Sunday, December 10, 2017

History Watch–“George”

History Watch


Police Departments have had record keeping systems for many years.  In the early days, police departments discovered the need to keep track of crime and other incidents in their jurisdictions and to record the names of persons involved in such incidents.  We know that in the early 1900’s the San Rafael Police Department kept a mug shot book of criminals they arrested for various crimes.  It is assumed that they had some type of report writing system to go with those photos.  Many crimes were also documented by the local newspapers, some of which can still be looked up today.

In the 1930’s, the San Rafael Police Department used log books to record calls for service and persons arrested.  It is interesting to note that if you look through those books, the crimes listed back then have not changed much from what the police department deals with today.

As time progressed, SRPD established a card and report system that was in use in the 1950’s and perhaps some years before. By the 1960’s reports were being written by officers and person’s names were entered on a 3x5 card and put in a file.  It was a pretty simple system, however it worked very well.  Simply look up a person’s name in the card file and it would list that person’s record with a report number after it.  You could then go to the report file and pull the case.

By 1968, the San Rafael Police Department had amassed a large number of 3x5 cards that were kept in file drawers that stood about five feet tall. Thousands of cards were in those file drawers that held the names of many citizens in town.  If you knew the alphabet, the system remained stable as long as the cards were filed properly.

The persons who were most responsible for filing and maintaining the card system were cadets, which was a program that was started in August of 1966.  On a graveyard shift in about 1969, something happened that made the department start to look at a better way to keep those cards in order.  The story goes that two cadets, who might not have had enough to do, got into a playful shoving match. One cadet pushed the other cadet into one of those free-standing card files and the whole cabinet, about one third of the thousands of cards on file, fell over onto the floor spilling a good many 3x5 cards all over the place.  Rumor has it that it took about a week to get all those cards back in the proper order.

In the late 1970’s or early 1980’s, the police department finally decided to have a better way to hold their 3x5 cards.  They purchased a new state of the art card holder that took the place of the old file cabinets, and with this new piece of equipment, there was no chance that it could be knocked over.  The machine was electric and when you pressed a button, the drawers rotated to the correct part of the alphabet that you wanted.

It was quite an improvement for the Records Division and when you like something, you of course must name it.  Thus, this new card contraption got the name of “George.”  George performed well, however at times it would break down freezing the drawers.  But not to fear, George had a metal rod that you could stick in its side and you could crank your way to the desired drawer.

George served with honor and distinction for many years. The police department, wanting to upgrade their system, went to a strip file system where names could be moved around in the holder so the file could still be in alphabetical order.  In addition, a Complaint Dispatch Report (CDR) system was put in place to record calls that came into the department.  Both of these systems were manual ones, until they were replaced by the police department’s first computer system in September of 1991, which was called S.R. Card. Interestingly, the hardest part of getting the new computer system up and running was to get agreement on what it was going to be called.  In January of 2003, S.R. Card was replaced by a newer computer system called Rims, which is still in use as of this writing.

Attached is a photo of dear old George sitting in the front office at the San Rafael Police Department in 1983.

Bonus Points:  Can you name all the employees in the photo who are hanging out with George?

Copyright 2017 Harry Barbier – All Rights Reserved

Photo Day - 9-25-83 - 20

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

History Watch: “Triple Homicide”

History Watch

"Triple Homicide"

Like many counties in California, Marin County has had its share of homicides.  The San Rafael Police Department investigated 45 homicides between 1980 and 2017, which is an average of 1.2 homicides per year.  All of them were single victim crimes. Incredibly, there have been no reported homicides in San Rafael since September of 2011. 

Have there ever been triple homicides in the county?  Fortunately, they have been far and few between.  On August 12, 1971, San Quentin prisoner George Jackson lead an escape attempt with other inmates using a handgun that was thought to be smuggled into the prison by his attorney Stephen Bingham. San Quentin Correctional Officers, Paul Krasenes, Frank DeLeon and Jere Graham were shot and stabbed and left for dead in a cell.  Jackson was shot and killed by guards as he attempted to escape.

On March 16, 1973, the Mill Valley Police Department arrested 22-year-old Brent Bedauam for killing three members of the Shallock family in their city.  Bedauam used a shotgun to kill Melvin and Ruth Shallock and their 19-year-old son Daniel Shallock.  Suspect Bedauam later stated that Daniel Shallock could control his thoughts by using a telephone.  This and a dispute between Bedauam and the Shallocks resulted in the homicides.

So, what about San Rafael?  After doing a great deal of research, only one triple homicide was found, and to tell this story we need to travel back in time 171 years to 1846.

John Polk was the eleventh President of the United States and the Mexican American War was about to start.  California was in the hands of Mexico and President Polk sent Army Major John Fremont to California to take control of the future state.  Fremont, with an armed force of 125 men started their journey west.  With Fremont was Frontiersman Kit Carson.  Fremont had saved Carson’s life in an earlier battle and Carson felt that he had to stay with Fremont and help him in California.  

In June of 1846, Fremont, Carson and the force of men arrived in San Rafael looking for a group of men who had been responsible for some murders in Sonoma County.  On June 28, 1846, a man by the name of Don Jose Berreyesa set out from Contra Costa County to visit his brother Don Francisco de Haro, who had been imprisoned in Sonoma County.  With Don Berreyesa were the sons of prisoner Don Francisco de Haro. The boys were twins Ramon and Francisco Haro. 

