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Ivano Franco Comelli

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La Nostra Costa (Our Coast): A Family's Journey to and From the North Coast of Santa Cruz, California (1923-1983)
Ivano Franco Comelli  More Info

About the San Jose Police Department

The City of San Jose was incorporated on March 27, 1850 and was selected as the State of California’s first state capital. Shortly after the incorporation, a City Marshal was established.  Today, the San Jose Police Department is a modern police department that employs over 1300 police officers organized in four bureaus, eleven division and more than 35 specialized units. The San Jose Police Department is administered by a command staff including the Chief, Assistant Chief and four Deputy Chiefs, presiding over an Operations Command divided into four Bureaus.


The San Jose Police Department refers to its Patrol Division as “The Bureau of Field Operations” (BFO). BFO is the primary provider of police services for the residents of San Jose. BFO deploys over 1,000 officers to 178 square miles of the City on a 24-hour basis. BFO personnel are prepared to respond to both emergency and non-emergency calls for service in each of the City's sixteen patrol districts, which are further broken down into police “beats.” The sixteen patrol districts comprise four divisions, each containing four districts. Each division is commanded by a Police Captain, who oversees six lieutenants, 24 sergeants, and many officers.


BFO of the San Jose Police Department provides continuous availability of field units to respond to calls for service, provides visible patrol throughout the City, detects and apprehends persons actively involved in criminal activity, recovers and returns lost and stolen property, provides for the safe movement of vehicular and pedestrian traffic, performs the initial investigation of criminal offenses, and attempts to reduce both immediate and potentially hazardous situations to the community. In addition, The San Jose Police Department BFO provides field narcotics enforcement, downtown (Entertainment Zone) enforcement, gang abatement, youth-oriented services, cruise management, field training of recruit officers, air support, and tactical incident containment and resolution.


BFO staffs three Community Policing Centers, placed in strategic areas of the City, in order to provide additional services to outlying neighborhoods. All BFO programs are continuously analyzed and refined to provide quality police services to the City of San Jose.




In 1959, Ivano Franco Comelli graduated from San Jose State College and joined the San Jose Police Department.  His law enforcement career spanned 37 years culminating with his retirement at the rank of captain.  Ivano Franco Comelli is the author of La Nostra Costa (Our Coast): A Family's Journey to and From the North Coast of Santa Cruz, California (1923-1983).


According to the book description of La Nostra Costa (Our Coast): A Family's Journey to and From the North Coast of Santa Cruz, California (1923-1983), “The author’s story begins in Nimis, a small agricultural village in the north eastern region of Italy known as Friuli. The year was 1923.  Benito Mussolini and his black shirted Fascists had just seized power.  The author’s father, Gervasio Comelli, had a choice to make.  Either re-enlist in the Army or come to America.  He chose the latter.  Knowing of other immigrants who had chosen the rugged north coast of Santa Cruz County as their new home, Gervasio decided to do the same. Situated a few miles south of San Francisco, Gervasio found work there on the local ranches. The Italians called them rancios and the ranchers were known as ranceri. The coast was referred to as la costa.


In the author’s world lacking television and video games, he describes how he and his boyhood friends amuse themselves by playing games in “the big gravel yard” and on their own private sandy beach. With a touch of humor, he tells us how he and his youthful friends, practicing their own inept form of voyeurism, surreptitiously find out how humans reproduce themselves.  Being thus informed, the author reveals how the   “big gravel yard” gang prepare themselves to “get the girls.”


In 1959, the author, leaving la costa behind, joined the San Jose Police Force. In chilling detail he describes how certain violent acts, such as the assassination of his best friend, changed his life forever. Using actual events, the author gives us a disturbing glimpse into the murky world of the police and outlines the personal rules he followed in order to survive.


For those readers who like their history told in a narrative fashion and embedded in a true life story, La Nostra Costa fills the bill. This never-before told story of the ranceri on the north coast of Santa Cruz, will keep the reader turning the pages, seeking the final out come of this family’s journey to and from la costa.     

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