CCOP IS THE LONGEST SERVING COMMUNITY SAFETY PATROL IN SAN FRANCISCO

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The Castro neighborhood in San Francisco has long been a symbol of LGBTQ+ pride and activism. As a haven for the queer community, it has played a pivotal role in the struggle for LGBTQ+ rights and acceptance. One unique aspect of this vibrant neighborhood’s history is the development and evolution of LGBTQ+ volunteer safety patrols, aimed at ensuring the safety and well-being of community members.

To understand the emergence of LGBTQ+ safety patrols, it is crucial to delve into the historical context of the Castro neighborhood. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the LGBTQ+ community was beginning to assert its rights and demand recognition. The Stonewall riots of 1969 marked a turning point, igniting a wave of activism that reverberated across the United States. The Castro emerged as a hub for LGBTQ+ activism, drawing individuals seeking a safe haven from discrimination and persecution. As the community thrived, so did the need for ensuring the safety of its members in the face of harassment, violence, and prejudice.

Lavender Panthers 1973-1974

The Lavender Panthers was an armed patrol group which was founded by Pentecostal Evangelical preacher and activist Raymond Broshears. The group formed in direct response to violent assaults and verbal hatred levied against the LGBTQ+ community and patrolled in the Castro and Tenderloin neighborhoods. Adopting both aggressive and peaceful strategies, the Lavender Panthers first distributed safety whistles, a concept borrowed from the Feminist movement. Patrol members carried bats and shotguns, and a violent altercation outside of the Pendulum Bar in Castro led to Police being called and the ultimate disbandment of the group in 1974.  Despite the similarity in names between the Black Panthers and the Lavender Panthers, the groups were not connected.

Pink Berets 1975-1979

The Pink Berets, a groundbreaking LGBTQ+ safety patrol group, was formed in response to rising violence against queer individuals in the Castro during the late 1970s. Comprising volunteers from the community, the Pink Berets aimed to create a visible and assertive presence to deter potential attackers and provide support to those in need. The early days of the Pink Berets were not without challenges. The group faced opposition from some segments of society, including law enforcement and conservative groups. Despite these hurdles, the Pink Berets persevered, gaining recognition for their commitment to community safety. The group’s successes included a reduction in hate crimes, increased visibility of LGBTQ+ individuals, and fostering a sense of unity within the community. As a symbol of resistance, the Pink Berets left an indelible mark on the history of LGBTQ+ activism in San Francisco. The Pink Berets were functional for around five years before ultimately disbanding.

Richard Heakin Memorial Butterfly Brigade 1976-1981

The Bay Area Gay Liberation (BAGL) group was active in handing out safety whistles in the Castro neighborhood as a safety initiative and in 1976 they formed the Richard Heakin Memorial Butterfly Brigade in memory of a young man murdered in Tucson, Arizona by a group of four teenagers in 1976.  The Butterfly Brigade later became the San Francisco Street Patrol.

San Francisco Street Patrol 1990-1994

As the LGBTQ+ community continued to evolve, so did the strategies employed by safety patrol groups. In the 1990s, the San Francisco Street Patrol (SFSP) was formed. Initially called DORIS SQUASH (Defend Our Rights In the Streets / Super Queers United Against Savage Heterosexism) the group was active from 1990 to 1994. Its mission was to promote GLBT people’s safety by primarily discouraging queer bashing through organized and regular nighttime patrols of the Castro. SFSP also worked to increase awareness of self-defense and violence avoidance methods. This was the first group to hand out whistles and fliers with safety tips. The group drifted apart in 1994 as members moved out of the Bay Area for various reasons.

Castro Community On Patrol 2006 – to date

Castro Community On Patrol (CCOP) built upon the foundation and history laid by those who went before us, adapting to the changing needs of the community and the socio-political landscape. Formed in 2006 in response to violent physical assaults against Gay men in the Castro, CCOP forged partnerships with local law enforcement agencies, businesses, and other community organizations. These collaborations were instrumental in enhancing the effectiveness of safety patrols and addressing broader issues such as self-defense training and active shooter classes within the LGBTQ+ community.

