Be alert, not alarmed
by Capt. Alexa O’Brien
As your captain, I feel that it is my duty to not only inform the community about
upcoming events and activities in our district, but I also think it is imperative
that we rely on each other to be the eyes and ears out there when my police officers
are not present.
As you know, the Outside Lands Music Festival is descending upon our beautiful
Golden Gate Park this August 11-13. For those new to the area, it is an ambrosia of
talented musical artists on several stages performing over a three day period.
The sights, sounds and wonderful foods from around the world will be there to satisfy all
appetites. For those of us who have experienced Outside Lands for the past several
years, we know what it also brings; traffic, loud music late into the night, illegal
parkers, people camping in their cars all along the perimeter of the park and, of course,
As residents of the Richmond District, we must endure these temporary events and
all the congestion that comes with them, but know that there will be a calm after the
As my staff and I discussed the plans for Outside Lands, we reflected on this past year
and the negative news of those who wish to do harm to others in large crowd gatherings.
We must not let these small-minded individuals force us to live in fear, crippling our
efforts to enjoy the wonderful things life has to offer, in the greatest city in the
With the recent attacks, have come positive learning tools. Our heroes of the SF
Police Department have specialized units dedicated to protecting the good people here in
this great city and have specialized anti-terrorist training. These confidential,
but extremely effective methods will be employed prior to the Outside Lands festival.
Additional officers are detailed to the event and will be diligently employing tactics and
methodologies proven to ensure a safe and fun time for all attendees.
It is incumbent upon you, the great people of the Richmond District, to help us, and to
help our community, by being vigilant. If something does not look right, if it seems out of
place, please take note and immediately report it to police officers. For example,
backpacks left unattended would be something that our officers would be more than
happy to handle. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
Although there will be tens of thousands of people attending the event, know where you
are, know where your exits are and be aware of your surroundings. It is important to
have a buddy system in place, as well. Whether you are simply going to the restroom,
getting a bite to eat or moving from one venue to the next, it is best to be with someone
you trust. If one of your friends happens to partake in a few too many adult beverages,
please stay with him or her so they do not become a victim of any kind.
If they are beyond your capabilities, we have medical professionals on hand to take
over and ensure their safety.
The main message is to remain alert, not alarmed. San Francisco has dozens of largescale
events and hundreds of smaller events all year long that go off without a hitch. Officers
of the SF Police Department, along with several outside local, state and federal agencies,
work hand in hand with the community to ensure participant safety.
We all are prepared for major events, we study, teach and test each other with different
scenarios. We cannot do it alone, though. With community help, we will all be successful.
Capt. Alexa O’Brien is the commanding officer at the Richmond Station.