August 08, 2014


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The Auxiliary Law Enforcement Response Team (ALERT) is a citizen disaster preparedness program designed for volunteers 16 years of age or older, who live, work, or attend high school in San Francisco. Graduates of the San Francisco Police Activities League (P.A.L) Law Enforcement Cadet Academy are also eligible to join.

Volunteers will receive training from both the San Francisco Fire Department and the San Francisco Police Department. ALERT volunteers will first complete the Fire Department’s Neighborhood Emergency Response Team (NERT) ( training and then graduate into an 8 hour Police Department course specifically designed for ALERT team members. The ALERT program will have Basic, Senior, and Supervisory level positions. Based upon the volunteer’s level of additional training, he/she may wish to obtain Senior or Supervisory level status. The goal of the program is to locate, train, and then coordinate volunteers to safely perform essential tasks after a major disaster. Such tasks might include: traffic control, foot patrol of business and residential areas, reporting criminal activity, looting and property damage observation, supplying information to the incident Command Post, working in partnership with NERT volunteers to provide well-being checks, assisting with medical aid, assisting with Command Post functions, assisting Animal Care and Control in the handling of pets, securing resource locations, and delivering logistical supplies. In addition, ALERT members will direct individuals to mass casualty and shelter locations, assist at reunification centers, provide support at schools for reunification, and participate in Operation Return.
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What is the profile of an ALERT member?

Someone who:
  • Is at least 16 years of age and lives, works, or attends high school in San Francisco.
  • Recognizes the need for community involvement in law enforcement tasks and has the time to commit and provide assistance.
  • Wants to be of value and service to the larger community, especially during times of disaster.
  • Has a particular interest in law enforcement, the maintenance of law and order, and who wishes to connect and work with members of the San Francisco Police Department.
  • Has an interest in building community preparedness to respond to and recover from major events and disasters, and may possess skills or work experiences which include emergency repairs and construction.
  • Has good communication skills, a balanced approach to stressful situations, and may be willing to take on the role of supporting the Police Department when necessary.
  • Is willing to participate in training and maintaining skills.
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Continued Training

As part of their commitment, community members volunteering as an ALERT member will be required to attend one drill per year to maintain their program status and certification. Every two years, the ALERT member will be required to attend an update course.
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ALERT Member Deployment

ALERT members will work closely with full-time and/or Reserve Police Officers in the event they are deployed after a disaster. The Basic ALERT volunteer (see below) will have no law enforcement powers other than those available to all citizens.
All ALERT members will be provided with uniform apparel and equipment to be worn during training drills and if/when a deployment were to take place. The ALERT volunteer will only need to supply themselves with a pair of dark pants and shoes.

ALERT Program training course and volunteer levels

The 8 hour ALERT (specific) training course has been developed and structured to allow for the training of the maximum number of interested volunteers. The program is one that acknowledges that some volunteers seek advanced training and opportunities in the area of law enforcement. The ALERT program offers a three-tiered level of participation to its volunteers. To obtain BASIC ALERT volunteer status, the participant must complete both the NERT and ALERT training courses. The SENIOR ALERT volunteer must complete both NERT and ALERT training, and must also complete Reserve Officer Level III training and obtain certification. To achieve ALERT SUPERVISORY level status, the volunteer must complete both NERT and ALERT training, and be certified as a Level II Reserve Officer (or higher) or be an SFPD Reserve Officer.

3 Steps to Becoming an ALERT Volunteer

  1. Complete NERT training and receive certification. To register for NERT training courses, please visit
  2. Once NERT certified, forward a copy of your valid NERT ID card, along with your home address and phone number to the ALERT program coordinator. Send email to:
  3. After clearing a basic background check, the individual is eligible to register for ALERT training.
**The NERT training courses often fill up quickly so please do not wait until the last minute to sign up for them. Also, allow an ample amount of time for your background interview process to be completed. Both of these processes may take some time to complete.

Background Check and Credentialing

All ALERT volunteers will be subject to a basic background check given to all Police Department volunteers. After completion of training and after having met any and all requirements, the ALERT volunteer will be given identifying credentials reflecting their level of training and role within the ALERT program.

ALERT Training

The next ALERT training classes have been scheduled for Saturday, August 9, 2014 and Saturday, October 25, 2014. The classes will be held at the San Francisco Police Academy, in the parking lot bungalow, from 8am-5pm (one hour lunch break).
IMPORTANT- All participants must complete the background interview process in order to be eligible to attend the ALERT training class.
Eligible ALERT participants may register for a training class by contacting the ALERT Program Coordinator, Mark Hernandez, at or by telephone at 415-401-4615.

ALERT Training Drill

All active/trained ALERT members are asked to join us at our next training drill, scheduled for Saturday, September 6th, 2014. Another training drill will take place on November 1, 2014. The drills will be held in the Police Academy (350 Amber Drive) parking lot from 9am-1pm. Details will be emailed to active ALERT members, prior to the date of the exercise. All ALERT volunteers are required to participate in at least one training drill per calendar year in order to remain eligible for a deployment.

Informational Meeting

View the San Francisco Fire Department N.E.R.T. Training dates and locations.

An informational meeting will be held at the San Francisco Police Academy, located at 350 Amber Drive, Parking lot bungalows, on Thursday, September 18th, 2014, at 7pm. All members of the public are welcome. Interested individuals will have their questions about the program answered at the meeting.
For more information on the San Francisco Police Department ALERT Program, email us at or call Sergeant Mark Hernandez (SFPD, Ret.), SFPD ALERT Program Coordinator, at (415) 401-4615.

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Last updated: 7/17/2014 4:10:30 PM
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