Operations

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OPERATIONS

Criminal Investigations

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.

 

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Downtown Bike Patrol

 
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.

 

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K-9

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 epand 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.

 

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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 
Establish and maintain a cooperative relationship between the community and the Police Department based on mutual trust and respect.
Maintain the safety and security of our neighborhoods through proactive law enforcement activities.
Zero tolerance for gang activity is of paramount importance.
Improve citizen access to information and resources that support the community.
Educate community members about ways to build and maintain healthy neighborhoods.
Empower residents and business owners to effect positive change in their community.
Build positive relationships with children to help them make better life choices and avoid violence and substance abuse.
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 

 

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Patrol

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.

 

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SWAT / Hostage Negotiations Team

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.

 

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Traffic / Motors

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. 

Abandoned Vehicles on Public Roadways

M.C. 11.40.160 Use of streets for storage of vehicle prohibited: 
(a) It is unlawful for any person who owns or has possession of any motor vehicle to park such vehicle upon any public street, lane, or parking lot for more that a consecutive period of seventy-two hours.

(b) In the event a vehicle is parked or left standing upon a public street, lane, or parking lot in excess of a consecutive period of seventy-two hours, any employee of the police department. Authorized by the chief of police, may remove the vehicle from the street in the manner and subject to the requirements of the Vehicle Code. (Ord. 1109/2(part), 1992)

In summary, vehicles cannot be parked on the public street for more than 72-hours! The Police Department issues courtesy notices to vehicles that are suspected of being "abandoned." Officers also chalk the tires, obtain an odometer reading, and measure the location of the car on the street. The mere pushing or rolling of the vehicle does not constitute "moving." Help fight blight and keep our neighborhoods clean! 

Abandoned Vehicle Hotline: Call (650) 829-3939 to report any abandoned vehicles on public property. We will investigate your report promptly.

 

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Removal of Abandoned Vehicles from Private Party

8.48.010 M.C.
Under most circumstances, the South San Francisco Police Department cannot cite and/or tow "Abandoned Vehicles" from private property parking lots. The Police Department will help advise you on what to do when someone abandons a car on your private property parking lot. 

Suggestion for what a private property owner and/or manager can do to remove an abandoned car from private property:
Ensure that your private property parking lot is posted with the proper signs. See below for required signage details. 

Call the tow company of your choice. There are several reputable tow companies in the Northern San Mateo County area. Sorry, the Police Department cannot refer you to a specific tow company. 

The property owner/manager negotiates with the tow company regarding the price of tow/vehicle removal. Shop around; the price/bill for towing abandoned/illegally parked vehicles varies from company to company. 

Some abandoned vehicles in parking lots may be stolen and just dumped there. You can call the Police Department at (650) 877-8900 with the license plate number or VIN and we will tell you if the car is reported as stolen. The Police Department will recover and tow away all stolen vehicles without any tow charges to you. 

8.48.010 M.C.: Nuisance Declared – Vehicle Abatements

The Police Department has the authority to remove some types of "Abandoned Vehicles" from private property when: The vehicle is worth less than $500, is a potential health or safety hazard, and is an attractive nuisance. This "Abatement" process is time consuming (approximately 30 days) and is expensive. Tow fees, along with police administrative fees, will be passed along to the property owner for payment. These costs are typically much higher than the private property tow procedure outlined above. In summary, it takes much longer and is more expensive for the Police Department to tow a qualifying "Abandoned Vehicle" from private property. 

Private Property Parking Lot Signage per 22658 CVC (in part)

  1. Prepare a sign containing the wording, "PRIVATE PROPERTY PARKING FOR________________ ONLY." Violators will be towed away at the owner's expense per 22658 (a) CVC. South San Francisco Police Department (650) 877-8900.
  2. The size of the sign must not be less that seventeen inches (17") vertically and twenty-two inches (22") horizontally, and the lettering may not be less than one inch (1") in height and must be in contrasting colors.
  3. Post the signs at each entrance to the parking lot in plain view of anyone entering the property. The signs must be completely legible.

For questions regarding this somewhat confusing property private property parking issue, call the Traffic/Motor Unit supervisor at (650) 829-3934. 

 

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C.A.R.E: Community Assisted Radar Enforcement

The C.A.R.E. program was implemented several years ago in order to address speeding vehicles in our neighborhoods. Citizens are encouraged to call the Police Department and report problem areas where vehicles are speeding. The Police Department will then deploy our radar signboard; pictured left. If the problem persists, the Police Department will assign a patrol officer with a radar/laser gun to the area and citations will be issued. 

