Bayview Officer Specializes in Community Policing
“She’s the type of person every station captain wants on their staff,” said Bayview Station Acting Captain Robert O’Sullivan, of San Francisco Police Officer Sue Lavin-Mann. Lavin-Mann has been at the Bayview Station for the past 10 years. Prior to that, she worked with the Sheriff’s Department, stationed at the County Jails, which she said served as a stepping stone to her current position.
Lavin-Mann grew up in Ireland. She immigrated to the United States after she graduated high school. After moving to San Francisco she earned a degree in criminal justice from City College.
Lavin-Mann’s duties include code enforcement and policing the area’s homeless population, among other responsibilities. “I enjoy my job because I get to work on something from start to finish,” Lavin-Mann said. “Also, I enjoy solving community problems.” Lavin-Mann focuses on community policing, acting as a liaison between residents and business owners and the City to solve neighborhood problems. Lavin-Mann has helped arrest people for stealing copper and other metals from vacant buildings, and is involved in efforts to improve Bayview parks. “Community policing seems to become more and more important each year,” Lavin-Mann said.
“She’s a great help; phenomenal.” said Olia Jegik, owner of Skool restaurant, which is located on the corner of Alameda and De Haro streets. When three to four cars were being broken into every night outside Skool, Jegik called Lavin-Mann for help. “She did not leave us alone when customer’s cars outside our restaurant were being broken into. I was afraid we would lose all those customers. She’s just a woman of her word.”
“The community police phone the department gave me is the best thing that could have ever happened,” Lavin-Mann said. “People can call me with a concern or problem, and if I don’t have the solution, I know who does.” Lavin-Mann serves as a single point of contact for community members who need assistance from the police, or referrals to municipal services related to policing. Lavin-Mann is quick to put homeless individuals who want help in touch with city programs. “Plus, crime is related to homelessness,” Lavin-Mann said.
“She’s extremely responsive to the needs of our merchants,” said Keith Goldstein, president of the Potrero Dogpatch Merchant’s Association. According to Goldstein, Lavin-Mann’s work with Skool exemplifies her approach to neighborhood merchants. “She’s an expert on what she handles for the SFPD. She knows our neighborhood really well.” Goldstein also said Lavin-Mann is adept at handling problems with overnight camping, which can result in pollution, garbage, and vandalism.
Lavin-Mann has become expert at dealing with metal theft, which occurs when thieves break into vacant properties and strip the buildings’ copper pipe and electrical wire, which they sell to a recycling facility or junk dealer. “Also, thieves steal wiring from street lights, which sometimes causes whole city blocks to lose power,” Lavin-Mann said. “The whole parking lot at Carol Street lost power.” Lavin-Mann once found a thief stripping the wire out of a Pacific Gas and Electric Company meter.
“The junk dealers in the area have been in on this,” Lavin-Mann said. “Two dealers are now working with us, but two do not do due diligence when they buy the wire and metal. And we have met with them and asked them to do so…I’m an instructor in metal and copper theft. We have taken the training nationwide. I teach at any law enforcement agency. Recently, I taught a class on Treasure Island. We…were…in Washington State in October. This is a huge problem, so we have created a web site that other law enforcement agencies can access for information.”
Lavin-Mann invests some of her time in activities that aren’t directly related to crime. “I am involved in things like turning an area into a park,” she said. “For example, we are working on the parks around Islais Creek. Hopefully in the future we will have a path the goes around the creek, from the park on one side, to the park on the other side.” Lavin-Mann enjoys her job, and takes pride in getting things done. “That’s the most important thing,” she said.
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