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Retired police officer Brenda Tate standing in the Grove Street lot where Gaudenzia, a nonprofit drug and alcohol treatment corporation, wants to expand in the Hill District. (Photo by Maranie Rae Staab/PublicSource)

Brenda Tate’s Volkswagen slows down to a stop, and the men huddled on the street corner start to disperse. They know her car, gleaming red on a muted December afternoon in the Hill District.

Before she retired, Tate stood in her police uniform on this very corner and used to watch drug dealers. They were brazen, selling heroin in broad daylight and paid her no mind. They didn’t care that she was an officer. At one point, while walking her beat, Tate watched them for two weeks. “I figured out that there was a drug drop at 11 and a drug drop at 2,” she said. Tate started reporting the pattern and got the dealers arrested.

And even though now she’s 68 years old and has retired from the force, she still drives by to remind them she hasn’t left the Hill. Tate turns to me and points to the men on the corner who are giving her the eye.

“This corner I’m taking you to now, this is the heart of the drugs. They know me. They hate me still. They’re waiting for their dope right now… The dope man’s comin’.”



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