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Friday, November 6, 2015

Park Station Police Have Zero Tolerance for Weed, Noise, and Sitting on the Sidewalk

Posted By on Fri, Nov 6, 2015 at 1:24 PM

click to enlarge VIA SHUTTERSTOCK
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Today, neighborhood blog Hoodline caught up with Park Station Capt. John Sanford (the steely lawman behind this summer’s Idaho stop shitshow crackdown) to talk petty drug busts.

In the wake of Audrey Carey’s murder in Golden Gate Park last month — and the city's collective freak-out over Haight Street delinquents — the department has proudly reaffirmed its commitment to harassing homeless people, dangerous sidewalk loungers, and folks who just want to get stoned.

Per Hoodline, Park Station’s undercover task force has been busy busting outlaws peddling marijuana, mushrooms, and meth on the street. (We’ll all rest easier knowing that potheads aren’t welcome on Haight-Ashbury anymore.)

There is “no leeway,” Sanford said. “They all go to jail. We book them all.”

Bonus: the department is taking the same hard-ass approach to noise and vagrancy complaints, as well as public urinators and public drunks (the categories probably overlap).

This zero tolerance policy has been effective at occupying officers’ time. Sanford reports a “90 percent drop in quality-of-life offenses” since Oct. 10. Haight Street is now mercifully less overrun with people sitting or sleeping on sidewalks, panhandling, or selling joints and other illicit fare.

Sanford seems intent on exercising his own brand of rogue justice. He notes that the city stopped issuing arrest warrants for court no-shows and now issues fines instead. This means petty criminals continue to menace law-abiding citizens year after year. And, according to Park Station, these criminals bounce between San Francisco, Colorado, pot farms in the Emerald Triangle up north, and Seattle, no doubt spreading terror in their wake.

(Tangentially related, SF Weekly reported yesterday that Prop. 47, the statewide initiative that reclassified certain low-level crimes from felonies to misdemeanors, isn’t behind San Francisco’s rash of auto burglaries and property crimes. And although cops complain that there’s no reason to arrest people for minor offenses anymore, it’s unclear whether they’re actually making fewer arrests.)

In Park Station, at least, Sanford and co. are all about making arrests. Hoodline even alludes to a forthcoming “tech-driven effort” that will likely include the text messaging app Slack designed to “improve communication between police and the community.”

Let's hope it's not another Good Samaritan app like the city's 311, whose latest feature allows citizens to report and photograph homeless people in need of harassment help. 

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Jeremy Lybarger

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