The resilience and adaptability of CCOP has led to it being one of the most long-lasting, effective, and recognized safety programs within the LGBTQ+ Castro community. Looking forward, the LGBTQ+ community in the Castro and beyond must continue to advocate for inclusive policies, social acceptance, and safety for all. The legacy of safety patrols serves as a reminder that the fight for LGBTQ+ rights extend beyond legal victories and requires ongoing community engagement. As the struggle for LGBTQ+ rights continue, the lessons learned from the history of safety patrols in the Castro can inform future initiatives, fostering a sense of community, pride, and activism. Through collaboration, visibility, and ongoing advocacy, LGBTQ+ safety patrols remain a crucial component of the broader movement for equality and acceptance.

CCOP is a vital element in the overall fabric of safety in the Castro neighborhood. Volunteers are drawn from all neighborhoods, all walks of life, and all genders and sexual orientations. If you are 18 years of age or older with no criminal convictions or charges pending for theft or violence, then you are sought by CCOP to join our volunteer Patroller ranks.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

Beyond our primary Patrolling function, we also support many other community nonprofits, we offer educational classes to the community in a variety of subjects, and we liaise and coordinate with private and governmental agencies on numerous projects and efforts. CCOP is recognized as a leading organization in the promotion and advancement of general safety and security for the Castro neighborhood, and throughout the years we have been recognized in various ways such as:

> 2024, F.B.I. Directors annual Community Liaison award for our work with the broader LGBTQ+ community
> 2021, Harvey Milk Democratic Club Community Service award
> 2020, Neighborhood Empowerment Network Outstanding Neighborhood Watch Group award
> 2013, San Francisco Board of Supervisors Certificate of Honor award

Becoming a Patroller with CCOP will offer you many varied opportunities to volunteer and support the Castro neighborhood in a positive and affirming way. Patrolling is also a lot of fun, and you will make some great new friends among the other Patrollers.

ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE

Our Patrol Chief’s and Board of Directors are responsible for the strategic development and day to day operations of CCOP.  All are unpaid volunteers who donate a considerable amount of time, energy and experience towards keeping CCOP relevant and effective in the ever changing dynamic of the Castro neighborhood.  We have seven Board of Director positions available but have only filled four of those positions at the present time.

ADMINISTRATIVE DIVISION – Board of Directors

  1. Greg Carey,  Chairperson (Chr.)
  2. Ken Craig,  Vice Chairperson (VChr.)
  3. Brian Hill,  Assistant Vice Chairperson (AVChr.)
  4. Kyle Wong,  Director (BoA)
  5. Open
  6. Open
  7. Open

If you feel you have something to offer to our Board of Directors, please email us at INFO@CastroPatrol.org with a brief bio and how you think you would be able to serve Castro Patrol and the broader community as a member of our Board.

PATROL DIVISION – Chief’s of Patrol

  1. Greg Carey,  Chief of Patrol (Chf.) – Public Relations & Media Branch
  2. Ken Craig,  Assistant Chief of Patrol (AChf.) – Training & Certification Branch
  3. Brian Hill,  Deputy Chief of Patrol (DChf.) – Technology Branch
  4. Kyle Wong, Deputy Chief of Patrol (DChf.) – Recruitment & Retention Branch
  5. To be announced, Assistant Deputy Chief of Patrol (ADChf.) – Training & Certification Branch
  6. To be announced, Assistant Deputy Chief of Patrol (ADChf.) – Technology Branch
  7. To be announced, Assistant Deputy Chief of Patrol (ADChf.) – Recruitment & Retention Branch
  8. To be announced, Senior Patroller (SPtlr.)
  9. To be announced, Senior Patroller (SPtlr.)
  10. To be announced, Senior Patroller (SPtlr.)
  11. To be announced, Senior Patroller (SPtlr.)
  12. To be announced, Senior Patroller (SPtlr.)
  13. To be announced, Senior Patroller (SPtlr.)

PATROL CHIEF BIOGRAPHIES

Chief Greg Carey

KCCO, St.WECB, OVC, OSC

Joined CCOP:  2007

Position:

  • Chief of Patrol – Patrol Division
  • Chairperson of the Board of Advisers – Administration Division
  • Director of Public Relations & Media Relations
  • Knight Commander of the venerable Castro Order (KCCO)

CCOP Awards / Recognition:

  • 15 year Continuous Service Pin (2022)
  • 10 year Continuous Service Pin (2017)
  • Outstanding Volunteer Commendation Bar 2013 (OVC)
  • Outstanding Service Commendation Bar 2013 (OSC)
  • 5 year Continuous Service Pin 2012

Other Awards / Recognition:

  • 12/16/2012 – Certificate of Sainthood – Order of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence as St. Watchful Eyes of the Castro Beat (St.WECB)

Greg (Greggy) Carey was born in South Dakota. He was educated at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, studying Electrical Engineering. He worked at Sencore Electronics in Sioux Falls, SD for 19 years, serving several roles including technical writer and editor, field trainer, and corporate video producer.