The three of them traveled by rowboat to the mouth of the San Rafael Canal and then proceeded up the canal to the area of what is now the Safeway store on B Street.  In those days, the canal was used to deliver goods to the Mission and the rest of the town and it ran much further into town than today.

Fremont and Carson got word that the boat was about to arrive and they rode with several men to meet it to see if the three occupants were spies, or perhaps some of the murderers they were looking for.  When Carson and Fremont arrived, the three men were embarking the boat. Carson asked Fremont what they should do with the three and Fremont replied, “I have got no room for prisoners.”  Carson then took out his rifle and he shot and killed the twin brothers.  When Don Berreyesa asked why Carson killed the two boys, Carson shot Berreyesa dead.  The three bodies were stripped of their clothing and they were left on the shore.

Fremont and Carson were never prosecuted for this crime; however, the murders were observed by a man named Jasper O'Farrell, who wrote a letter detailing it that was published in a Los Angeles newspaper.  Ten years later in 1856, Fremont ran for U. S. President and this incident was used against him, which was one of the reasons he was not elected.

Has San Rafael had only one triple homicide in 171 years?  Is it possible that there were others?  If there were, they are hidden in the pages of history.

Attached are photos of General John Fremont and Frontiersman Kit Carson.

Copyright 2017 Harry Barbier – All Rights Reserved

General John Fremont

Kit Carson

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

History Watch: “Full Circle”

History Watch:

“Full Circle”

The list of those who have done it is short.  Some have done it by brute force and threats, while others have simply used some smarts and a little subterfuge.  Of all who have done it, they pretty much have had one thing in common.  They ended up where they started.

Escapes from the Marin County Jail have been few and far between, but it has happened from time to time.  Of all the successful escapes, there was one in November of 1966 that got a lot of attention from law enforcement that included threats, two kidnappings, gunplay and more threats.

Our story starts with one Ronald Harold Berg, a 21-year-old who stood over six feet tall with a boyish face.  He had a criminal record and was known in certain circles as a, “heavy.” He earned this title because he had a liking for holding up hotels and restaurants in San Francisco and Marin County and he was known to always carry, “heavy artillery” when he did his jobs.

On August 17, 1966, Berg and accomplice Michael Colvard robbed the Edgewater Inn in Corte Madera and they got away with $1,000.  Several days later Berg, who was armed with three .45 semi-autos, and Colvard were captured in Fairfax and they were booked into Marin County Jail on robbery charges. 

Berg, who was not one to sit idle in jail, called his co-defendant’s mother and convinced her to put up his bail with the promise that he would then raise the money needed to bail Colvard out of jail. For some reason, Colvard’s family bought the plan and they bailed Berg out.  A short time later Berg, who had jumped bail, was captured by SFPD doing another armed robbery and he was returned to Marin County Jail.

While back in jail, Berg befriended Lewis B. Pettijohn, a 33-year-old “mentally unstable” check artist. During the early morning hours of November 23, 1966, Berg and Pettijohn fashioned several iron chair legs into clubs and they threatened two jailers. At at 5:45 am they broke out of the Marin County Jail, located in the basement of the courthouse at Fourth and A Street.

Once on the street they hailed down a passing taxi, kidnapped cabbie Bruce Hall and made him drive them to the west end of Terra Linda.  Once there, they ran from the cab and hiked over the hills into the Sleepy Hollow area of San Anselmo. While looking for a place to hide out they came upon a house located on Fawn Drive and, at 6:50 am, they broke in and held the Jorgensen family, consisting of mom, dad, and their 17-year-old son, hostage.  Berg discovered the son had a rifle and Berg armed himself with it.

The dynamic duo planned to take the family car with a hostage and drive out of the area, but wanted to make sure that there were no police around. They told Mrs. Jorgensen to take her car out for a drive to check for “cops.”  They told her that if she tried any funny business they would kill her family. Mrs. Jorgensen went out in the family car and she immediately drove to Smilin’ Ed Woods’ Service Station at Butterfield and Sir Francis Drake Blvd. where she called the police.  She was told to return to the house and give the all clear. 

The Marin County Sheriff’s Office and many other police departments in the county amassed one of the largest dragnets of law enforcement officers this county has ever seen. Over 100 officers were deployed to Sleepy Hollow with some on surrounding hills where they could get eyes on the Jorgensen home.

Once told there were no cops around, Berg and Pettijohn made their move by taking Mr. Jorgensen in the family car.  Berg was armed with the rifle as they left the house.  As the car reached the entrance to Sleepy Hollow, police cars suddenly pulled out blocking the road. A small army of officers swarmed the car and took both suspects into custody without anyone firing a shot.  The officers making the arrests were Sheriff Louis Mountanos, San Anselmo Chief Ray Buchignani, Fairfax Chief James Orr and Marin Sheriff’s Inspector A. V. Menjou.

And here our story ends with a short-day trip taken by two criminals, who bought themselves a great of trouble, only to have ended up where they started.  