If you have any questions, comments, or complaints, please call the Traffic Sergeant at (650) 829-3934. 

 

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Wireless Telephone Laws FAQ's

Two new laws dealing with the use of wireless telephones while driving go into effect July 1, 2008. Below is a list of Frequently Asked Questions concerning these new laws. 

Q: When do the new wireless telephone laws take effect? 
A: The new laws take effect July 1, 2008. 

Q: What is the difference between the two laws? 
A: The first prohibits all drivers from using a handheld wireless telephone while operating a motor vehicle. (Vehicle Code (VC) §23123). Motorists 18 and over may use a hands-free device. Drivers under the age of 18 may NOT use a wireless telephone or hands-free device while operating a motor vehicle(VC §23124). 

Q: What if I need to use my telephone during an emergency, and I do not have a hands- free device? 
A: The law allows a driver to use a wireless telephone to make emergency calls to a law enforcement agency, a medical provider, the fire department, or other emergency services agency. 

Q: What are the fines if I'm convicted? 
A: The base fine for the FIRST offense is $20 and $50 for subsequent convictions. According to the Uniform Bail and Penalty Schedule, with the addition of penalty assessments, a first offense is $76 and a second offense is $190. 

Q: Will I receive a point on my drivers license if I'm convicted for a violation of the wireless telephone law? 
A: NO. The violation is a reportable offense: however, DMV will not assign a violation point. 

Q: Will the conviction appear on my driving record? 
A: Yes, but the violation point will not be added. 

Q: Will there be a grace period when motorists will only get a warning? 
A: NO. The law becomes in effect on July 1, 2008. Whether a citation is issued is always at the discretion of the officer based upon his or her determination of the most appropriate remedy for the situation. 

Q: Are passengers affected by this law? 
A: No. This law only applies to the person driving a motor vehicle. 

Q: Do these laws apply to out-of-state drivers whose home states do not have such laws? 
A: Yes. 

Q: Can I be pulled over by a law enforcement officer for using my handheld wireless telephone? 
A: YES. A law enforcement officer can pull you over just for this infraction. 

Q: What if my phone has a push-to-talk feature, can I use that? 
A: No. The law does provide an exception for those operating a commercial motor truck or truck tractor (excluding pickups), implements of husbandry, farm vehicle or tow truck, to use a two-way radio operated by a "push-to-talk" feature. 

Q: What other exceptions are there? 
A: Operators of an authorized emergency vehicle during the course of employment are exempt as are those motorists operating a vehicle on private property 

Drivers 18 & Over 
Drivers 18 and over will be allowed to use a hands-free device to talk on their wireless telephone while driving. The following FAQs apply to those motorists 18 and over. 

Q: Does the new "hands-free" law prohibit you from dialing a wireless telephone while driving or just talking on it? 
A: The new law does not prohibit dialing, but drivers are strongly urged not to dial while driving. 

Q: Will it be legal to use a Blue Tooth or other earpiece? 
A: Yes, however you cannot have BOTH ears covered. 

Q: Does the new hands-free law allow you to use the speaker phone function of your wireless telephone while driving? 
A: Yes. 

Q: Does the new "hands-free" law allow drivers 18 and over to text page while driving? 
A: The law does not specifically prohibit that, but an officer can pull over and issue a citation to a driver of any age if, in the officer's opinion, the driver was distracted and not operating the vehicle safely. Text paging while driving is unsafe at any speed and is strongly discouraged. 

Drivers Under 18
Q: Am I allowed to use my wireless telephone hands free? 
A: NO. Drivers under the age of 18 may not use a wireless telephone, pager, laptop or any other electronic communication or mobile services device to speak or text while driving in any manner, even hands free. EXCEPTION: Permitted in emergency situations to call police, fire or medical authorities. (VC §23124). 

Q: Why is the law stricter for provisional drivers? 
A: Statistics show that teen drivers are more likely than older drivers to be involved in crashes because they lack driving experience and tend to take greater risks. Teen drivers are vulnerable to driving distractions such as talking with passengers, eating or drinking, and talking or texting on wireless phones, which increase the chance of getting involved in serious vehicle crashes. 

Q: Can my parents give me permission to allow me to use my wireless telephone while driving? 
A: NO. The only exception is an emergency situation that requires you to call a law enforcement agency, a health care provider, the fire department or other emergency agency entity. 

