San Francisco. The San Francisco police telephone system dates from the19th century, and was used extensively for patrol operations by the San Francisco Police Department until 1967 when portable hand-held radios were introduced. In 1990 the Department of Electricity purchased a digital electronic telephone switch. The old “police box phones” can still be found on San Francisco street corners, but they now contain METS telephones connected to Central Fire Alarm Station and the State’s satellite emergency telephone system. Featured in Blue Hue, 01/ 2012.