Noe Valley Voice April 2003

Battaglia Fills In for Corrales at Mission Station

By Kathy Dalle-Molle

Lieutenant Roger Battaglia, a 32-year veteran of the San Francisco Police Department, has been serving as acting commander of Mission Station since March 5, filling in for Captain Greg Corrales, who has headed up the station since January 2002.

Corrales has been on suspension without pay from the San Francisco Police Department since a grand jury indicted him Feb. 28 on charges of spreading misinformation. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges, which are related to the now-notorious "fajita-gate" incident involving three off-duty police officers outside a Union Street bar in November 2002.

Battaglia, 58, has worked at Mission Station since May 2001. Before taking over as acting commander, he assisted in overseeing the patrol staff. He also has worked in the patrol divisions at Park, Central, and Richmond stations, and in the Juvenile Division. He anticipates being in command at Mission Station for at least two months. (An April 18 trial date has been tentatively set for Corrales and four other officers who also have pleaded innocent to obstruction of justice charges in the case.)

"I hope I'm only going to be in charge for a short period," says Battaglia. "It wasn't my first choice in life to take this job, but I did it to support Greg Corrales. I think he's a great captain, and the officers at Mission Station are standing behind him 100 percent. This is a difficult time for Mission Station, but we're professionals who are going to continue to do our best to serve the community."

A native of San Francisco, Battaglia grew up in the Marina District but spent much of his time in North Beach, where his father and uncle were pharmacists. He currently lives in Marin County.

Although he "spent the first 521/2 years of my life in San Francisco," Battaglia admits that he's not too familiar with Noe Valley. "I don't know Noe Valley that well," he says, "but I talk with [beat officer] Lorraine Lombardo almost every day, so I'm up to speed on what's going on there. I know there have been a lot of burglaries in the area recently."

Battaglia also says he doesn't plan to make any changes at the station during his time as commander.

"We're just going to keep doing what we've been doing with the narcotics detail, the street enforcement, the prostitution detail, community policing, etc.," he says. "Everything has been working well."

However, he acknowledges that the entire Police Department "is being tested by the public right now.

"I do think we need to work to change the perception of what people think of us as officers," he says. "I fear that a lot of people hate us right now. Our badges are supposed to mean that we have some authority and that we should be taken seriously. But given what's occurred, that's come into question, and we need to deal with that perception while continuing to do our duty."