South San Francisco Police Department
Chief Jeff Azzopardi welcomes you to the South San Francisco Police Department online. The South San Francisco Police Department serves a population of over 60,000 residents, and nearly 100,000 people who work here during the week.
The city of South San Francisco is strategically located on the west shore of the San Francisco Bay, in northern San Mateo county, 10 miles south of San Francisco. The city is also located along the Bay Area's main transportation routes, including Highways 101, 280, Caltrain, and San Francisco International Airport. South San Francisco is the birthplace of the biotechnology industry, housing over 80 companies on some 3.5 million square feet.
The South San Francisco Police Department is allotted 83 sworn and 35 civilian positions and is divided into two Divisions: Operations and Services. The Operations Division includes Patrol, Investigations and Traffic. The Services Division includes Communications, Records and Community Relations. Each Division is commanded by a Captain.
The Department's philosophy is one of participative management, with a high degree of emphasis on training and education. It employs team and community-oriented policing and problem-solving concepts and recognizes the importance of staying contemporary with technological advances.
Merchants, city officials, residents and visitors to the South San Francisco downtown area expressed concerns regarding the need for increased patrol specifically in the downtown area. Concerns varied from transients loitering in the area, traffic congestion, suspicious persons/vehicles at closing times, and criminal activity such as gang activity, narcotics activity and graffiti. Downtown merchants have also just requested more of a police presence in the area.
The South San Francisco Police Department Downtown Bicycle Patrol's mission is to better the quality of life in the downtown area. We launch an aggressive campaign each summer to make the downtown area a safer and more hospitable area for all.
The Downtown Bicycle Patrol works with all who work in, live in or visit the downtown area by educating and enforcing proper and legal behavior. This mission is accomplished by speaking with citizens, distributing information, warnings and proper enforcement. We initiate security meetings with the various merchants in the downtown area in order to educate them and their employees regarding taking appropriate security measures. We continuously monitor and enforce the transient encampments in the area.
The Community Relations Sergeant is assigned to the Services Division of the Police Department. The CR Sergeant is responsible for many aspects within the department. Such as:
Press Information Officer – spokesperson for the police department and liaison with the press
Taxi cab permits – perform back ground checks on all taxi drivers and issuing permits to them
Solicitor's permits – review applications for non profits, individuals and businesses that want to sell/solicit door to door and issue permits to them
Carnival/Festival permits – review and issue permits for schools, churches and other organizations to hold a carnival or festival
Dance Hall permits – review and approve parties and mandate security for each event
Bingo permits – review and audit all bingo games and issue yearly permits to non profit organizations
Commendations – review and approve all citizen and police officer commendations
Carrying concealed weapons permits – review and interview all residents who request to have a "concealed weapons" permit
Security guard companies – review and approve all security guard companies who do business in SSF and ensure all the proper insurances and permits are on file.
Telephone calls are often received from residents concerned about crime in their neighborhood and/or people who are interested in purchasing a home in SSF and want to know more about the particular area they want to purchase in.
Schools often call the CR Sergeant to arrange tours for their students at the PD. Businesses also call requesting PD appearance for talks regarding crime prevention and safety information for their employees.
The Criminal Investigations Bureau is responsible for the investigative follow up of all incident reports generated by Patrol, to ensure every report written receives the proper case closure. The Detectives in the Criminal Investigation Division work diligently to solve crimes reported to Patrol.
The Criminal Investigations Bureau is allotted for one Detective Sergeant and eight Detectives. Five of the Detectives are generalist investigators, who may investigate both Crimes against Property and Crimes against Persons.
Detectives assigned to Crimes against Property investigate such acts as burglary, auto theft, financial transaction fraud, and identity theft.
Detectives assigned to the Crimes against Persons unit investigate armed robberies, murder, aggravated assault, rape, family violence and other crimes against the person.
The remaining three Detectives are assigned to the following Task Forces: San Mateo County Narcotics Task Force, San Mateo County Vehicle Theft Task Force, and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) Task Force.
All Detectives hold the parallel rank of Corporal when assigned to Patrol.
The History of The SSFPD K-9 Unit
In 1967, Chief of Police John Fabbri recognized the benefit of K-9's in law enforcement. In response to the growing industrial area in South San Francisco he began to explore the feasibility of a K-9 program in the Department. He assigned Capt. Dave Casey to research various K-9 programs and make a recommendation. Later that year, based on the recommendation of Capt. Casey, Officer Stanley "Nick" Bennett and his K-9 partner "Gildo" began patrolling the streets of the city.
Gildo, a two-year-old German Shepherd, was imported for the police department from Germany. Gildo came to the police department already trained in the aspects of police K-9 activities. Following a brief training period he and Officer Bennett began working together on patrol. Their primary responsibilities were patrolling the industrial area, responding to potentially hazardous calls and searching buildings and open areas for suspects.
