight volunteer reserves to assist with shifts from 6pm to 2am from Geary, north to the Marina.

Casciato favors a "front end plan", being able to hold suspects for five days in prostitution, vagrancy and petty larceny cases. The "front end policy" would require state legislation that has not yet been proposed or sponsored.

In the case of prostitution, the idea is to hold the prostitute for five days to allow time for detox, medical and mental treatment and to sever the economic ties to the pimp. The pimp ostensibly would be reluctant to take back a prostitute who had been held for five days because she might be difficult to handle and might have given police information about the pimp.

Currently, when someone who is homeless is picked up for repeated quality of life violations, they are often intoxicated with drugs and/or alcohol. The five day holding period would allow time for them to detox, receive treatment and transportation to services.

Casciato said the police in his district will continue to investigate crimes and make arrests, but wants to make it clear that an arrest represents a societal failure. He favors education over enforcement.

Casciato asked that the community report crimes, even if they are over and you do not believe the police will get an arrest. Reporting helps establish a pattern and helps the police to get and divert resources to address problems.

For complaints about homeless activity, the Captain asks that we call 311. The 311 staff will provide you with a case number that will help all the agencies working on the situation to coordinate and provides better statistical tracking.

Use the 311 number to report DPW items that need repair for public safety - burnt out lights, trees to be trimmed etc. Good conditions will help deter crime.

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