The top cop in charge of policing San Francisco’s southeast neighborhoods has retired after just over six months leading Bayview Police Station.
Capt. Valerie Matthews on Friday became the latest captain to depart the station after a brief tenure as its commanding officer.
The station is known for rapidly cycling through captains, to the displeasure — and perhaps the detriment — of the historically impoverished community of color it serves in Bayview-Hunters Point.
Matthews is retiring after nearly three decades with the San Francisco Police Department. Prior to transferring to Bayview Police Station, she oversaw details including homicide as the head of the Major Crimes Division.
Her retirement troubled District 10 Supervisor Shamann Walton, who told the San Francisco Examiner on Monday that “everyone from service providers to the community is highly upset” with the news.
“It creates a sense of instability in District 10 and we suffer for it when we have that kind of leadership change,” Walton said.
Matthews’ retirement comes as Bayview-Hunters Point grapples with violence. Nearly a third of all the killings reported in San Francisco so far this year have occurred in the neighborhoods.
The area saw six of the 20 homicides reported in The City during the first half of 2019, according to police and Walton.
The sixth homicide unfolded last Thursday morning when a 30-year-old man was shot repeatedly near the Alice Griffith housing projects in the area of Arelious Walker Drive and Fitzgerald Avenue, according to police.
The victim, whose identity has not been released by authorities, was taken to a hospital where he died the next day.
“The San Francisco Police Department is aware of the unique challenges facing the Bayview district,” police spokesperson Officer Adam Lobsinger said in a statement. “We are constantly evaluating the needs of the community and reallocating resources appropriately to help address these challenges.”
Matthews will be replaced Saturday by recently promoted Capt. Troy Dangerfield of the Community Engagement Division, according to Lobsinger.
“The faces of Bayview officers may change, but the commitment to the community remains steadfast,” Lobsinger said. “We are grateful for her hard work and will continue our efforts to create stronger collaborations with Bayview residents and businesses, anti-violence organizations and our city partners to address safety and quality-of-life issues in the community.”
Police Chief Bill Scott transferred Matthews to the station last December when he tapped former Bayview Capt. Steven Ford to oversee reform efforts as the head of the Professional Standards and Principled Policing Bureau.
Ford’s departure also angered community members, who came to the Police Commission in January to protest the transfer, according to the news site Mission Local. Ford had commanded the station for just over a year.
Shawn Richard, the head of anti-violence group Brothers Against Guns, was among those who went to the Police Commission, where he criticized the department for not notifying the community about Ford’s departure.
But on Monday, Richard expressed no animosity toward the department over Matthews retiring.
“Everybody’s okay with it because she met with the community,” Richard said. “She didn’t just get up and leave.”
Richard said Matthews retired to spend more time with her family.
“It’s nothing that has to do with the community or the department,” Richard said. “She just was tired.”
Walton plans to hold a community meeting Monday evening with police and community leaders to address the recent violence in Bayview-Hunters Point. The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at 2600 Arelious Walker Drive.