SFPD canine unit chief dies after collapse during training

A San Francisco police sergeant died Monday night after a training exercise on Treasure Island.

Sgt. Darryl Tsujimoto, a 15-year department veteran and head of the canine unit, collapsed while conducting a standard “trailing” exercise, training San Francisco and Hayward police officers to handle their dogs as the dogs find and trail a scent. Tsujimoto was taken to San Francisco General Hospital at about 9 p.m., but medical staff were unable to revive him.

Tsujimoto was an expert in police dog training who often adopted and trained dogs on his spare time, donating them to smaller departments.

“Personally, I would have to describe him as one of the best bosses I ever worked for,” said Officer Tony Montoa, who worked under Tsujimoto in the canine unit for about two years. “He was beyond fair. He’d literally give you his last quarter and the shirt off his back.”

During his seven years at the head of the canine unit, Montoya said police departments from around California sent their officers and dogs to train with Tsujimoto.

Tsujimoto is survived by his female partner, a veterinarian with whom he lived in the East Bay.

amartin@examiner.com

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