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The Badge — S.F. gang cop prefers talking to applying handcuffs

The relationship between the media and law enforcement is often adversarial. Reporters appear to seek the sensational elements of a crime story, often to the detriment of the police, and officers tend to be uncooperative with journalists they seem to instinctively mistrust.

Not so with “The Badge,” a new series presented by a San Francisco Chronicle reporter/photographer team embedded with the SFPD. Kudos to the Chronicle for pursuing this series and to the officers who willingly put themselves in the media spotlight in the hopes of helping civilians develop a better understanding of life behind the badge. You’re putting a human face on “the police,” which will benefit us all.

Read the full "Badge" series

By John Koopman
The San Francisco Chronicle

SAN FRANCISCO It's early evening in San Francisco's Mission District, and a young man in a ponytail is walking quickly down a dark street. An unmarked police car rolls past, and the driver says out the window, "Hold up."

The young man is walking away from a group of known gang members. He's on probation for a grand-theft charge. The cops, Officer Mario Molina and his partner, Sgt. Dion McDonnell, swing their unmarked car around and park it at the street corner.

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