He moved to Bay Area of California in 1973 before returning to Sioux Falls 2 years later. He met his current partner Rahn Anderson in 1977. They were legally married in San Francisco in 2008. In 1978 he was one of the founding members of the Sioux Empire Gay and Lesbian Coalition (SEGLC) and in 1985 founded the first AIDS support group in South Dakota, the Eastern Dakota AIDS Network (EDAN). He “retired” from gay activation when he and Rahn moved to California in 1991.

Greggy and Rahn began producing a series of video documentaries for the Metropolitan Community Church of San Francisco (MCC-SF) in 1997, winning 3 Telly awards as a result. He began working for Cisco Systems in San Jose in 1999 where he is currently a Metrics Analyst in the Learning and Development Solutions Group.

In 2007 he trained to become a member of the San Francisco Neighborhood Emergency Response Team (NERT) and has been the Diamond Heights coordinator since 2010 and is an active member of the Diamond Heights Disaster Ready workgroup (http://disasterreadydhsf.com).

In 2007 he became a volunteer with the Castro Community on Patrol (CCOP). A short time later he joined the Board, and in 2008 became its Chair. He is also a member of the SFPD/LGBT Police Forum and the San Francisco District Attorney LGBT Forum.

Chief Ken Craig

Assistant Chief Ken Craig

KCTO, KCCO, St.SPCB, OVC, OSC

Joined CCOP:  2006 (Original founding member of CCOP)

Position:

  • Assistant Chief of Patrol – Patrol Division
  • Vice Chairperson of the Board of Advisers – Administrative Division
  • Director of Volunteer Training, Certification & Emergency Services Liaison
  • Knight Commander of the venerable Castro Order (KCCO)

CCOP Awards / Recognition:

  • 15 year Continuous Service Pin 2021
  • 10 year Continuous Service Pin 2016
  • Founding Member Plaque 2016
  • Outstanding Dedication 10 years Trophy 2016
  • Outstanding Volunteer Commendation Bar 2014 (OVC)
  • Outstanding Service Commendation Bar 2013 (OSC)
  • Training Instructor Commendation Bar 2013
  • 5 year Continuous Service Pin 2012
  • Certificate of Appreciation 2008

Other Awards & Recognition:

  • 10/21/2018 – Certificate of Appreciation – SFPD Auxiliary Law Enforcement Response Team
  • 01/27/2017 – Certificate of Recognition – California State Senate
  • 01/27/2017 – Certificate of Recognition – California State Assembly
  • 01/27/2017 – Certificate of Honor – Mayor, City and County of San Francisco
  • 01/27/2017 – Certificate of Honor – City Assessor – Recorder, City and County of San Francisco
  • 01/27/2017 – Exemplary ALERT Leadership Trophy – Neighborhood Empowerment Network
  • 10/02/2016 – Certificate of Recognition – California State Senate
  • 07/12/2014 – Certificate of Completion – Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigations Citizens Academy
  • 12/18/2013 – Certificate of Completion – SFPD Citizens Academy
  • 04/13/2013 – Certificate of Completion – SFPD Auxiliary Law Enforcement Response Team
  • 12/16/2012 – Certificate of Sainthood – Order of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence as St. Serve and Protect of the Castro Beat (St.SPBC)
  • 06/18/2012 – Certificate of Recognition – San Francisco District Attorney
  • 05/31/2012 – Certificate of Recognition – Safety Awareness For Everyone
  • 05/31/2012 – Certificate of Recognition – California State Assembly
  • 11/02/2008 – Certificate of Recognition – Safety Awareness For Everyone

Ken is one of the original founding members of Castro Community On Patrol, and the only founding member who remains actively involved with the organization as a volunteer and Patroller.

