SFPD arrests 50 suspects in 5-hour period during Tenderloin sweep

Image 1 of 2

On a typical day in San Francisco's Tenderloin, police might make 12 arrests.

But during a five-hour period on Wednesday, police arrested 50 people, a "significant amount of arrests in a short amount of time," said Capt. Carl Fabbri, head of the Tenderloin police station.

Most were arrested for outstanding warrants, for crimes ranging from drugs to burglary to assault. Eight of them were parolees.

"We were looking for all types of violations," said Lt. Dean Hall. "Quality of life, misdemeanor and felony, trying to respond to some of the community issues that are ongoing."

But police say arresting people isn't the only solution. KTVU walked along with officers in the Tenderloin.

Hall says officers at Tenderloin Station do make arrests but are also good at outreach.

"Can we connect somebody that has an alcohol problem, a drug problem, or a housing problem, can we connect them or try to help them with those issues?" Hall said. "But also, if there's enforcement that needs to be done, you need a balance act to keep the streets safe."

Those who live and work in the Tenderloin say they're noticing the difference. 

"It is nice to see eventually, slowly but surely it being cleaned up," said Spencer Kierans of San Francisco.

Jordan Clark, who works at SHN Golden Gate Theatre, said, "More police presence is always good. I've been working here for 15 years, so I've seen the ups and downs, so when they're around, it's definitely cleaner, and we appreciate that."

Not that the streets are entirely clean. KTVU witnessed what looked like a hand-to-hand drug deal. 

There were plenty of people lying on the streets. 

Sgt. Matt Loya checked on one man on the sidewalk. Hall did the same for another man at a fountain.

"I gotta have you make a move, because you're in the roadway, man, and these buses come by, and I don't want you to get creamed," Hall told the man.

Tenderloin Station has been getting a lot of attention for posting suspects' photos on Twitter as well as a few 'before and after' photos of homeless encampment sweeps.

"The impact comes because the community knows that we're doing what we're supposed to be doing. And that's the message that we want to send out. That's the reason we use social media," Fabbri said.

Asked whether the suspects police arrested today could be back on the streets tomorrow, Fabbri said,

"He might be. And often they are. But this is a long-term fight that we're in. And the officers at Tenderloin Station are giving 100 percent, and we're not going to give up, ever."