Attached are two photos.  One is of San Rafael Police Officer John Riordan interviewing cab driver Bruce Hall.  The second photo is of our two escapees.

Copyright 2017 Harry Barbier – All Rights Reserved

Officer John Riordan - 11-23-66

Suspects Berg and Pettijohn

Friday, March 17, 2017

History Watch: “The Chase of the Footpads”

History Watch

"The Chase of the Footpads"

At the end of the 19th century, San Rafael was a pretty quiet place.  John E. Healy served as the Town Marshall from the 1890’s to 1915.  He was then elected as the San Rafael's first Police Chief and he served a four-year term in that position until 1919, earning a salary of $1,800 per year.

In early 1904, there was a series of armed robberies in the county that were committed by two young men known as Footpads.  The term comes from 17th century England and was used in the United States until the late 1900’s when it fell out of favor.  Footpads were thieves and/or robbers who specialized in robbing pedestrians.  They were considered low level criminals as they did not have horses and they faded into the night on foot after accosting their victims.

The most recent robbery took place at a saloon owned by A. Lawrence in Sausalito in early 1904.  Both men were described as young and well-dressed and they were armed with pistols.  They fled and were not caught, but that was about to change.

One of the constables who worked under Town Marshall Healy was a man named Louis Hughes.  He had a rather unique position with the city.  In addition to being a constable, he was the City’s Fire Chief. On a Sunday evening at about 6:00 PM, on February 21st 1904, Hughes was walking home traveling north on Irwin Street by the intersection of Fifth Avenue. Hughes, who was apparently not in any type of uniform, noticed two young men walking behind him.  Perhaps unaware of the robberies and the description given of the suspects, Hughes gave them a friendly greeting and he offered to have them walk with him.

Shortly after the greeting, one of the men ordered Hughes to put his hands up and he told Hughes that he was being robbed.  Hughes immediately reached into his pants pocket and he pulled out his revolver and he pulled the trigger five times while pointing it at the suspects, however all five rounds misfired.  The taller of the two suspects displayed a handgun and he fired at Hughes three times, striking him once in the lower abdomen. 

Hughes went down and the men ran north on Irwin Street. While fleeing, the suspect with the gun fired one more time at Hughes from a distance of about 50 feet.  They then ran to Belle and Irwin Street and into the entrance of the majestic Hotel Rafael where they disappeared.

Several witnesses were nearby who ran to the aid of Hughes.  He was taken to Dr. Howitt’s sanitarium on Fourth Street where he was treated for a serious wound, that did not prove to be fatal.  Marin County Sheriff Taylor was advised of the assault and he did what law enforcement would have done today.  He put out an alert on the suspects giving a description that was provided by Hughes and all deputies and constables started to look for the two perpetrators.

At 11:15 pm, that same evening, one of the suspects walked into Billy Shannon’s Villa, a less than reputable saloon and boxing club, located at Second and Fourth Street in the west end of San Rafael next to where the International House of Pancakes is today. It was a quiet night at the villa and only Shannon and two customers were present.  The young man ordered everyone to put their hands up advising them it was a robbery.  Shannon and one of the patrons complied, but the second patron refused, not seeing any weapon. 

A second later the second taller suspect entered the bar with a revolver in each hand and at that point the patron threw his hands up in the air.  The Footpads took money from the two customers, cash from the till and they also took Billy Shannon’s wristwatch, however they returned it to him prior to fleeing.

The alarm went out and a short time later, Marin County Sheriff’s Deputy George Martin, who was patrolling in the San Anselmo area, observed two young men walking down the street who matched the description given by Constable Hughes and Billy Shannon.  He stopped them for questioning and both of them refused to identify themselves.  During questioning, the deputy observed that one of the suspects had a gunshot wound to his thigh, perhaps inflicted by the suspect’s partner when the last shot was fired at Constable Hughes.

Both suspects were taken into custody and booked at the county jail located at the Court House at Fourth and A Street.  Thus, another crime series came to a successful conclusion for Marin law enforcement.

Attached is a photo of Billy Shannon’s Villa where the suspects robbery spree came to an end.

Copyright 2017 Harry Barbier – All Rights Reserved

Billy Shannon's Villa - Circa 1912

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Tony Hoke's Obituary

Tony's obituary was published last Thursday.
Article from: Marin Independent Journal - February 23, 2017
Anthony (Skipper)  Thomas Hoke
Follow the link below to view the article.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

