Former drug addict credits San Francisco police officer for saving his life

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SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — A hug and a pat on the back is how Thomas Wolf now greets the officer who has arrested him repeatedly.

He looks a lot different than the last time Officer Rob Gilson saw him.

Wolf’s mugshot that was sent out in a tweet by the Tenderloin Police Station after he was charged with drug possession and then re-arrested five times for violating the court order paints a different picture. 

Wolf says his addiction started after being prescribed a powerful painkiller after surgery.

“Before I knew it I was addicted I was eating oxycodone pills literally chewing on them like they were candy,” Wolf said.

After blowing through his bank account, the former social worker and married father of two turned to heroin.

He says he lost his job and and became estranged from his family because of his addiction — but he still couldn’t stop using.

“Every time I got arrested, it was by Officer Gilson and I didn’t discover until maybe the second or third time that I was arrested,” Wolf said.

Wolf says when he was on the streets, his wife was worried about him, so she’d call the Tenderloin Police and file a missing persons report — describing to Officer Gilson who she was looking for.

“He continued to arrest me and try to get me off the street, but at the time I wasn’t hearing that I was addicted,” said Wolf. “I just want to go right back out there and I felt like I had nowhere else to go.”

After his last arrest, he was bailed out by his brother on the condition that he enter rehab. After graduating from the Salvation Army’s rehabilitation program, Wolf answered that tweet — thanking both Salvation Army and his arresting officer for helping turn his life around.

“I’m really happy to be clean and sober,” Wolf said. “And I’m really happy to have a second chance of my life and I’m definitely gonna make the most of it again. I wouldn’t be here for wasn’t for officer Gilson. I owe him my life.”

Officer Gilson says it’s good to see the man he he had so many run ins with now have a fresh take on life.

“We’re trying to help people, I think we’re certainly fighting an uphill battle but to make an impact on people’s lives like we did with Tom makes it all worth it,” the officer said.

Wolf says he is now working to get a job and is in counseling with the hopes of reuniting with his family.

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