Well, it's over, guys. Captain Greg Corrales, the SFPD stalwart known for his colorful turns of phrase and his obsession with pot busts, has left the building.
Corrales, who retired from the force at the end of May, was famed for brightening first Mission than Park Station's community incident reports with headlines like “Bellicose Beer Bandit Belatedly Bolts” and “Lout on the Lam Located.”
Local writers mourned the loss of copy that nearly wrote itself when, in 2010, Corrales' Mission Station newsletters were suspended when he was transferred to SFO.
Blessedly, his delightful writing returned when he was assigned to Park Station in 2012. Matier and Ross and CW Nevius surely breathed sighs of relief when they saw his name back in their inboxes, able again to fill that last inch of their columns with Corrales' references to “flower children” and “The Weed With Roots In Hell." SFist certainly wasn't immune to his linguistic charms, as you can see here.
Corrales was also known for his heroism, including, reports the Ex, "crashing through a window in a Superman T-shirt during a drug bust in Potrero Hill; chasing down and apprehending two armed muggers while on vacation in New Orleans; after being kidnapped while acting as an undercover decoy, managing to cuff and detain his kidnappers, driving their car back to the station house."
Corrales certainly courted his share of controversy: as a profile of Corrales in Sunday's Examiner said, "He is disdained by some as a cowboy, a loose cannon, a true-believing soldier in America's decades-old war on drugs." To that latter point, a Bay Citizen investigation from 2012 highlighting Corrales' practice of Haight area pot sales stings (termed buy-busts) incited criticism of the Captain for his aggressive enforcement of drug sales laws. But Coralles said that the operations had actually improved life in the area, arguing that his tactics had dealers on the run.
“I probably could have bought marijuana in a suit and tie because there had been no enforcement, so nobody was paranoid. Now they’re more careful,” Corrales told the BC in December, 2012.
Some of Corrales' newsletter remarks drew fire, as well, and he actually toned things down in the last year after getting repeated complaints that his language was insensitive to the homeless. He preferred terms “hobo” and “noisome ne’er-do well.”
However, all bets were off for Corrales' farewell newsletter, sent May 29 (it's not available online, but I've copied it from email and uploaded it for you to read here).
"I will take this last opportunity to thank all of you that welcomed me to the Park District and who have supported me for the last two years. Particular thanks to the many of you that expressed disappointment and offered condolences when our newsletter was censored," Coralles wrote.
"On Tuesday I donned my uniform for the last time, got into a black-and-white radio car for the last time, and went on patrol for the last time. I’ve been a policeman for forty-four years, eight months, twenty-eight days, all my adult life. It wasn’t long enough.
On Wednesday, after turning in all my gear, I opted to check conditions on Haight Street one last time. Despite employing my finely honed police instincts for the last time, I was unable to spot any suspicious scoundrels skulking sinisterly. Purveyors of pernicious poison, in possession of passels of The Weed with Roots in Hell were nowhere to be seen. I knew then that I could go home."