Hayes Valley Safety Meeting: Goodbye Captain McEachern, Hello Captain Jaimerena

Hayes Valley Safety Meeting: Goodbye Captain McEachern, Hello Captain Jaimerena

Sup. Breed stands with SFPD Chief Suhr, Northern Station Captain John Jaimerena, Commander Greg McEachern and Western Addition community leaders. (Photos: Erasmo J. Martinez)

By Erasmo J. Martinez - Published on April 05, 2016.

Last month, we shared the news that Northern Station, the SFPD's district which spans the Western Addition, Pacific Heights, Japantown, Polk Gulch, Russian Hill and the Marina, was getting a new Captain, John Jaimerena. 

Jaimerena replaces previous captain Greg McEachern, who's moving up in the ranks to become the SFPD's Commander of Investigations. At last night's public safety meeting, put on by the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association (HVNA), Supervisor London Breed presented McEachern with a Certificate of Honor and thanked him for his work in the neighborhood. 

“Having [Commander McEachern] in charge of investigations for the entire city is so significant,” she said about his new position. “He understands the challenges, he understands the community. No one cares more that we get perpetrators of crimes that really tear down the quality of life in our communities.”

Supervisor London Breed presenting a certificate of honor to Commander Greg McEachern.

Breed said that during McEachern’s time as Northern's Captain, the district's office ranks swelled by 20 percent. (Police staffing levels have risen across the city.) Violent and property crime also decreased over the past three years: Bob Barnwell, head of Hayes Valley Safety Committee, also pointed out a decrease in violent crime in the district's public housing.

As part of the farewell ceremonies, Barnwell handed Commander McEachern several gifts from various Hayes Valley businesses, like coffee vouchers from Blue Bottle and a free breakfast voucher for Stacks. 

“What I’m going to miss most is events like this,” Commander McEachern told us. “[Hayes Valley residents] are an extremely engaged community. When they come with problems, they also come with solutions.”

Police Chief Greg Suhr said new Captain John Jaimerena, who's been in the San Francisco police department for 22 years, finished top of the most recent Captain’s list for possible replacements. Captain Jaimerena previously worked in investigation and on patrol in the Northern Station, and was a lieutenant in the SFPD's Gang Task Force before being promoted and serving as a lieutenant in the Tenderloin. The Captain is also a San Francisco native, and a first-generation police officer.

“This is my dream job,” he told us with a huge smile. "My main goal is to create more community engagement. McEachern set the table great for me."

Captain John Jaimerena speaks at last night's safety meeting.

Since taking the position, Capt. Jaimerena has placed more foot officers in the Fillmore and in Japantown, and says he’s working on training more officers to ride bikes, and getting outside their vehicles in general.

During last night's meeting, police were asked about the still-unsolved quadruple homicide on Laguna & Page, which took place last January. Chief Suhr said their investigation is finally seeing some movement. 

“We have a very good lead and we’re waiting for another couple things to happen,” said Chief Suhr. “Supervisor Breed is looking at advancing the reward to a greater amount. We believe we can leverage that reward to perhaps expand upon the lead we already have.”

Attendees also brought up some drug activity on Linden Street (near Blue Bottle). Sup. Breed responded by noting that finding the best solutions to handle drug offenders is a difficult task. She said she’s pushing the Board of Supervisors to fund more health services for individuals using drugs.

Barnwell said that the HVNA is working hard to push for more lighting in the area to help deter crime. (Read more about what else could be in store for Hayes Valley's alley's in our story from yesterday.)

The next Public Safety meeting will be held on May 2nd, and might be convened outdoors, in Patricia’s Green. Meetings are usually held in the Korean American Community Center, but this one will focus on pedestrian safety, and will likely include a walk-through of street hazards in the area.

If you'd like to meet Captain Jaimerena for yourself, he'll be at the next Northern Station community meeting on April 14th, along with Alison Burke of SF SAFE. The meeting will be held at the station, located at 1125 Fillmore St. (at Turk).