New captain for Mission police station
by Seth Hemmelgarn
The San Francisco Police Department's Mission Station, which oversees the Castro and surrounding neighborhoods, has a new leader.
Captain Robert Moser, 42, replaces Captain Greg Corrales, who's been transferred to the police department's unit at San Francisco International. Moser's first day was January 17.
In his new post, he'll be dealing with crimes like anti-gay violence and assaults and issues like homelessness, which also take place in most other parts of the city.
Besides the Castro, the Mission police district includes three other neighborhoods: Central Mission, Noe Valley, and Lower 24th Street.
Moser, who was promoted to captain earlier this month, has been with the SFPD since 1995. He most recently worked as a lieutenant in the Bayview neighborhood. He's also served in the stations overseeing the Tenderloin, South of Market, and other neighborhoods, and was once in charge of the SFPD's internal affairs division.
His salary is about $190,000. He oversees 153 sworn officers, lieutenants, and other personnel, along with seven civilians.
Moser's never been stationed in the Mission before, but his parents and grandparents lived in the district, and he grew up in Noe Valley.
"I definitely have fond memories as a child of the district," Moser, who's straight, said. He now lives near Twin Peaks.
"What I really want to do is get out into the community," he said, and talk to people through forums, including residents' neighborhood meetings and the monthly captain's gatherings at Mission Station, 630 Valencia Street.
He said he looks forward to "getting to know the issues going on out there and addressing them in a collaborative way."
Moser said he wants to have a sergeant assigned to each community organization in the district so that groups have a specific person they can go to when they have issues.
Community policing is "one of the things I really hold dear to my heart," Moser said. He said enforcement is just one part of effective policing. Other aspects include "having the community as our eyes and ears" and educating people on "how to keep from being victims of crime."
Moser has previously worked Castro area events such as Halloween and the Castro Street Fair. Another large party he'll be faced with soon is Pink Saturday, the annual street festival that takes place in June every year and draws several thousand people to the neighborhood.
He said he hasn't had an opportunity "to really get into the nuts and bolts" of the operation, but he said Sergeant Chuck Limbert, Mission Station's LGBT liaison to the community, is working on the event. Moser said officials would work to make it "a safe and enjoyable event for everyone that attends."
Stephen Powell, 19, was shot to death around the time the 2010 Pink Saturday ended. Police have indicated they suspect people from outside the neighborhood were involved in the shooting.
Limbert said he's met with Pink Saturday organizers the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, and he alluded to the concerns about people from outside the Castro area causing problems at the event in recent years.
"This year is going to be a community-directed philosophy," he said. "We encourage people from our LGBT community to come and participate."
Limbert spoke highly of Moser. "I really like this captain," he said, adding that Moser "comes with a very strong background in administration and also in the street."
He said Moser appears to be "really strongly committed to the community policing model," which includes officers "actually getting out of the car and meeting people."
Supervisor Scott Wiener, whose District 8 includes the Castro, previously got to know Moser when he was at the police department's internal affairs unit and Wiener was working in the city attorney's office. He said Moser is "terrific" and will be "a very strong captain for the neighborhood."
Wiener, who's proposed legislation for rules on use of Jane Warner and Harvey Milk plazas, said his concerns in the neighborhood include homelessness, assaults, and hate crimes.
Asked about the switch in leadership at Mission Station, Officer Albie Esparza, a police spokesman, noted station captains are often changed every two years or so.
Corrales, who's been with the department for more than 40 years, previously oversaw Mission Station from 2002 to 2004, and most recently led the station since November 2009. He didn't respond to an emailed interview request.