San Rafael Police Department - The Year in Review for 2016

01/02/16 – SRPD started the year by doing a DUI checkpoint in Terra Linda. The checkpoint resulted in one arrest for DUI and 10 citations.
01/03/16 – Police had to evacuate the police department after a good minded citizen found a replica hand grenade at his residence and he left it at the front door of the P.D. The PD remained evacuated until the U.C. Berkeley P.D. Bomb Squad responded and took possession of the device.
01/04/16 – A boat in the San Rafael Yacht Harbor sank prompting a response from the Southern Marin Dive Team to search for any victims. None were found. The owner of the boat, Jennifer Newsom, 52 years, had died on board the boat on Christmas day.
01/08/16 – San Rafael city officials were prepared to consider an urgency ordinance banning the cultivation of marijuana and delivery to avoid defaulting to a laxer state law.
01/13/16 – The Central Marin Police Authority hired former SRPD spokesperson Margo Rohrbacher as their Public Information Officer.
01/27/16 – SRPD conducted a crackdown on prostitution in hotels in the city. Police identified women who were advertising several services on the Internet. A total of seven people were cited.
01/27/16 – Former SRPD Chief John Rohrbacher took over the reins of the Sausalito P.D. as their Chief.
01/28/16 – Walter Mazariegos, 36 years, was sentenced to 17 years to life for the molestation of a 12-year-old girl who was the daughter of his girlfriend.
01/29/16 – Longtime volunteer Bill Kay retired after 28 years of service. He worked in the investigations unit.
01/29/16 – Officers responded to the area of the 711 Store on B Street after receiving reports of a brawl. Upon arrival they found Anthony Williams, 22 years with a gunshot wound to his chest. Two suspects in the case were subsequently located and booked on assault charges. The suspects were Jonathan Howlin, 22 years and Jamare Saucer, 23 years.
02/03/16 – The City of San Rafael hired Andrew Henning as its Director of Homeless Planning and Outreach. He was hired for a three year term with a starting salary of $105,252.
02/05/16 – SRPD conducted another prostitution crackdown at a local hotel that resulted in ten men being cited.
02/05/16 – Police throughout the county were planning DUI patrols for the Super Bowl. SRPD ended up arresting two drivers for D.U.I.
02/08/16 – The City of San Rafael released new drawings for the replacement of fire stations #2 at Montecito and #7 at the Civic Center.
02/15/16 – The City of San Rafael extended the Downtown Streets Team for another year.
02/25/16 – Police arrested Paul Larios, 23 years and Brandon MacPherson, 20 years for burglarizing the PG&E power station on North Redwood Drive.
02/29/16 – City officials started a debate regarding the moving of the Ritter Center to another location as the City concluded that the Ritter Center was one of the reasons for homelessness in the downtown area.
03/04/16 - The committee for the upgrade to the MERA radio system reported that they would be reviewing proposals by late summer.
03/05/16 – At the annual State of the City dinner people got a look at a drawing of the proposed new public safety building. The 44,000 square foot building was estimated to cost between 41 and 43 million dollars.
03/11/16 – Alan Sanchez, 17 years, was sentenced to 29 years in prison for the February, 2014 shooting of an 18 year old male on a park bench at Schoen Park. Sanchez had intended to shoot a gang rival, but mistook the victim for his target and shot him twice.
03/10/16 – SRPD arrested 29 year old Juan Xum for molesting a 14 year old girl at a motel and in his car in the Canal area.
03/16/16 – SRPD held its first class for the spring, 2016 Citizen Police Academy.
03/19/16 – The Public Pension debate came up again with letters to the editor in the I.J. and a cartoon in the paper as well.
03/20/16 – Police arrested Shiloh Cokinos, 35 years and Kristina Ferrante, 29 years for stealing mail in San Rafael and Fairfax.
03/24/16 – Comments started to come in regarding the design of the new Public Safety Center. Critics stated that the building was too massive and boring.
03/24/16 – The City announced that they were going to beef up patrols in the area of Albert Park and B Street, due to homeless problems that consisted of public drunkenness, theft, loitering, vandalism and some violent crime. The announcement was made by Mayor Gary Phillips.
03/28/16 – The I.J. had several letters to the editor regarding the homeless problem in San Rafael and the proposed moving of the Ritter Center.
04/01/16 – A residence on Rivera Drive was burglarized. One of the items taken was an iPad. SRPD was able to use an app to track the iPad and they learned that it was in was at the Village Shopping Center in Corte Madera. PD found a car with three subjects in it. One suspect fled and the other two were arrested. Booked were Kayla Moss, 21 years and Brandon Silvas, 19 years.
04/06/16 – A 34 year old male was walking on Verdi Street when two men in a white car approached him and robbed him at gunpoint. He was shot in the leg. The suspects fled.
04/14/16 – Police responded to a report of a physical altercation on the Canal District. A short time later one of the participants, Leon Howard, 63 years, was found deceased in his car on Kerner Blvd. He apparently had a heart attack after the altercation. Howard worked for the Canal Alliance.
04/20/16 – Officers received a report of a burglary in progress on Elizabeth Way. Officers arrested Daisy Edwards, 32 years and Chivonne Bozarth, 35 years. The suspects were sisters.
04/22/16 – The City of San Rafael expanded its Social Host Ordinance to include drugs. The ordinance was established to curb teenage parties involving alcohol and drugs where the parents are held responsible.
04/28/16 – Police pulled over a car for a traffic violation in the Canal District and determined that the driver, Daniel Martinez, 20 years, had a suspended license. A search of the car revealed a .44 cal. handgun. Martinez was identified as the suspect in the 4/6/16 shooting of a 34 year old male on Verdi Street. He was booked for Assault with a firearm.
05/04/16 – A resident on Convent Court in the Dominican neighborhood was walking up his driveway when a male approached him and grabbed him and took his watch. The area was searched with negative results.
05/06/16 – The suspect in the robbery on Convent Court was taken into custody in Kern County. On the day of the robbery a resident noted the license plate to at Kia that had been driving erratically in the neighborhood. The car was a rental vehicle and police tracked it through the GPS unit in the car. Booked for robbery and violation of parole was Corey Barnett, 25 years of Oakland.