Q: Does the law apply to me if I'm an emancipated minor? 
A: Yes. The restriction applies to all licensed drivers who are under the age of 18. 

Q: If I have my parent(s) or someone age 25 years or older in the car with me, may I use my wireless telephone while driving? 
A: NO. You may only use your wireless telephone in an emergency situation. 

Q: Will the restriction appear on my provisional license? 
A: No. 

Q: May I use the hands-free feature while driving if my car has the feature built in? 
A: NO. The law prohibits anyone under the age of 18 from using any type of wireless device while driving, except in an emergency situation. 

Q: Can a law enforcement officer stop me for using my hands-free device while driving? 
A: No. For drivers under the age of 18, this is considered a SECONDARY violation meaning that a law enforcement officer may cite you for using a hands-free wireless phone if you were pulled over for another violation. However, the prohibition against using a handheld wireless telephone while driving is a PRIMARY violation for which a law enforcement officer can pull you over.

 

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Pay SSFPD Parking Tickets On-Line

Anybody who received parking tickets from the South San Francisco Police Department can now pay their citations on-line with a credit card.

The website is www.pticket.com/ssf.

The secure parking ticket website is simple. Just enter the Citation Numberand follow the step-by-step instructions. Please note that a $3.00 charge is added for using the on-line method.

People can still pay via check or money order by mail without the extra charge.

A toll-free number is being set-up to allow people to pay on the phone with a credit card. More information about the toll-free number to follow soon. 

 

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Radar Speed Feedback Signs

The South San Francisco Police Department will install Radar Speed Feedback Signs at eight separate locations within the city that were identified as the most critical to the safety of our school children. 

The slated locations are westbound Appian Way, westbound McClellan Drive, eastbound Avalon Drive, westbound South San Francisco Drive, eastbound Sister Cities Boulevard, northtbound Willow Avenue, northtbound Rosewood Drive, and southbound Callan Boulevard

The Radar Speed Feedback Signs will enhance the safety of school children around elementary school areas and remind drivers of their travel speed in school zones. In addition, these signs provide a tool for motorists so that they can watch their speed.

In addition to the Radar Speed Feedback Signs installation, the Police Department will focus traffic enforcement at designated areas within the city and on increasing seat belt compliance. The Radar Speed Feedback Signs and enforcement are provided by a traffic safety grant from the California State Office of Traffic Safety. The city will begin installations of the Radar Speed Feedback Signs upon delivery for the purpose of increasing traffic safety awareness with motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists. 

 

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Parking Commercial Vehicle in Restricted District

11.40.210
Greetings South San Francisco Resident or Citizen: 
Your vehicle is parked in a residential area on the public roadway and is in violation of one of the following:
A) Overweight (10,000 lbs. or over, Gross Vehicle Weight) 
B) Overall length is 22 feet or over (bumper to bumper) 
C) Overall height is 8' 5" tall or over (bottom to top) 

Signs have been posted throughout the City advising motorists of this new Municipal Code. Citations will be issued beginning 12/15/06 (Fine is $35.00 per violation). If you have any questions or comments, please call the Traffic Sergeant at (650) 829-3934. 

Full Text of Ordinance is below: 

11.40.210 Parking commercial vehicle in restricted districts. 
It is unlawful for any person to park any commercial vehicle (as defined by California Vehicle Code Section 260) in excess of two consecutive hours on any public street in any residential district as follows:

(a) Any commercial vehicle having a manufacturer's gross vehicle weight of ten 
thousand pounds or more; or 
(b) Any commercial vehicle or combination of vehicles twenty-two feet or more in 
overall length; or 
(c) Any commercial vehicle, load, or any portion of said commercial vehicle over 
eight feet five inches in overall height measured from the surface upon which 
the vehicle stands. 

This section does not apply to any commercial vehicle making pickups or deliveries of goods, wares, and merchandise from or to any building or structure located in a residential district, or when such vehicle is parked in connection with and in aid of the performance of a service to property in the district, or for the purpose of delivering materials to be used in the actual and bona fide repair, alteration, remodeling, or construction of any structure for which a building permit has previously been obtained, when time in addition to the two-hour period is necessary to complete such work. (Ord. 1375 1, 2006: Ord. 1241 § 1 1999: Ord. 1109 § 2 (part), 1992) 

 

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