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Patrol History2024-05-16T21:53:03+00:00

We have a long and storied history since our humble beginnings in 2006. We have provided safety support for numerous memorial events recognizing the lives and contributions of significant members of our community. We have supported neighborhood rallies and marches in response to hate incidents and in support of equality. Beyond this, we continue to support educational outreach and regular neighborhood safety patrols.

This Patrol History is a brief recollection of some of the highlights of our history to date.


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2006

CASTRO PATROL IS FOUNDED

In response to numerous reported battery and sexual assault reports targeting gay men in the Castro and surrounding neighborhood, the Leather Community brought together a number of community individuals to work out a suitable response, and the Castro Community On Patrol was formed.


2007

CASTRO COMMUNITY ON PATROL BOARD MEMBERS

One of our founding members and initial Board of Directors members is Scott Wiener (L) who was an Assistant City Attorney at the time, before running for Office as Supervisor, then moving to the California House and ultimately to the California Senate.

Our current Board President and Chief of Patrol is Greg Carey (R) who has served since 2007.


2010

PATROL SPECIAL POLICE OFFICER JANE WARNER – CELEBRATION OF LIFE

Castro Community On Patrol participated in the Celebration of Life walk and service. Officer Warner was a strong supporter and a good friend to Castro Patrol and her passing was a shock to all of us. A Castro Guardian Angel taken way too early.

We assembled at Castro Street and Market Street for a formal SFPD ceremony, then walked with hundreds of attendees South on Castro Street to the Celebration of Life service held in a Church on Eureka Street.


2012

HARVEY MILK BIRTHDAY MARCH AND CELEBRATION

Castro Community On Patrol assisted the San Francisco Police Department during the annual Harvey Milk Birthday celebrations which started with speeches and music in Jane Warner Plaza followed by a march from the Plaza to the former Harvey Milk camera store on the 500 block of Castro Street.

Castro Community On Patrol helped to provide a safety barrier between the attendees and the vehicle traffic with SFPD.


2013

PROPOSITION 8 DAY OF DECISION

Proposition 8 was a California ballot proposition and a State constitutional amendment to define marriage as only legal between “a man and a woman” which passed in the November 2008 State elections. Legal challenges to Proposition 8 were quickly filed and ultimately the case was appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States who rendered a decision which vacated the prior decision by the Ninth Circuit court of appeal in June of 2013.  The Ninth Circuit ultimately dissolved their prior stay, and Governor Jerry Brown ordered same-sex marriages to resume in California.

Castro Community On Patrol supported a number of rallies that took place in the Castro, and provided safety support in collaboration with San Francisco Police Department for a number of marches from the Castro to City Hall.


2014

HARVEY MILK POSTAGE STAMP ISSUANCE DEDICATION CEREMONY

“Let this stamp remind us of the fundamental truth behind Mr. Milk’s message — that we all have a stake in equality,” said Deputy Postmaster General Ronald Stroman in dedicating the stamp. “Let this stamp inspire a new generation to continue Harvey Milk’s legacy — to keep working toward a world where prejudice gives way to acceptance, where division gives way to unity, and where fear gives way to hope.”

Castro Community On Patrol provided safety support for a dedication ceremony at Harvey Milk Plaza in the Castro neighborhood to celebrate the issuance of the postage stamp.


2015

SUPREME COURT RECOGNIZES SAME-SEX MARRIAGE

In a truly landmark decision, the United States Supreme Court decided on June 26, 2015 that the US Constitution grants same-sex couples the right to marry in a landmark win for marriage equality in the US.

In the case of Obergefell v. Hodges, the court considered whether the US Constitution requires US states to license two people of the same sex to marry. The decision comes after a series of important court rulings that have expanded the rights of LGBT people in the US. In June 2003, the court ruled in Lawrence v. Texas that state bans on private, consensual same-sex conduct violated the constitutional right to privacy. In June 2013, the court ruled in United States v. Windsor that section 3 of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibited any federal recognition of same-sex marriages entered into at the state level, was unconstitutional.

Castro Community On Patrol was on hand to provide additional safety for massive celebrations in the Castro neighborhood following the decision.


2016

PULSE NIGHTCLUB, ORLANDO MURDERS – RALLY ON CASTRO STREET

Within hours of the horrific murders at the LGBTQ+ Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida a rally was organized and formed on Castro Street that same afternoon and evening, with thousands of people paying their respects to the victims of the mass shooting.

Castro Community On Patrol was on hand to provide additional safety for the memorial and the speeches provided by politicians and community leaders.


2017

GILBERT BAKER MEMORIAL

Gilbert Baker was an artist activist, and neighborhood icon who passed away, aged 65, in 2017.  Baker conceived and created the RAINBOW flag at the Gay Community Center at 330 Grove St. (since demolished) as part of the decorations for Gay Freedom Day, specifically to be flown on the two flagpoles at United Nations Plaza in Civic Center, said Cleve Jones, the activist and author who was one of the organizers of the 1978 event.

It took a few years for the flag to take off, Jones said, but as gay rights continued to be a politically charged issue, it took on greater activist significance.