05/05/16 – The Smart Train board began to establish rules for riders of the new train system. They also appointed Jennifer Welch, former Lt. with Novato P.D. as their new Police Chief.
05/07/16 – The Civil Grand Jury suggested that Marin Police Departments should track and record guns that had been stolen from police vehicles. They suggested that all of the law enforcement agencies in the county establish a common policy regarding this issue. This was in response to several cases where guns were stolen from unmarked police cars and used in crimes.
05/11/16 – Marin County Supervisors had questions regarding the new proposed MERA radio system. They were concerned that there were coverage gaps in system. Additional study was to be done.
05/15/16 – Thirteen men were arrested as a result of the latest prostitution sting run by SRPD, MCSO and the Central Marin Police Authority. The suspects answered ads and when they went to a local hotel for the meeting they were arrested.
05/17/16 – SRPD and the fire department responded to 960 Lincoln Avenue regarding a report of a fire there. Upon arrival they found occupant Adam Gans, 23 years outside. An investigation revealed that he started the fire. He was booked for arson.
05/18/16 – SRPD held its annual awards ceremony at the City Council meeting. Over 20 awards were handed out to department employees.
05/25/16 – Officers received a report of gunfire at a bus stop in Terra Linda. They located Alexsander Mysliviy, 24 years at the Highway 101 northbound bus pad at Freitas Pkwy. A 9 mm Glock was found in his possession. He was booked for being a felon in possession of a firearm.
05/25/16 – A man driving a car by the transit center was stopped at a red light when two men walked up to his car, one with a gun and they attempted to hijack the car. The driver sped off after the light turned green, leaving the two suspects behind. They were not located.
05/30/16 – A Richmond man, 29 year old Carl Washington, was arrested by SRPD for Human Trafficking after he attempted to prostitute a teenage girl who he had befriended in Richmond. When the girl tried to get away from him, he demanded $10,000 from her family. He was located in Richmond and arrested.
06-01-16 – A 23 year old male was walking by Pickleweed Park when he was accosted by two men and robbed at gunpoint. The suspects fled but were later located several blocks away. A pellet gun was found under a nearby parked car. Arrested for robbery were Edgar Sosa, 26 years and Javier Huchim, 20 years. The suspects were spotted by an officer who was patrolling the neighborhood.
06/07/16 – Officers received a report of an intoxicated male passed out in the street on Playa del Rey. They responded and the victim was transported to the hospital with some injuries. He died several days later. It is believed that he was intoxicated and possibly died as a result of a fall. Victim was Julio Rodas, 41 years old.
06/10/16 – Officers responded to a report of a large truck that struck a pedestrian at Third and Hetherton Avenue. The pedestrian, identified as Tatyanna Zaslavsky, 77 years was pronounced dead. A similar accident in 2014 killed a pedestrian at the same intersection.
06/15/16 – Many letters to the editor regarding making intersections safer in San Rafael were sent into the I.J. The City promised to investigate.
06/16/16 – As a result of a shooting in Orlando where 49 people were killed, Marin D.A. Ed Berberian announced that he was going to hold another gun buyback program.
06/17/16 – A new law went into effect stating that only persons 21 years or over could purchase tobacco.
06/17/17 – East San Rafael experienced a series of brush fires over a period of several days. Just after the last fire was reported, officers observed a 13 year old boy in the area. He was questioned and he admitted to setting the fires. He was booked at Juvenile Hall.
06/20/16 – In response to a desire by the City to move Ritter Center, a building in the industrial park of Terra Linda was examined as a possible site. This brought about many letters to the editor in opposition to the move to Terra Linda. While the debate continued over several weeks, the building was sold to another person, ending the proposed move.
06/24/16 – SRPD arrested Anthony Sullivan, 23 years after an investigation revealed that he had been trading sexual images with a 14 year old girl. When the girl asked her father to go to the library, which she had never done before, the father became suspicious and checked her phone, which started the police investigation.
06/28/16 – The Marin Civil Grand Jury issued a report that authorities needed to work together to crack down on human sex trafficking in Marin, which they claimed was unrecognized and underreported.
06/30/16 – Ruben Torres, 26 years, broke down in court when he was found guilty of a gang shooting that took place on 10/22/13 on Kerner Blvd. The victim, after being shot, walked to a nearby firehouse for help. Cameron Weaver, 26 years, also a participant in the crime, was given an offer and in exchange he testified against Torres.

