ONLY ON ABC7 NEWS.COM: San Francisco police crackdown on fugitives in city's notorious Tenderloin District

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- In what could be record-setting, SFPD officers made 69 arrests Wednesday in the notorious Tenderloin District. The wide-ranging Operation targeted fugitives.

Its early morning in the Tenderloin. The neighborhood is awakened by a familiar sound of sirens from an unmarked police car.

"Our goal is to clean up the Tenderloin by arresting warrant offenders," the lieutenant in charge of the Operation tells officers in a large conference room.

Inside Tenderloin Station, some 40 officers, parole agents and Sheriff's deputies are being briefed about Wednesday's operation-- a zero tolerance fugitive roundup.

An ABC7 News reporter was embedded with Officers Joe Navalle and Kathleen Cavanaugh. Cavanaugh explains what zero tolerance means.

"So, if you have a warrant for $550 to a thousand dollars to no bail, everyone is going to jail."

That means everyone with a warrant-- from drinking in public to drugs to serious felonies.

The Tenderloin is a melting pot of offenders from out of town, even out of state.

Officers Navalle and Cavanaugh cruise the T looking for suspects they've encountered on the streets. They get arrested. They come back, sometimes the next day.

Half a dozen people are camped out on this block-the officer's interview two women.

"She was smoking meth out of a meth pipe and the other female was shooting up heroin," Officer Cavanaugh says.

Tracey, a nearby resident, is happy police are here.

"I work full time and I pay rent and I have to deal with this all day."

At this particular stop, two people with warrants are taken into custody. One of seven wagons operating Wednesday will take them to the County Jail.

In just about two hours, the two officers have taken part in six arrests, but their work is not finished.

"Well, there's one guy I'm looking for right now. I think he's got about five felony warrants," said Officer Navelle.

The officers know many by name-they even have a rapport.

"Sometimes I have personal conversations with them and sometimes I have business conversations," said Officer Cavanaugh

This encounter was a business conversation with a man they know as Charlie. They stopped Charlie Tuesday on the street. He had outstanding warrants for criminal threats and stay away orders.

The officers made a deal with him to go get help from city assistance programs and we won't take you in. Charlie didn't and was arrested.

Officer Navelle said, "Maybe a warrant like this will help him get some services that he needs."

This was the first fugitive operation since February by Tenderloin Police-the last one resulted in 50 arrests.

Police hoped to reach that same number on Wednesday. The arrests kept mounting as the day wore on and by the end of the seven-hour operation there were 69 arrests.
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