Letter Re: Lessons Learned While Living in San Francisco


After reading this article, I was terribly, terribly incensed at SFPD/OPD. I am a former law enforcement officer from Southern California, and I now work in insurance, handling claims from the Bay Area. Stories like these are unfortunately very common (except for the heroic and dynamic recovery by the author). Hit and run, non-injury accidents, vandalism, and theft from vehicles are basically ignored. My professional advise is not to bother with calling the police unless a suspect is known. The fact that I have to give that advise upsets me to no end.

It’s not hard to have good police; it’s really not. I’m from a medium-sized sheriff’s office that took every traffic accident on city streets, took basically any report you wanted, responded to every call, and would come to you to take the report. On top of all this, we maintained a very safe county and had the public’s respect.

I fail to understand why Oakland PD, SFPD, and their counterparts have just “given up”. They have the money, they have the resources, yet they simply choose not to police well. They ignore the minor quality of life stuff that adds up to big crime later on. I’m just baffled that they don’t bother to even try. The police in these places now are mainly just enforcing the status quo and interested in only major crimes or serious emergencies.

Living in Las Vegas now, our last sheriff chose to stop responding to minor traffic accidents because of cost reasons, but really it was retaliation for not approving his sales tax increase. My point is that it’s a choice of the police executives to, frankly, stink at policing. New York, under Mayor Guliani, cleaned up pretty well (to an extreme) by a conscious choice to improve policing.

Good for our intrepid author for taking the law into his own hands, and it’s a shame he couldn’t be armed to protect himself. My advice as a former cop and insurance adjuster: don’t bother with lame police departments. Again, I’ll reiterate: it’s not hard to have good police; it’s really not.

The worst part is that a lot of cops feel “sold out” by their departments who do this kind of non-sense. It’s easy for them to get burned out and stop caring.

I guess working in customer service gave me a new perspective what you can do for people and how going the extra mile really does change stuff. Cops are in such a good position to be great ambassadors and a wonderful resource for the public, but bad leadership, poor policies, and “that’s not my job” syndrome hampers it. Or maybe the fault is mine; I should have worked for an agency that shot more dogs and unarmed suspects. Silly me and my high expectations! Signed, – G.C.

Hugh Adds: Judging by the responses SurvivalBlog received, I think it’s also important to point out a couple of things as well. As the great pistol masters have often opined in their teaching for concealed carry, awareness of your surroundings is critically important. We tend to think that that simple pane of glass is a security deterrent, but it only keeps honest people out, not the real criminals. Think of it as more of a suggestion than a deterrent. We shouldn’t place valuables within sight, and we should be more observant of our surroundings. It’s also important to point out that chasing down the perpetrator is a personal decision. Some people run out of a building on fire, and some of us run into them. If you are not comfortable chasing the perp down and reasonably confident of your safety, let it go. Your life is worth more than a couple thousand dollars.