07/03/16 – The Marin Civil Grand Jury issued a report that the process for citizens making complaints against police officers was not uniform and was difficult to do. Sheriff Doyle responded by saying, “That’s not going to happen” because every agency needed to enact its own procedures.
07/09/16 – Police agencies around Marin were on high alert after the shooting deaths of five Dallas Police Officers and the wounding of seven others.
07/18/16 – Police agencies were stunned again with the shooting deaths of three police officers in Baton Rouge, La.
07/27/16 – Officers responded to a report of a male and female in a domestic dispute on Larkspur Street. Upon arrival, the male assaulted the female, threw her out of the car and took off. Officers pursued the car on Francisco Blvd at speeds above 70 MPH. The man crashed head on into another car and then fled on foot, jumping into the bay by San Quentin. After one hour of being in the water, negotiators were able to talk the suspect out. Booked was Curtis Odom, 22 years of San Pablo.
0728/16 – Despite opposition by the public to the building of the new Public Safety Building, the planning commission voted 5-0 in favor of the original plans, thus paving the way to continue on with the process.
07/29/16 – SRPD received reports of a suspicious man with a duffle bag on the top floor of the parking structure behind the eight story office building at 1000 Four Street. Additional reports were that the man left the bag in the garage and then walked off. This triggered an evacuation of the office building and the apartments next door as well as Fourth Street. The U.C. Berkeley Bomb Squad also responded. During the ordeal, police found the owner of the bag and determined that he had put the bag down while he was playing Pokemon Go. Nothing suspicious in the bag was found.
08/01/16 – SRPD celebrated National Night Out visiting many neighborhoods during the evening.
08/05/16 – A woman who lives on Fair Drive returned to her home at 10:00 AM and interrupted a burglary in progress. Two males and a female confronted her, assaulted her and fled in a car. Officers were able to identify the car and they arrested the female, Kayla Toi Walker, 21 years. The other males remained at large, however they were recorded by a surveillance camera.
08/11/16 – A man walking by 61 Novato Street was approached by three males who beat him and robbed him. After a 40 minute search, officers located the three suspects and arrested them for robbery. Booked was Ashwan Wells, 18 years and two minors.
08/16/16 – A suspect wanted in a 2014 shooting in the Canal District was arrested by officers after they received a tip that he was back in the area. On the day of the shooting, the suspect, Jose Gramajo, now 23 years old, got into an argument with an acquaintance. The victim got into a car to flee Gramajo, however Gramajo pulled out a gun and shot at the car, striking the victim causing serious injuries. He was booked for attempted murder.
08/17/16 – On 6/15/05, twenty-five year old Ana Mejia was found murdered in a motel room at the San Rafael Inn. Police identified the suspect as former boyfriend Francisco Carrillo-Perez, who fled the scene and returned to his native country of Guatemala. He was arrested in Guatemala in December of 2014 and returned to the United States. He plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter and received a sentence of 21 years in prison. Mejia was the mother of his four children.
08/18/16 – A new team to reduce homelessness, called HOT for Homeless Outreach Team, was reported to have made progress on the homeless problem in town. It was reported that in the first four months they took 11 chronically homeless persons off the street.
08/19/16 – SRPD was asked to help investigate an in custody death that took place in the county psychiatric ward at Marin General Hospital. Silivenust Namato-Ravoni, 46 years, fled from the unit and was apprehended by the Marin Sheriff’s Department and Central Marin P.D. The subject was returned to MGH where he passed away.
08/26/16 – Police responded to a report of a body floating in the canal across from San Rafael High School. The body of Fairfax resident John Dunselman, 41 years was recovered by the fire department. Foul play was not suspected.
09/01/16 – In December of 2014, officers received a report that a young female had been molested by a family friend. Officers identified the suspect as Marco Vincent-Gonzales, 31 years. As the investigation began, the suspect fled to Guatemala. This year the suspect was located and he was extradited back to the United States to face prosecution.
09/14/16 – The County of Marin completed its second gun buyback program. SRPD was one of the drop off points for the one day event. A total of $80,000 was paid out to persons turning in guns. They ran out of money by mid afternoon. A total of 685 firearms were turned in.
09/20/16 – San Rafael has had parking meters for many years. This year 10 new purple parking meters were added to the downtown streets. The meters, part of the new “Put Your Change to Work” program, were designed for people to donate to the homeless program without giving money directly to panhandlers.
09/22/16 – SRPD arrested 23-year-old Alfredo Jimenez-Vallejo for molesting two of his landlord’s daughters, both of whom were under 14 years of age. The suspect was renting a room in the residence when the offenses occurred. He was booked under $1 million bail.
09/26/16 – SRPD conducted an enforcement operation in three parts of town that were considered to be high crime areas. A total of 6 subjects were booked and another 6 were cited for various crimes. The arrests were made in the Mahon Creek area, the transit center and Albert Park.