In the 1990s, the flag became more widely used to denote gay-friendly spaces, like bars and nightclubs. For the 25th anniversary of New York’s Stonewall riots in 1994, Baker created a mile-long flag that was carried during the city’s Pride parade. Sections were then sent to Pride celebrations around the world, furthering its symbolic reach.

Gilbert was remembered in the Castro neighborhood memorial attended by thousands.  Castro Community On Patrol was on hand to provide additional safety for the memorial.


2018

MARCH FOR OUR LIVES RALLY AND MARCH

Thousands joined the ‘March for our Lives’ movement on Saturday to speak out against gun violence. It was spearheaded by student survivors in Parkland school shooting in Florida.

Parkland, New York City, DC, Philadelphia, Chicago, Dallas, Seattle and Los Angeles were just some of the 800-plus cities across the world that participated in the demonstrations.

In the Bay Area, there were more than eight different demonstrations, including marches in San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose and Santa Rosa.

Castro Community On Patrol was on hand to provide additional safety for the march from Castro Street to Civic Center.


2019

ERNIE ASTIN MEMORIAL

Ernie Asten, the retired fourth generation patriarch of the Cliff’s Variety legacy, died March 15, after a 14-year battle with Parkinson’s and multiple systems atrophy, or MSA. He was 71.

Mr. Asten grew up in the Castro district and, much like his own children, within the store itself, said his daughter, Terry Asten Bennett, a straight ally who now manages the store. He and his grandfather are acknowledged as being the creators of the original Castro Halloween celebrations in the 1950s, Asten Bennett said. During the neighborhood renaissance of the 1970s, Mr. Asten was also known for his ability to repair or replicate many of the irreplaceable Victorian plumbing and architectural elements needed in restoring the Victorians of the neighborhood.

Longtime gay rights activist Cleve Jones wrote on Facebook that Mr. Asten was an early ally to the LGBT community.

“He and his family welcomed Harvey Milk and LGBTQ immigrants from around the world to what we now know as ‘the Castro,'” Jones wrote.

Castro Community On Patrol was on hand to provide additional safety for the tribute that started with a march up Castro Street with a Dixieland band followed by touching stories told in Jane Warner Plaza.


2020

SAN FRANCISCO DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH COVID-19 SAFETY POSTER DISTRIBUTION 

The first mandatory stay-at-home order in the mainland U.S. took effect throughout the Bay Area on March 16 and 17 and continued until mid-May, affecting nearly 6.7 million people. The early government response is credited with mitigating the spread of infection compared to cities on the East Coast.

Castro Community On Patrol assisted the San Francisco Department of Public Health during the early days of the global pandemic by distributing COVID-19 Safety posters throughout the Castro neighborhood. Our Patrollers did this at a time when a majority of people were remaining at home, and when considerable fear and uncertainly about COVID-19 abounded. Our Patrollers who volunteered during this period of time are true HERO’S in our eyes.


2021

LGBTQ / ASIAN AND PACIFIC ISLANDER RALLY AND MARCH AGAINST HATE

Thousands of protestors joined an initial rally in the Castro, then marched to Civic Center to participate in a larger rally in opposition to a number of violent assaults against members of the Asian and Pacific Islander community.

Castro Community On Patrol was on hand to provide additional safety for the march from Castro Street to Civic Center.


2022

CLUB Q MURDERS, COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO

Sadly, members of the LGBTQQI+ community remain targets of opportunity for such attacks, throughout the country and around the world. We were deeply troubled and saddened by the horrible attack and murders at the Club Q bar in Colorado Springs, Colorado. In response, Castro Community On Patrol reached out to our FBI and DHS partners and we redesigned our “Active Shooter – Terrorist Incident – Event Protection” training class and hosted the class in the Castro neighborhood, inviting bar, club, and businesses owners to attend. This was followed up by three additional training classes for the community spreading into early 2023.

2023

HEKLINA CELEBRATION OF LIFE

San Francisco drag icon, Heklina, was honored during a public Celebration of Life at San Francisco’s Castro Theatre. A portion of Castro Street was closed for 12 hours during the very well attended event.

Fans and friends celebrated the life of Heklina, 55, a prominent figure in the LGBTQ+ community. The event billed as: ‘Heklina A Memorial (She Would Have Hated This)’ was hosted inside the Castro Theater but  because of popular demand and limited space an outdoor component with two large screens outdoors was added.

The death of the beloved, outrageous, and over-the-top performer, on April 3 was sudden. Heklina, also known as Stefan Grygelko, was in London when she died, preparing to co-star in the production of Mommie Queerest,’ alongside dear friend Joshua Grannell, better known by his drag name, Peaches Christ.

Castro Community On Patrol provided additional safety support to the organizers for the duration of the event.


“SAFETY is a COMMUNITY EFFORT”

Castro Community On Patrol (Castro Patrol / CCOP) is a California nonprofit volunteer safety patrol and education corporation that focuses on enhancing safety and security of the Castro neighborhood in San Francisco for residents, businesses, employees, and visitors.

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Castro Community On Patrol, 584 Castro Street #731, San Francisco, CA 94114

Federal 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation Tax ID: 99-1829349  

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