Expanding the Unit
Based on the accomplishments of "Gildo" and his successor "Roy", Chief of Police James Datzman decided to expand the K-9 Unit to include another dog and handler. Officer Don Culbertson and "Dyjac" began patrolling the streets in 1976. In 1979 the program was further expanded to five K-9 teams, thus providing essentially 24 hour availability of K-9 services to the patrol force.
Over the years, the dogs of the South San Francisco Police Department K-9 Unit have progressed to the point that they are relied on to perform many different duties. Their duties have expanded from when they were used specifically to search for suspects to being proficient in many different areas. Dogs of the K-9 Unit today have the capabilities to search for discarded items (evidence), search for narcotics and track both suspects and lost children. They are expected to be aggressive when necessary, yet gentle around the general public. No one is sure why the dogs perform so willingly to all the tasks asked of them. However, anyone who has been a handler is confident that it is because of the love and respect that the dog has for his or her handler.
The K-9-Handler Relationship
The dedication of K-9 handlers is unsurpassed by any other unit in the Police Department. Handlers, who are selected based on their interest in the program and their demonstrated ability to be resourceful and tenacious when dealing with crime, are expected to put forward the extra effort needed. Handlers are expected to attend training twice a week (6 to 8 hours). They generally are in attendance on their days off, after or before their shifts and, in many cases, have attended training when they were on vacation. From the handlers perspective the rewards are worth the extra effort. Nothing makes a K-9 handler prouder than to take a suspect into custody knowing that without the assistance of the dog the suspect most likely would have escaped. For this, handlers work in the rain with their car windows down and with a wet dog shaking water on them harder than it is raining outside. Handlers climb mountains following the energetic dog who uses his four feet to their two. They search dirty and cluttered warehouses and under buildings where other officers refuse to go. They do all of this and more in the hopes of having their K-9 partner capture an alluding criminal.
Here to Stay
Since its inception, the K-9 Unit has made a significant impact on the community. K-9 Officers and their dogs have made hundreds of public demonstrations to educate the public in the benefits of the K-9 program. Scores of criminals have been captured, where without the assistance of the dogs they would have most likely eluded the searching police officers. Twenty-eight different officers have been assigned to the K-9 Unit, utilizing 25 different dogs since 1967. Thousands of miles have been patrolled through both industrial and residential areas. The secure feeling of seeing the "police dog" patrolling their city has touched many citizens.
The South San Francisco Police Department Patrol Division is the primary provider of police services for the residents of South San Francisco. The Patrol Division consists of over 40 officers who cover the 11 square miles of the City on a 24-hour basis. Patrol Division personnel are prepared to respond to both emergency and non-emergency calls for service in each of the City's four patrol "beats." Patrol Officers are assigned to specific beats for six-month periods to enhance their knowledge of, and familiarity with, their respective neighborhoods and commercial areas.
The Patrol Division provides continuous availability of field units to respond to calls for service, provide visible patrol throughout the City, detect and apprehend persons actively involved in criminal activity, recover and return lost and stolen property, provide for the safe movement of vehicular and pedestrian traffic, investigate criminal offenses, and attempt to reduce both immediate and potentially hazardous situations to the community.
The South San Francisco Police Department Special Weapons and Tactics (S.W.A.T.) Team was developed in 1997 in order to provide an effective tactical police response to critical life-threatening situations, including armed and (or) barricaded suspects, hostage situations, snipers, ambushes, high-risk warrant service, V.I.P. security, or other unusual situations. S.W.A.T. is designed to handle any incident that has a propensity for armed confrontations, which through containment and specialized tactics, would more likely be resolved without injury or loss of life.
The South San Francisco S.W.A.T. team is part of the North-Central Regional S.W.A.T. Team comprised of sworn police officers from the Brisbane, Burlingame, Foster City, Hillsborough, San Mateo, San Bruno and South San Francisco police departments. This regional team also consists of H.N.T. (Hostage Negotiation Team) members, tactical dispatchers, and tactical fire/paramedics. This entire unit is available for activation 24 hours a day, and can provide assistance to any law enforcement agency within San Mateo County.
To become a member of the S.W.A.T. team, an officer must go through a rigorous selection process that includes a formal application, performance review, physical fitness test, marksmanship qualification, oral interview, and administrative approval. The officer must pass an intense two-week basic S.W.A.T. school taught by F.B.I., S.W.A.T. and U.S. Military Special Forces instructors. Team members participate in monthly training exercises, and must pass and maintain physical and shooting standards on a quarterly basis. S.W.A.T. team members are often selected to specialize in various areas, including sniper / observers, tactical K-9 operations, and mechanical breaching. Specific members of the S.S.F.P.D. / N.C.R. S.W.A.T. team also belong to the San Mateo County Terrorism Counter-Assault Team (T-CAT). This unit is one of the first specialized units in the United States that trains to conduct tactical operations in environments that have been affected by a weapons of mass destruction attack (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosive).