09/27/16 – Police arrested a man who had been molesting a young female over a period of time. Booked for continuous sexual abuse was 39-year-old Jorge Vasquez. The investigation began when the victim’s mother found out about the situation and notified police. The molestation began when the victim was 11 years old.
09/28/16 – SRPD responded to a man unconscious in the street at 340 Bellam Blvd, who turned out to have life threatening injuries. An investigation revealed that the subject was in a fight with another man and when the victim was knocked down, a car ran over him. The driver of the car fled as police arrived. The fight started in a restaurant and ended up in the street. Police arrested the man who hit the victim and he was identified as Henry Deras-Valdez, 21 years of San Rafael.
10/05/16 – SRPD launched its first Pink Patch Project. The standard shoulder patch was reproduced in pink to honor Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Officers wore the patches for the month of October.
10/08/16 – SRPD received a report of a male looking into cars at the Target store. Upon arrival of officers, the suspect, identified as William Goetz, 33 years, ran from officers. He went to the BMW dealership and asked to borrow a car because the police were after him. When he was refused he ran across Highway 580 and took a truck parked on the road. Officers got into a pursuit with him across the Richmond Bridge. He finally crashed in Richmond and was taken into custody.
10/14/16 – In 2009, SRPD worked a stalking case involving suspect Barry Griff, 66 years. The victim was the mother of his child. Before he could be arrested, Griff fled to Laos. He was put on the SRPD Most Wanted List and during the month of October, Griff’s name turned up on a passenger list on a flight from Thailand to San Francisco. He was detained at SFO when he arrived and then booked. He plead guilty in November and received a 6 month jail sentence.
10/14/16 – A female was driving home from the County Club Bowl at 1:30 AM, when two men stopped her car on Vivian Way. They hijacked her car and one of the men, with a knife put the victim in the back seat and he attempted to assault her while the other suspect drive the car around the Canal District. Several days later officers found the victim’s car at the 7-11 Store with the suspect with the knife in it. Booked for carjacking and assault was Fabio Hernandez-Martinez, 18 years.
10/17/16 – Terrence Boren, a former Deputy District Attorney and a Superior Court Judge, retired. He was a prosecutor for 21 years and he was appointed to the bench in 1995. Boren was known for his soft-spoken graciousness on the bench and his drive to put major felons away for the longest time possible in the most appellate-proof manner possible. Boren was considered to be one of the most respected judges in the county.
10/18/16 – Marin County’s only public shooting range and one of two gun dealerships closed after 23 years in San Rafael. Bullseye Shooting Range could not come to terms with its landlord and closed down.
10/19/16 – A human trafficking task force cited 15 men during a prostitution sting at hotels in San Rafael. The stings were conducted as part of Operation Cross Country, a nationwide effort to reduce sex trafficking. The SRPD, Central Marin Police Authority and the Marin Sheriff’s Department were involved in the operation.
10/28/16 – Winston Searles, 21 years, had a dog who was ill and he took it to the Pet Emergency Hospital on Francisco Blvd. While there he became distraught and he threatened to get a gun and kill the entire staff. He was booked for making criminal threats.
11/08/16 – A man and his child were walking on Sonoma Street in the Canal District when they were confronted by two men, one who had a replica gun. They attempted to rob the victim; however the victim refused to turn over any money. Several nearby residents then confronted the robbers and a brief fight ensued. The suspects fled but were captured by officers a short distance away. Booked for attempted robbery were Oliver Almonoz, 18 years and Ashawn Wells, 18 years.
11/09/16 – State voters approved the use of recreational marijuana. The measure was approved by Marin voters.
11/11/16 – SRPD was awarded a $100,000 traffic grant for one year for enforcement and public awareness operations.
11/21/16 – About 300 people marched down Fourth Street in protest of the election of Donald Trump. Police monitored the march and no problems were reported.
11/28/16 – SRPD conducted an underage decoy operation at various locations in town and arrested three and cited two. The operation was funded through a grant by the ABC.
11/28/16 – SRPD bicycle officers got a little more peddle power when the department purchased four electric bikes capable of traveling at speeds up to 28 miles per hour. The bikes cost $3,000 each. Mike’s Bikes sold them to the PD at a discounted price.
11/30/16 – A 74 year old man was on a morning walk on McInnis Parkway, when a male approached him and punched him in the face and continued to beat him, causing significant injuries. An iPod was taken from the victim. The suspect fled and was not located.
11/30/16 – An officer attempted to pull over a vehicle in the Canal District that was wearing on Francisco Blvd. The driver refused to yield to the police vehicle and led officers on a chase throughout the Canal area. He finally crashed in some bushes at Hoag and Front Street. He was taken into custody and booked for DUI. The suspect, Abner Mendez, 20 years, had four other cases pending in Marin Superior Court.
12/01/16 – A six-year prison sentence was handed down to 39-year-old Cesar Hernandez-Romero. He accepted a plea deal of one count of molesting a child younger than 14 years old. The investigation revealed that he had molested the child in 2015.
12/02/16 – Marin County District Attorney Ed Berberian announced that he would be retiring and he would not seek re-election in 2018. Berberian joined the District Attorney’s Office in 1976 and he became District Attorney in 2005. Berberian, 69, stated that he would be spending more time traveling and with his family.
12/08/16 – A San Rafael High School student reported a man in a car across the street from the school involved in lewd acts. Police responded and found the suspect, Pedro Gomez, 31 years, masturbating in his car. He was booked for indecent exposure.
12/09/16 – A burglary occurred at the Sherwin-Williams store on DuBois Street on 12/04/16. A paint sprayer and other items were taken. An investigation revealed that the items were for sale on the Internet. Police offered to purchase the items and undercover officers met the suspects in Novato. Arrested for possession of stolen property was Jaime Cisneros, 23 years. At the time of the arrest he had a five-year-old child in the car along with a loaded assault weapon. Also booked was Francisco Calixtro-Leon, 20 years, who was a passenger in the car.
12/15/16 – The annual Santa Cop program got into full swing at the National Guard Armory. More than 200 volunteers were there to wrap presents for children from families in need.
12/19/16 – Peter Newcome, 66 years, went into the Shell Station at Second and Fourth Street to buy a bag of Doritos. During the purchase, Newcome got into an altercation with the clerk and Newcome punched the clerk and fled. Officers caught up with him and he was booked for robbery on Christmas morning. The D.A. declined to file charges.
12/21/16 – The San Rafael City Council heard a presentation from SRPD to install fixed license plate reader cameras in the city. Several other Marin cities already have them. The council took in the information and did not make a decision at the time.
12/24/16 – The Union Bank located at 630 Las Gallinas Avenue, was robbed at 5:25 p.m. The suspect, who escaped was described as a white male, 40 to 45 years old.
12/28/16 – The pink parking meters, installed in September for citizens to donate money to the homeless program, collected $1,100 in three months.
San Rafael recorded no homicides for the year 2016. The last reported homicide in the city was on 9-9-2011 when Alicia Griffiths was killed in her Canal District apartment. Robert Lee Bradley, 51 was booked for her murder and received a sentence of 9 years in prison. This is one of the longest stretches of no homicides in the history of the city.
In Memoriam

