| June 2010
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By Heather Cassell
Community members, elected officials, and members of the San Francisco Police Department will gather at Metropolitan Community Church, 150 Eureka Street, on June 9 at 3 p.m. to remember the life of Patrol Special Police Officer Jane Ellen Warner.
Neighborhood residents, shoppers, and store owners will miss Patrol Special Police Officer Jane Warner and the warm and secure presence she brought to 24th Street. Photo courtesy Dawn Warner
Warner, a friendly and stable force of safety and security throughout the Castro, Mission, and Noe Valley neighborhoods, lost her more than yearlong battle against ovarian cancer on May 8. She was 53.
Warner died at her home in San Francisco with her mother, Carol Warner; wife, Dawn Warner; and close friend Michelle Ourlian at her side.
A procession to the memorial service will begin at 2:30 p.m. on the northeast corner at Castro and Market. Two receptions will follow the service, one at the Café, 2369 Market Street, and another at 440 Castro, 440 Castro Street.
The rainbow flag at Harvey Milk Plaza will be flown at half mast that day in honor of Warner, and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence will perform a special blessing.
Warner, who was known as "Officer Jane" along her Castro and 24th Street patrols, was a lifelong peace officer who loved law enforcement, in particular community policing.
For 20 years, she enjoyed walking her beats, smiling and joking with merchants and residents while petting dogs and providing helpful safety advice.
A journalist as well, Warner wrote a "Crime and Punishment" column for the Bay Area Reporter. She also contributed a monthly crime log to the Noe Valley Voice from 2007 to 2009.
"She was ever so sweet, caring, and appreciative of the Noe Valley community," said Bernadette Melvin, owner of Bernie's coffee shop on 24th Street. Melvin said Warner was well known by Bernie's customers and staff.
"She knew us all by name," said Melvin. "We relied on her for safety and general community information."
Noe Valley merchants hired Warner to supplement policing on 24th and other neighborhood streets.
Warner's business was more than a business--it was a passion, said Jim Hammer, commissioner of the San Francisco Police Commission.
"This was not just a job to her, she truly cared for all of us," echoed Melvin. "She will be dearly missed."
No one knows this better than San Francisco Police Officer Lorraine Lombardo, who shared the Castro and Noe Valley turf with Warner for 17 years. In recent years, the two would meet for coffee at Bernie's to exchange information about the 24th Street beat, she said.
"I'm pretty upset about Jane," said Lombardo, noting that there was a makeshift shrine to Warner at Mission Station, where they were both based. "She was my 'beat buddy.'"
Lombardo recalled Warner's special touch with shopkeepers, neighbors, children, and especially dogs.
She always "carried dog treats in her pocket," said Lombardo. "She had a huge heart for animals."
Warner was very involved in any rescue situation, pet or resident, said Lombardo. She recalled an incident where Warner went out of her way to help a gentleman obtain the substance abuse services he needed.
"I always respected her," said Lombardo. "I will miss her and so will her family and the community."
Warner "represented the epitome of community policing," said District 8 Supervisor Bevan Dufty. "Jane was such an active and important presence in the Castro and Noe Valley. Her passing touches all of us."
On May 17, Dufty proposed a resolution to the Board of Supervisors that the new plaza at 17th and Castro, across the street from Harvey Milk Plaza, be named Jane Warner Plaza.
Warner was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in late 2008. In spite of the diagnosis, she continued to manage her city-chartered police service business most of 2009 and returned to walking her beats later that year after medical professionals diagnosed her as cancer-free.
Warner started her career in law enforcement as a deputy sheriff in Hawaii in 1983, after obtaining her degree in criminal justice from Chaminade University in Hawaii. Three years later, she became an undercover police officer for the Honolulu Police Department and was honored with high merits. Warner moved to California and joined the San Anselmo Police Department. In 1993, she was hired by Patrol Special Police Officer Serge White, who owned the Castro and Noe Valley beats.
During her two decades as a patrol special police officer, Warner was honored with many commendations from the San Francisco Police Department, District Attorney's Office, Police Commission, Board of Supervisors, California State Senate, and merchants groups, including the Noe Valley Merchants and Professionals Association. The week after her death, Dufty and Hammer marked her service to San Francisco by adjourning the Board of Supervisors and Police Commission meetings in her memory.
Warner became president of the San Francisco Patrol Special Police Officers' Association, advocating on behalf of the private policing service, in 2005. She was a regular fixture at many community, merchant, and resident meetings, learning about community needs and providing information about neighborhood policing, patrol special police, and safety.
Warner was born Nov. 7, 1956, the youngest of three sisters, and raised in White Salmon, Washington. Warner's sisters fondly remember their younger sister lobbying her school and public officials on various issues throughout her childhood.
In April, Warner's family handed over management of Warner's beats to Melissa Handman, which was her wish.
"It is my deepest wish, as well as the wish of the merchants we serve, that the patrol special community police work continues in the future," Warner said in a statement the week prior to her passing.
In between tears, Dawn Warner thanked the community for its support during the family's loss and time of grieving. Warner's sister, Carol Lynn Fitch, said that Jane was cherished by family and "loved beyond measure."
In lieu of flowers, Warner's family suggests that donations be made in her memory to Rocket Dog Rescue (www. rocketdogrescue.org), San Francisco SPCA (www.sfspca.org), or the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund (www.ocrf.org).
Business calls regarding the Patrol Special Police can be directed to Handman at 415-559-9955 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. For police matters, that number can be called after 2 p.m.