The S.W.A.T. team is equipped with specialized weaponry and equipment necessary for a variety of tactical missions. The team maintains and deploys the Colt M-4 and AR-15 assault rifles, G.A. Precision GAP-10 sniper rifles, and Heckler and Koch MP-5 sub-machine guns. Handguns include Glock, Sig-Sauer, and Heckler and Koch .45 caliber and 9mm pistols. Specialty impact munitions and chemical agents can be deployed utilizing 40mm launchers. Other equipment includes night vision devices, lighting systems, shields, bunkers, breaching tools, noise/flash diversion devices, tactical robots and other mission specific tools. The team also has the capability to deploy command vehicles and Bearcat / MRAP armored rescue vehicles in response to tactical incidents.
Officers of the South San Francisco can apply and be assigned to specialized task forces throughout the County of San Mateo. The task forces consist of the San Mateo County Narcotics Task Force (NTF), the San Mateo County Vehicle Theft Task Force (VTTF), the Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team (REACT), the San Mateo County Gang Task Force (GTF), and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
The San Mateo County Sheriff's Office and other member San Mateo County Police Agencies previously entered into an agreement to form the NTF. The NTF has been in operation for over twenty years and has made a major impact in narcotic activity in San Mateo County. The NTF is comprised of Special Agents from the Sheriff's Office and various City police departments as well as Federal Agencies. The formation of the unit was to coordinate efforts between Cities and to make narcotics enforcement more efficient, as no one agency could handle the enforcement of narcotics laws within the County on its own.
The VTTF is comprised of special agents assigned from the Sheriff's Office, California Highway Patrol, and various City police departments on a rotating basis. VTTF coordinates the activities of county and regional State law enforcement agencies involved in the prevention of vehicle thefts; provides intensive theft detection, criminal investigation, surveillance, apprehension and arrest of suspects involved in vehicle theft activity.
REACT is a partnership of 16 local, state and federal agencies, with the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office designated as the lead agency. The REACT Task Force is one of five in the State of California and authorized under California Penal Code 13848 which is the intent of Legislature to provide local law enforcement and district attorneys with the tools and training necessary to successfully interdict the proliferation of high technology crime.
The South San Francisco Police Department has also joined in partnership with the Drug Enforcement Administration, San Francisco Field Division, and assigned one officer and his/her drug detection canine to this Federal Law Enforcement Organization. The officer and the canine along with Special Agents are responsible for interdicting drugs and the proceeds of drugs sales entering and leaving the Bay Area to other cities throughout the United States.
The San Mateo County Gang Task Force is comprised of officers from every agency in the county including the probation department. During the summer months more than 25 officers are assigned to this task force and patrol the entire county combating gang activities through enforcement and probation and parole searches. The task force has a modified schedule during the rest of the year.
San Mateo Gang Intelligence Unit is has members from the Sheriff's Office and three local police departments. Their function is to develop, analyze and collate all information involving gang members in the county, pass that on to all the departments and assist with enforcement efforts.
In addition to protecting life and property as peace officers and public officers, the Traffic/Motor Unit's duty is to enforce the street traffic regulations of the City of South San Francisco, enforce the State's vehicle laws applicable to traffic, make arrests for traffic violations, and to investigate traffic accidents.
The Unit cooperates with the traffic engineer and other Departments in developing ways and means to improve traffic conditions and traffic safety.
Neighborhood Response Team
The South San Francisco Police Department Neighborhood Response Team (NRT) is a unique unit that was created to build and maintain effective communication between the Police Department and members of the community. The overriding objective of the NRT is to improve the safety of our neighborhoods and enhance the quality of life for our residents.
Community outreach and a "zero tolerance" policy toward gang activity are the cornerstones of the NRT mission. Officers assigned to the NRT strive to create positive relationships with members of the community by conducting foot patrols in the residential areas, contacting business owners and employees, facilitating community meetings, and initiating positive interactions with the children in our neighborhoods. The NRT officers also strive to increase safety in our community through diligent gang suppression and proactive law enforcement activities.
NRT Goals & Objectives
The NRT is made up of three Officers and one Sergeant. The operation of the unit is overseen by a Lieutenant who responds directly to the Chief of Police. The NRT endeavors to saturate neighborhoods with a balance of community outreach and enforcement activities. NRT officers are responsible for working closely with members of the community to address current concerns and to prevent future problems before they develop. Officers also work closely with other City departments and the School District in a cooperative effort to improve our neighborhoods.
Citizens are encouraged to contact the NRT to report neighborhood problems or concerns, coordinate and facilitate community meetings, establish Neighborhood Watch programs, or to develop other ways to create and maintain a healthy community. The Police Department is dedicated to improving the quality of life for all those who live, work, and visit the City of South San Francisco, and the Neighborhood Response Team is committed to that goal.
To Contact the Neighborhood Response Team:
Telephone: (650) 877-8937