South San Francisco, CA July 29, 2016
“Every time he goes out in uniform I worry” Brenda Rodriquez said as she stood before the City Council last Wednesday evening during a community showing of support of our police officers. Brenda, the mother of two little ones and the Vice President of the SSF Mother’s Club is the wife of a police officer from another City. “While I don’t know you personally, I know you are family. I know the hardships. And I thank you for your service” she said to Captain Ron Carlino as he accepted the hand made thank you cards local children had made for this occasion.
The current climate in our society has witnessed the murder of several police officers across our country in the recent past causing alarm as these instances follow no set pattern. Some have happened during routine traffic stops or ambushes or when officers are attempting to arrest a suspect. More and more police departments are reporting a shortage of officers due to retirement and the list of new recruits can be seen dwindling in some areas. What happens if good people who would make fine officers decide to follow another career path instead of putting their life on the line when there is so much negative pushback on this industry as a whole? What happens if our officers decide to do something else, and who could blame them? What would happen if we cannot continue to attract the best of the best to police our communities?
If ever there was a time to show our support for our officers, now is that time. To that end Everything South City invited neighbors from across the City to participate in a show of support for our officers at the July 27th council meeting. Not wanting to attract those who might come to protest or to undermine our efforts, we did not put out a public notice encouraging others to attend. We did not want to risk that our efforts might take a turn against what is needed: Community support for our officers. That, in and of itself, speaks volumes about the state of our society today.
Following the lead from Pacifica resident Mimi Quirate (Mimi’s Angels) over a dozen South City folks came together to assemble and pack OFFICER SURVIVAL KITS. Each bag contained the following:
LIFESAVERS To remind you of the many times you’ve been one
STARBURST For the burst of energy that you need
PAYDAY Because you’re not doing it for the money
HERSHEY KISSES To show our love for you
GUM To help everyone stick together
TOOTSIE ROLL ‘Cuz you have to roll with the punches
PEPPERMINT PATTY Helping you keep your cool
SNICKERS To help you keep your sense of humor
BIG HUNK To show a BIG HUNK of appreciation
In addition to the 100 officer survival kits, a selection of goodies in zip lock bags with similar notes as above, were left in the Council Chambers with the encouragement that others would use these to hand out as ‘random acts of kindness’ to officers they meet daily. It’s only one small way to show support. Not wanting to leave anyone out, the group also assembled K9 Appreciation Bags that included dog treats, thanks to community volunteer Bonnie Joy from the Avalon Park neighborhood.
PRESENTATION BEFORE CITY COUNCIL
The Council Chambers were full on Wednesday July 27th as community members showed up in support of our police and over a dozen of them made their way to the podium to offer words of appreciation. Neighbors from Brentwood, Southwood, Avalon, Francisco Terrace, Mayfair Village, Sunshine Gardens, Paradise Valley, Winston Manor, Westborough, Sterling Terrace, Parkway, Old Town, and beyond were involved in this effort.
Mae Galang explained what was in each bag offering and said “We thank you and appreciate what you do for us every day.” She was accompanied by her husband Ryan and their two sons, Ryan and Chris.
Katy and her twin sister Amy Albera both are Early Childhood Educators at different facilities and came with handfuls of sweet handmade cards created by their students. “Our students really appreciate what our officers do for us” Katy said. “We wanted to come and thank them for all they do, and they do a lot” Amy added.
“I’m from West Winston Manor Association” Sharon Albera announced “And we appreciate all that our officers have done for us, especially the past 15 years with our youth basketball program. And the help we received when our area was hit with burglaries was really appreciated. Thank you especially to Sean (Sgt. Curmi) for all you’ve done”
Park and Recreation Commissioner Kristy Camacho, is also President of the SSF Mothers Club and spoke next offering even more cards made by little ones.”We have over 100 kids and families in our South San Francisco Mothers Club and we are all incredibly thankful to our SSFPD. They put their lives on the line to keep our community a safe and thriving place to raise our families. The men and women of the SSFPD are positive role models and heroes to our children, and we support and appreciate each and every one of them.”
Next up was Shirley Spenser, a Southwood neighborhood resident, who added some humor saying “Well I don’t have any cards to give you” to the laughter of all. Continuing she said “I took that Citizens Academy and I can’t tell you how much I learned. This was great! Sean was our instructor and had so much fun! Thank you to all our officers!”
Cinfonie, from Westborough, was up next and echoed Shirley’s sentiments having been classmates in the 2014 Citizen’s Police Academy. “I’m a resident of South City for over 40 years and I to took the Academy and it was an incredible experience, I recommend everybody to take it. You are meeting all your neighbors, some that might even live around your corner. It was such an eye opener to see what our police do on a daily basis. Taking a ride along with them was a wonderful experience and I just want to thank them for all their help.”
“My name is Cindy Alger from Winston Manor and I just want to thank you guys for all you do for our community” were the words from the West Winston Manor Association.
Another Winston Manor resident, Barbara Rubino, followed Cindy “I’ve been a resident of South City for 63 years, my whole life. We are so blessed to have our police and fire. They have helped me so much through the years, with my mother when she was ill and with my Dad too. And the basketball program in Winston Manor, that really helped with my boys. Thank you”
Barbara’s husband Gary came up next “We have a team effort with the Police and Fire and right now we are talking about the Police. They are part of Christmas party and our Teen Basketball program, they are always willing to come help at every function. We are having National Night Out again this Tuesday and they always appear. I want to thank you for all you do and they deserve all the support from everyone all the time.”
