Gianrico Pierucci, a resident of the San Francisco Bay Area and a Homicide Inspector Sergeant for the SFPD, is a frequent visitor of North Beach and the San Francisco Italian Athletic Club.
Pierucci, 51, was born in Caprile, Italy, a small village in the region of Marche. Eventually, Pierucci moved into San Francisco and as a young boy always dreamed of becoming a cop for the SFPD. His first real taste of this goal was becoming a crossing guard as a kid for Saints Peter and Paul Church within North Beach.
“It was kind of funny, because there I met a bunch of cops that were like to me, 20 feet tall,” Pierucci says. He was able to go on ride alongs with these same cops as well.
As Pierucci got older, he joined a cadet program where he worked with police during events and festivals in the city. He also did some filing for the station.
Although Pierucci started Political Science and Pre-Law studies at St. Mary’s College in Moraga, this was not his calling card. He went to the Community College of San Francisco where he studied Criminology and got back on track to being a policeman. After finishing up at City College, he then attended USF to work as a Public Safety Officer. From that point, the cadet decided it was time to further his career. “While I was at USF, I decided that I wanted to take the test for SFPD because it was time for me to do so, so I did,” Pierucci said. “It was a total change.”
He was accepted as a patrol officer with the SFPD in 1987 and went through a 7-month academy. Once he completed that, he started working midnight shifts. Pierucci went into detail about his numerous amounts of sleepless nights. This was not because of working midnights, which he has done in the past prior to this, but the court proceedings that followed all arrests was the reason for these long days. If he made any arrests during his midnight shift, he would have to appear in court the next day during business hours of 9 am to 5 pm.
This kind of fight against fatigue was a real test for Pierucci. A jury was set to decide the outcome of an arrest and he had to be at his best with accuracy and consistency to legitimize his arrest. “A lot of times, because of lack of sleep, you may come out and say something, and you didn’t think of what you were saying, and now things change because there are 12 people on the jury who are looking and saying ‘look at this guy, he just changed his story’,” he said. “They don’t know that I’ve been up two days in a row, three days in a row.”
Pierucci always wanted to work at Central Station because that is the police station that covers North Beach, but he was not sent there, instead he ended up at Northern where he was a worker in the Specialist Detail. Within that department, he handled a lot of hostage situations and situations with barricaded suspects. “It doesn’t end until the suspect comes out with his hands up,” he said.
On his days off, Pierucci studied to be a sergeant while at Golden Gate University and to obtain his Masters. He was a sergeant in the Bayview neighborhood during the midnight shift for three years. While chasing a suspect during his shift, he cracked his knee, which required surgery. While he recovered, he worked with internal affairs.
Finally in 1999, he got sworn into the Inspectors Bureau after passing their test. He started in the Operations Center, then to Domestic Violence. “It’s a horrible type of situation but you can help a lot of people in domestic violence.”
Five years ago, he took an interview for the homicide unit and got accepted within that and that is where he stands today.
Dressed in suit and tie, with his police badge polished clinging to his suit, and a constant smile, no one would ever guess this man sees dead people for a living. Not only has he been with the SFPD for over 27 years now, but also on the side, he is a contributor with the San Francisco Italian Athletic Club in North Beach and is a popular figure among the Italian Club. In fact, he was club President in 2009-10.
In Pierucci’s off time, he is often found around North Beach and the Italian Club. “Not only is Gianrico a big part of the Italian Club, but he also supports the St. Francis of Assisi Lights at the Porziuncola on Vallejo Street,” Bernadette Mendoza says, who is the Manager of Francesco Rocks. Francesco Rocks is a little shop filled with Italian ceramic frescos and other religious art gifts that is intertwined with the Porziuncola.
Paul Alioto, the general manager of the Italian Club, only had good words to speak of Pierucci. “He is just a real stand up guy and always helps support this club. He is a former President here and was great at it. He’s an active member.”
Pierucci has been married for 27 years, 28 years in May, and has two children.