Golden Badge Foundation HONOREE Unsung Heros Award
Robert Kraft has been a Probation Officer with San Luis Obispo County for over 10 years. For the last five years he has served on the multi-juristictional Gang Task Force, which is administered by the Sheriff's Office. Rober has qualified numerous times as an expert witness on the gangs. He has kep the quality and reputation of the Gang Task Force exceptional.
Several significant facts and cases have occured that Robert was instrumental in. In particular is this: At Thanksgiving time, 2006 Robert on his way to go off duty when he decided to "take a look at" a local motel that our gang officers had been watching. He discovered a person laying in pool of blood and when Robert got out to take a closer look he discovered that it was a local gang member who has been shot and killed. This was in the juristiction of Arroyo Grande Police, Robert as well as DA investigators, and local police and sheriffs worked on this case. During the lengthy investigation it was discovered that a number of other gang member were involved and Robert workded diligently with informants and others. He brought the defendant's own brother and girlfriend in to testify against the defendant, threats were made, and even a Court room assault was attempted while Robert provided hours of expert testimony. The defendant was found guilty by jury trial on 12/1/09 and the defendant was sentenced to 25 years to life.
Recently members from a local gang were convicted for threatening to kill Robert and his family. This case began in the Court room as Robert was providing expect testimony on 2/1/10 against criminal street gang members. It continued through phone calls intercepted in the jail, and the evidence discovered during warrants and probation searches. At great expense, both emotional and physical, Robert took great steps to insure his family's saftey while his partners at the Gang Tasks Forces and DA's office broght together a successful investigation and prosecution (with the conviction occuring on 4/1/10).
While larger counties may face these situations regularly, many don't realize these types of crimes also happen in a county as San Luis Obispo. Robert represents the numerous Gang Tasks Force Officers who serve around the state, in smaller counties, and are truly unsung heros in the war on criminal street gangs.
Finally, Robert Kraft was instrumental in the successful prosecution of two violent gang involved brothers, which resulted in a significant prison sentences. Below is an excerpt from an email we received from the Deputy District Attorney who prosecuted the case.
"I wanted to let you know that but for the extraordinary efforts of Robert Kraft, this case would never have even made it to my office for prosecution. Originally the Grover Beach Police Department responded to the victim's home after his step-mother's call for help. Those officers finding a noncooperative victim and witness wrote a cursory report. Officer Kraft later learned of the incident through a citizen informant, and within a day, had spoken to two witnesses, gotten a statement fro the victim and his father, and had apprehended and interviewed the suspects. He was able to get Robert Garary to make a full admission to the crime. Office Kraft then did an outstanding job in narrowing in on the gang relative's motive for the incident (a cross of gang graffiti) and wrote a comprehensive gang report documenting the gang's history, and the brother's involvement in the gang, he event thought to do a probation search on Jessie Garay's home where he found gang indicia showing both brothers' involvement in Oceano 13. Once the preliminary hearing was set in this matter. Officer Kraft made himself available to prepare for it on a weekend when he otherwise would not have been working. At the prelim, Officer Kraft, putting himself in harm's way since he was testifying before many members of the Garay family, did an excellent job of laying out the case facts. His expertise on this gang and on gangs in general is invaluable in prosecuting these types of cases. After Officers Kraft's testimony in that prelim, Richard Garay, older brother of the two Garay borthers in my case, called Robert Garay and was caught on the jail house phone making threats against Officer Kraft. I filed that case and as a result, Richard Garay, also of Oceano 13, will be spending three years and eight months in prison for making a threat against an officer. I strongly believe that it is because of Officer Kraft's dedication, enthusiasm and very hard work that these three gang member will now be in prison."