Nalani spoke next stating although she is not a resident of the City, she works for the school district “Last year I was able to be part of the Citizen’s Police Academy and I encourage everyone to take advantage of it. You learn so much! Special thanks to Sgt Sean Curmi for his instruction and to Sgt Matt O’Conner for the ride along” And jokingly added “It was a good ride along although I wish we might have seen some excitement!”
Ana Nastari was up next “I’m from West Winston Manor and I want to thank the officers for helping us kick off our first National Night Out four years ago and we look forward to this next one Tuesday night.Thank you”
Representing our Schools was Trustee Daina Lujan who also gave praise to our officers “I just want to thank you all for what you do to make our schools be safe and a place where they can learn grow and thrive”
Everything South City’s Roger Cain spoke next, introducing himself and remembering “My parents Robert and Helen Cain were very strong supporters of South San Francisco Police Department and I carry on their tradition. Thank you for all you do.” Their family is from Francisco Terrace.
Up next was Mark Nagales of Westborough, who some might call superman as he balances his responsibilities on the SSF Planning Commission and as the Constituent Services Director for Congresswoman Jackie Speier. This on top of being a husband and father with a new little one on the way. “I walk my son and when he sees the police he gets excited and waves. He is so happy when you all wave back. It makes him feel safe.Thank you for all you do.”
Community Leader, Paul Formosa of Avalon Park said, “I’ve lived in this City for over 30 years and I’m glad to have the opportunity to say to you what I have been saying to others for so long: We have one of the most professional well run police departments in the Bay Area. Thank you guys very much – you’re awesome!”
Brenda Rodriquez was up next “I’ve just moved to South City in February and I love this community.” She then went on to explain that as a wife of an officer she knows the what they are up against. “I greatly appreciate all that you guys do, thank you.”
Steve Carey, Interim President of the Avalon/Brentwood Homeowners Association finished the community group’s presentation by saying “Thank you to the officers that went to Baton Rouge to attend the fallen officers services. I believe I speak for not only Avalon Brentwood neighborhoods but for the whole City, that really meant a lot to us, thank you.”
ESC founder Kamala Silva Wolfe thanked the council for allowing us the time and opportunity to express our support to our officers acknowledging part of the reason for coming forth was to encourage others to step up and show their appreciation to our police, especially in these difficult times.
Captain Ron Carlino then spoke on behalf of Chief Azzopardi who was not able to be there that evening, and of all the officers “I want to thank everyone, this was a surprise and it’s been my pleasure to serve this community for 27 years. And I think I speak for everyone when I say thank you and we will continue to do our best to serve our community.”
You can view the council meeting on the City website CLICK HERE (public comments at 4.30min) We have worked to be as accurate with each person’s statements in writing because we know not everyone will watch the video – yet everyone deserves to be heard. And each and every officer deserves to hear the resounding cry Thank you Officers! Your community appreciates and supports you. Stay safe.
SOME WAYS TO SHOW SUPPORT FOR OUR POLICE
SSF CITIZENS POLICE ACADEMY Sign up for the Citizen’s Police Academy – a 12 week course course offered FREE to residents. New academy is forming now so contact Corporal Jason Pfarr as soon as possible to see if you might still get in this year. Should this session be filled you will be put on the list for next year.
Course outline includes: *Introduction & Station Tour *Hiring Process & Internal Affairs, Investigations/FTO *Identity Theft *Narcotic Enforcement *Use of Force * Dispatch, Gangs & Juveniles *K-9 Demo *High Risk Traffic Stops *Street Survival/ SWAT *Pistol Range (YES! You get to actually go to the PD range and practice target shooting!) *Tour the San Mateo County Jail *In addition graduates are invited to ‘RIDE ALONG’ with one of our officers during a shift of their choice – day, swing or night. This additional benefit of the Ride Along brings all of the information given in a classroom setting into real life situations.
NATIONAL NIGHT OUT Arrange for your neighbors to participate in National Night Out, a nation wide event aimed at bringing neighbors out of their homes and onto their streets to meet up with others in their area. It has been proven closer neighborhoods create safer communities and NNO is a great opportunity to catch up with known neighbors and meet new ones. Our Police would be more than happy to come by your event to answer any questions you may have and to help to foster stronger relationships. Contact Corporal Jason Pfarr for more information CLICK HERE. Not to be outdone, our Firefighters are also eager to meet the neighbors they serve and can be available to stop by – give them a shout through the City Office via Rosa Acosta CLICK HERE.
Everything South City is hosting a GAME ON with some great prizes to winners randomly chosen when they comment what their neighborhood is doing for National Night Out. Prizes include RING Video Doorbell Security Device (Val $200) and to help you with your event a $50 gift card for South City Grocery Outlet,(125 Hickey Blvd Shopping Center) $25 worth of goodies from Dynora Bakery & Catering (308 Alida Way) and more.
This years National Night Out is this TUESDAY AUGUST 2ND starting at 6pm – so gather your neighbors now!
SIMPLY SAY THANK YOU
The easiest way to show appreciation is to simply say thank you. Take a moment to let an officer know you appreciate their service. Smile and / or wave as you pass by. Give a nod of your head. Every act of kindness and support goes a long way in a long day that can be filled with additional concern during these trying times.
And remember to always comply when asked by an officer, no matter if you believe the attention is warranted or not. There will be opportunities later to address any concerns you may have. Everyone has a job to do and everyone wants to come home safe.