02/13/16 – Long time retired Marin Sheriff’s Deputy Bill Vota passed away. He served with MCSO for 30 years.
02/22/16 – MCSO retired Lt. John Brunslik passed away after a surgery. He served for over 33 years with the Sheriff’s Department.
04/25/16 – Bill Kay, a volunteer for the San Rafael Police Department for 28 years passed away. He was 88 years old. He had retired from the police department in January.
05/05/16 – Bonnie Carson, a volunteer with SRPD since 2003 passed away. She primarily worked on pawn tickets. She was 88 years old.
06/23/16 – Ideal Gambera, a volunteer with the San Rafael Police Department, passed away at the age of 90 years. He had spent his career as a school teacher in the L.A. area and moved to the Bay Area in 1968 where he continued teaching. He started his volunteer work SRPD in 1993.
08/06/16 – Susan BeBaca-Courteau, who was a welfare investigator in Sonoma and Marin passed away at the age of 67 years. At the age of 38, Susan was selected by the Marin County District Attorney’s Office to be their first female investigator.
08/29/16 – Riva Richmond, who was one of the first female patrol deputies for the Marin Sheriff’s Department, passed away. She was 88 years old.

08/30/16 – Edward Alves, a retired Marin Sheriff’s Deputy who served for many years, passed away at the age of 89. He attained the rank of sergeant and he was active in the Sheriff’s Posse.
10/14/16 – Tony Hoke, former SRPD officer and Twin Cities Police Captain, passed away after heart surgery. He is survived by his wife Marie and two sons, Anthony and Michael.

End of Report

Copyright 2017 Harry Barbier – All Rights Reserved

Friday, December 30, 2016

History Watch: “Curse You Red Baron”

History Watch:
“Curse You Red Baron”
It was December of 1969.  The nation, tired from a turbulent decade of the sixties, was ready to move on to a new era that would hopefully bring renewed energy and peace.  The 1960’s gave us campus protests, free love, drugs and rock and roll, not to mention the assassination of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King and of course, Vietnam.
In the police world, advancements in technology were starting to happen.  The county police departments were talking about using a repeater system for their car radios to improve reception.  During this time, patrol cars still had the old 100 watt radios made of tubes and transistors and many of the departments in the county shared the same frequency.
Changes had already been made with the teletype system.  The old RC-28 teletype machine, that printed at a rate of 75 words a minute and that had been in the San Rafael Police Department for many years, had just been replaced by a new system called CLETS.  This machine printed at an impressive rate of 100 words a minute and it was easier to send messages out.  All you had to do was type out a message on the machine and it would cut holes in a paper tape.  You could type the message at your convenience and when ready to send, you just ran the paper tape through it and away it went, kind of like a player piano.  Everything in those days was printed on paper as there were no computers then.
As we all know, when a police agency gets a new toy everyone wants to use it and sometimes not for the purpose for which it was intended.  In late December of 1969, someone with a good deal of talent created a teletype that was a cartoon of Snoopy Cursing the Red Baron and wishing everyone a happy 1970.  The teletype got sent around a few departments in Marin and the Bay Area, which was very nice, however it took the CLETS machine about 40 minutes to print out the entire cartoon.
When the cartoon first came in on the SRPD machine, one of our enterprising cadets duplicated the cartoon cutting the image on a paper tape.  It was time consuming, yet worth the effort.  It is said that the tape ran from the dispatch room (where it still is today) down the hall and out into the parking lot. 
On New Year’s Eve, 1969, that enterprising cadet thought it would be a good idea to send out a friendly Happy New Year greeting to all of the police agencies in Marin.  The cadet loaded the tape in the machine and sent it out.  But there was one problem; the message was accidently sent out nationwide to every police agency, shutting down the entire law enforcement teletype network for 40 minutes as machines across the nation went to work typing out the special greeting.
There was an inquiry, however in those days such acts were more forgiving.  San Rafael Police Chief Joseph Brusatori said it best by stating, “I know you didn’t do it, just don’t do it again!”
Attached is a photo of that famous teletype that shut down the teletype system throughout the nation on December 31, 1969.
Happy New Year Everyone!
Copyright 2016 Harry Barbier – All Rights Reserved
Teletype  1970