"Shooting for Dollars"

Charles J. Chiesa served as San Rafael's Police Chief from 1959 to 1969.  His main legacy is that he was the last elected San Rafael Police Chief.  But there was one other thing that stood out during Chiesa's tenure and that was Pay Day Meetings.  Chief Chiesa felt that it was important to get the entire Department together once a month so everyone could hear first hand what was new in the Department.  Chiesa chose the first payday of the month to have these meetings and they were held in the Department briefing room, which is still used for that purpose today.  The meeting was mandatory and it didn't matter when you worked last or what excuses you had, you just needed to show up.  You might be thinking that this was very expensive to do considering all the overtime that would have to be paid to get everyone to these meetings, but think again.  In those days you were ordered to show up and you didn't get paid.


These meetings were run by Chiesa's second in command, Capt. Joseph J. Brusatori.  Capt. Brusatori addressed the employees, going over the current business of the day and also reading the, "Good Boy" letters, which came in from citizens.  After each one one was read, there would sometimes be groans from the group with comments like, "Stop getting your mother to write all those letters."  Chief Chiesa would then address the group with anything important he had and being an elected Police Chief, you can bet he had a lot of important things to say.  Chief Chiesa was also insistent that all of his officers be well trained in the use of firearms and officers had to qualify at the pistol range once a month.  The range was open Monday through Friday for half a day with a range master present.  The last order of business at these meetings was the reading of the, "List of Shame."  These were officers who for whatever reason, never made it to the range to qualify for the month.  Chief Chiesa's policy regarding this matter was simple, "No shoot, No pay." So at the end of the meeting, delinquent officers rushed to the range to qualify and then rushed back to the police department to pick up their paychecks.  Needless to say, the first payday of the month turned out to be a very busy day at the pistol range.  Pay Day meetings ended with the retirement of Chief Chiesa.


Attached are two photographs.  The first photo is of Chief Chiesa and Capt. Brusatori.  The photo was taken in May of 1962 at the annual Traffic Boy's Picnic at Albert Park.  The second photo is of a San Rafael Police Officer qualifying at the old San Rafael Pistol Range which was located in the area of Windward Way and Kerner Blvd.  The photo was taken in February of 1966.  

Posted on July 14, 2014 .