Noe Valley Voice September 2000

Noe Valley's Tom Redmond Makes Captain

By Lillian Brown

San Francisco Sheriff Michael Hennes-sey recently promoted Noe Valley native son Tom Redmond to the rank of captain during a special ceremony at City Hall.

Redmond, 56, is facility commander at the San Francisco County Jail in San Bruno, which currently houses 550 prisoners. "The San Bruno County Jail is the oldest operating jail in California. It was built in 1935," says Redmond. "I make sure that the jail runs efficiently."

Redmond has deep roots in Noe Valley, which he describes as "an extraordinarily friendly place where people talk to you as you walk down the street and the merchants greet you by name."

Born and raised at the corner of Hoffman and Alvarado streets, Redmond has never strayed far from his Noe Valley home. He went to school at St. Philip's on Elizabeth Street, where he met his future wife, Alice. They were married at St. Philip's Church on Diamond.

Tom Redmond's parents, Rose and Peter Redmond, still live in Noe Valley, as does his mother-in-law, Frances "Ducky" Newland, who lives in the house where she was born. His father-in-law, Homer Newland, is deceased.

In the 1970s, Redmond moved with his family about five minutes away to Glen Park. However, his life remained centered around Noe Valley. All three of his children -- Michael, Cynthia, and Colleen -- attended St. Philip's. Redmond dates his years of coaching on the St. Philip's basketball courts to when his kids attended school there. He coached boys' basketball at St. Philip's in the early 1980s and girls' basketball from 1993 to 1997. He also served on St. Philip's sports council, parish board, and school board.

Redmond joined the Sheriff's Department in 1966 and worked for many years in the civil division, where he became a recognized expert on the legal and social aspects of eviction, frequently lecturing at area colleges. While moving up through the ranks, he also served as a court bailiff, as a manager of rehabilitation programs, and as an administrator in other jails in the county system.

A self-described "burly Irishman" who chats with inmates and jokes with his deputies as he walks the jail corridors, Capt. Redmond supervises more than 100 people in the San Bruno facility.

"Tom is a versatile and talented leader," Sheriff Hennessey said in awarding Redmond the promotion last spring. "He has an exceptional ability to manage people and deal with crises in a calm and practical manner--qualities that are highly respected and needed in a jail."

Meanwhile in the Redmond family, traditions carry on from one generation to the next. Tom Redmond's 84-year-old father, Peter Redmond, a retired squadron leader with the San Francisco Fire Department, still takes frequent walks on 24th Street. Tom's son, Michael Redmond, is an officer with the San Francisco Police Department.

And Capt. Redmond and his wife Alice still prefer to shop for their groceries -- and their shoes -- in Noe Valley. Says Tom, "As far as I'm concerned, Noe Valley is the best area in San Francisco."