SFPD Northern Captain Yep Restarts Hayes Valley Foot Beat Patrol

When San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) Captain Paul Yep assumed command of the Northern Station in July 2020, one of the first requests from the Hayes Valley stakeholders in his district was to have a foot beat again in their neighborhood. Now that request is becoming a reality with Captain Yep’s addition of four officers—Officers Schiff, Graham, Tano and Chinawah—to patrol the neighborhood on foot and on bike.

According to Captain Yep, aside from the stakeholders’ request, there’s another reason he wanted to restart the foot beat in Hayes Valley. “Part of the reason that we want to do this is we do anticipate that the neighborhood will open up from the COVID pandemic shutdown, and when the summer rolls around, we expect that the neighborhood will be as vibrant as it has been in the past. And we want to prepare for that…We want the neighborhood to do well and to be robust.”

While Officers Schiff and Graham have been on the Hayes Valley foot beat for a few months, fellow Officers Tano and Chinawah will be joining them on patrol

immediately. The officers will work on what is called “different sides of the watch,” per Captain Yep. “Between the four of them there will be seven days a week coverage” working from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. As two of the officers go off duty on their weekend, the other two will be on patrol.

All four officers volunteered for the Hayes Valley foot patrol, which Captain Yep said is the best approach rather than assigning them. “Foot beats always work better when the officers request to take on that assignment. That means that they have some interest in the neighborhood and that type of relationship [with it],” he said. “It’s like the officers and the neighborhood are dating,” the captain added, saying it has to be a “good match” to last.

“Geographically, they'll be in the area…for rapid response, to partner with the community, to get to know the community and just provide a visible presence. And with some stability, meaning that they will develop a relationship with the community,” Captain Yep said about the Hayes Valley foot beat.

Another component of increasing safety around Hayes Valley is the assignment of a dedicated unit called the “Housing Unit” to the immediate geographical

area—particularly north of the neighborhood where there are a number of public housing developments. According to Captain Yep, the unit consists of a police sergeant and six officers whose primary function is to patrol the housing areas, work with the managers of the developments and problem-solve with him re: Hayes

Valley and the surrounding area.

Looking at SFPD’s Northern District overall, Captain Yep said crime statistics show robberies are holding even with no increase or decrease, although there was one brief upward spike in the first week of February. Auto burglaries are down 50 percent, but unfortunately burglaries are up approximately 80 percent from last

year's numbers.

Captain Yep said he also hears from the community about quality of life issues, such as encampments, persons with mental health issues, garbage in the streets and traffic issues like people driving recklessly. “So those are kind of the complaints I'm hearing from the neighborhood. I think that [the Hayes Valley foot beat] will

help; they will provide a visible presence and deterrence.”

-Kathy Chouteau

Pictured from left to right: SFPD Officer George Tano, Officer Frank Chinawah and Northern Station Captain Paul Yep.