If one had to pick a single word to describe Bayview District’s new police captain, Steven Ford, it’d be “busy.” In addition to his captain duties, Ford teaches night courses in criminal justice at City College of San Francisco, is pursuing a doctorate in educational leadership at St. Mary’s College of California, and makes time for friends and family.
Ford took over the Bayview District from Captain Raj Vaswani last fall. He’s dedicated to doing police work in San Francisco, as a result of his personal background and the City’s political and social climate. He and his family moved to the East Bay in the mid-1990s, but Ford has strong ties to Bayview, going back generations. His parents grew up in the neighborhood – his mother on Navy Road in Hunters Point; his father on Connecticut Street in Potrero Hill – and both his grandmothers had funeral services at Bayview churches. His wife’s family also grew up in Bayview.
“I have a history with Bayview that goes back to the early-1940s,” Ford said. “And I spent a good amount of the time in Bayview as a kid.”
Ford was born in Daly City, spent his formative years living on Oceanview Avenue, and attended Westmoor High School. In 1987, when he was 21, an administrative justice class piqued his interest in policing, which he studied at San Francisco State University, earning his bachelor’s degree before acquiring a master’s degree from California State University Long Beach in emergency services and administration. In 1991, his first post after police field training was Bayview.
“Bayview is a special place,” he said. “A lot of people in the community I have personal ties to that go back to my teenage years, which has served me well transitioning as captain.”
Those personal connections inform him about community issues and concerns. “I communicate with the community to put them at ease and help them feel better about the issues at the time,” he said. “And most importantly, it helps to create an open, transparent, reciprocal relationship with the community.”
Ford cites his biggest accomplishment as raising his family. “As I get a little older and hopefully wiser, I put things into better perspective,” he said. “My biggest accomplishment is maintaining a happy, healthy family, and a supportive marriage for more than 25 years.”
When he was 13, Ford visited relations in Long Beach, who exposed him to weightlifting. Thereafter, he asked his mother to purchase a weight set for him, beginning a serious quest into powerlifting. “What kept me from doing it fulltime is the time commitment,” he said. “At that period in my 20s, I had a young family. Between work and personal obligations, I wasn’t able to commit to bodybuilding. But I ate like and trained like one, and I had friends who were competitive.”
Ford still has bodybuilding friends, amateurs and professionals. He attends bodybuilding shows two to three times a year, and maintains a focus on diet and exercise. “I love exercising and educating myself on how food works, and how the body reacts,” he said. “I’m still cognizant of what happens even though the goal is no longer to get bigger and stronger. But I still maintain as much lean muscle as possible.”
Ford started pursuing a doctorate in educational leadership in 2016 after 10 years of mulling it over. “I’m a huge proponent of education,” he said. “I think it’s critical in every aspect of our lives, whether you’re young or old. A working professional can never go wrong with pursuing and acquiring information.”
When his law enforcement career is over, Ford plans to get into the collegiate administrative arena, ideally serving as a department chair or a dean of students. In the meantime, while at Bayview he maintains communication lines with the community, seeing himself as a resource. “I want to make sure the Bayview District is a safe and vibrant place to live, work, and visit,” he said. “I’m personally committed to mitigating any upticks in violence. Public safety is at the forefront of my mind, and I want the community to view me as someone they can depend on.”
Ford holds weekly community meetings to develop relationships and address questions and concerns. He’s responsive to resident and merchant groups, letting them know of police resources and how they can work to solve collective issues related to safety, property crime and homelessness.
“In this contemporary time, every community issue and concern takes a collective effort to find meaningful and long-lasting solutions, whether they are big or small,” he said. “I want to be accessible, and to communicate by maintaining open dialogue through meetings, presentations, and workshops. My main goal is to make certain people feel good about the relationships they build with Bayview officers and that every police interaction is a positive one.”