(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Tenderloin police arrest 50 in five-hour operation targeting fugitives

A San Francisco police operation focused on apprehending fugitives netted 50 arrests in the Tenderloin on Wednesday in connection with a variety of crimes from drug dealing to burglary, according to police.

Tenderloin Police Station conducted the operation over five hours, arresting 38 fugitives and 12 people who are suspected of new crimes from violating court orders to illegally possessing a weapon.

Twelve of the fugitives were wanted for crimes outside of San Francisco, in jurisdictions around the greater Bay Area.

Police announced the operation in a press release as part of larger efforts to increase safety and “improve the quality of life for people who live and work in these neighborhoods.”

“The officers of Tenderloin Station are committed to strategic enforcement designed to decrease crime and the fear of crime in the neighborhoods we serve,” Tenderloin Station Capt. Carl Fabbri said in a statement.

“We are grateful for the close relationship we share with our Tenderloin community,” Fabbri continued. “Their trust and support for our officers make it possible to carry out these successful operations.”

Kelley Cutler, an organizer with the Coalition on Homelessness, criticized the arrests as creating barriers to employment and housing for people in the Tenderloin who may need social services.

“It’s a neighborhood that has a lot of homelessness and a lot of poverty,” said Culter, who lives in the Tenderloin. “So to be just going in with a heavy-handed law enforcement approach is really missing the bigger picture and the bigger social issues in the community.

Cutler also questioned the decision police made to include the booking photos and names of all 50 individuals in the press release, which is searchable on the internet. Cutler called it “public shaming.”

“They’re playing a game with community members lives,” Cutler said. “They’re playing into a negative stereotype of the Tenderloin which happens to be an amazing community.”

The operation comes two weeks after Supervisor Matt Haney, who represents the Tenderloin, called for a hearing at the Board of Supervisors on drug dealing in the neighborhood.

Haney did not say whether he supported the operation when asked about it Thursday.

“It’s my understanding that this was to arrest people who were wanted as fugitives for a variety of crimes, not specifically drug dealing,” Haney said.

This is not the first time police have conducted a operation like this in the Tenderloin. In October, the Tenderloin Police Station arrested 37 individuals during a one-day operation.

Police worked on the latest operation with assistance from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department’s Warrant Service Unit.

mbarba@sfexaminer.com

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