As a Grand Master instructor of martial arts and head of Triangle Martial Arts Association when CCOP was being formed in mid 2006, Ken was asked to attend and speak at the very first public meeting at Joe’s Barber Shop on 17th Street in the Castro. Shortly after that meeting an organizing group was formed and Ken was asked to develop the volunteer training materials for a walking safety patrol.  The training content and concept was then approved by the San Francisco Police Department and by SF Safety Awareness For Everyone (SAFE) who remain our fiscal sponsors.  Ken led the very first volunteer training class for CCOP on November 11, 2006 certifying the first 23 volunteers for patrol, and he has conducted most subsequent volunteer training class since then as our director of Volunteer Training and Certification for CCOP.

Ken was born and raised in Scotland in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland – making him both Scottish and British (which confuses many people.)  He joined the Corps of Royal Military Police at 17 1/2, a part of the British Army.  When he left the military he worked at the Royal Navy Nuclear Submarine Base, at Faslane in Scotland during their Trident nuclear missile expansion, and subsequently at the Royal Naval Armaments Depot in Coulport also in Scotland.  He later worked as a lead systems engineer at the Nuclear Electric, Pressure Water Reactor project in Knutsford, England;  at Allegehney Power in Pittsburg, PA;  at AIL Defense Systems on the B1 bomber project on Long Island, NY;  at Exxon Company USA in Benecia, CA; and BayTec Engineering in Napa, CA which worked in the bio-tech field.

Ken holds a 9th Degree black belt in the Korean Hap Moosa Ki-Do martial art;  a 9th Degree black belt in the Yong Chul-Do martial art;  and an 8th Degree black belt in the Korean Tae Kwon-Do martial art – all of which are Grand Master rankings.  Ken is a Knight Commander of the most illustrious Triangle Order, Knight Commander of the venerable Castro Order, and Saint “Serve and Protect of the Castro Beat” of the Order of The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. He has also been recognized regularly for his indefatigable community work by the State of California, the City and County of San Francisco Board of Supervisors, the San Francisco Fire Department NERT program, the San Francisco Police Department, the San Francisco District Attorney and many other governmental and community entities.

Ken is also heavily involved in many other community service activities:

Ken lives and works in San Francisco in the Rincon Hill neighborhood with his husband, Paul, whom he met in 1997.  Ken & Paul were married at San Francisco City Hall on October 30, 2008 just slipping in under the wire before the contentious Proposition 8 passed two days later which stopped same sex marriage in California.  Ken became a naturalized U.S. Citizen on August 15, 2012.

Deputy Chief Brian Hill

KCCO, OVC, OSC

Joined CCOP:  2009

Position:

  • Deputy Chief of Patrol – Patrol Division
  • Assistant Vice Chairperson – Administrative Division
  • Director of IT Support & Electronic Communications
  • Knight Commander of the venerable Castro Order (KCCO)

CCOP Awards / Recognition:

  • 10 year Continuous Service Pin 2019
  • Outstanding Volunteer Commendation 2018 (OVC)
  • Outstanding Service Commendation 2014 (OSC)
  • 5 year Continuous Service Pin 2014
  • 3 year Continuous Service Pin 2012

Profile details to come.

Deputy Chief Kyle Wong

KCCO, OVC, OSC

Joined CCOP:  2014

Position:

  • Deputy Chief of Patrol – Patrol Division
  • Board of Advisers Member – Administrative Division
  • Staff Officer – Administrative assistant to the Patrol Chiefs and Board of Advisers
  • Knight Commander of the venerable Castro Order (KCCO)

CCOP Awards / Recognition:

  • Advanced to Knight Commander of the venerable Castro Order (KCCO) 05/2022
  • Promoted to Deputy Chief (DChf.) of Patrol 05/2022
  • Outstanding Service Commendation 2019 (OSC)
  • 5 year Continuous Service Pin (2019)
  • Advanced to Knight of the venerable Castro Order (KCO) 06/2017
  • Promoted to Assistant Deputy Chief (ADChf.) of Patrol 06/2017
  • Outstanding Volunteer Commendation 2016 (OVC)
  • Patroller of the Year 2016 (CSG)
  • Patroller of the Year 2015 (CSG)
  • Promoted to Senior Patroller (SPtlr.)  03/2016
  • Appointment to CCOP Board of Advisers  04/2015
  • Graduated CCOP Basic Training Class 043  11/11/2014

Profile to come.

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