On January 14, 2023 at 8:12 PM, the San Francisco Police Officers Association (SFPOA) made a statement that was misleading and contained falsehoods. The SFPOA claimed that the San Francisco Sheriff’s Office (SFSO) cannot staff the jails, but this is not true. According to mandatory guidelines, SFSO Deputy Sheriffs are required to staff the jails. The SFSO staffs the jails on voluntary overtime or mandated overtime. The SFSO is working to increase recruitment and reduce overtime, and has made significant progress in recruiting new Deputy Sheriffs.
The SFPOA also claimed that the SFSO lacks the training required to perform their duties. This is also untrue. The SFSO has the same POST training certifications as police officers and more. The only additional training required by the California Peace Officers Standards of Training is an Aviation Security Training course, which is only a 40 hour course. The SFPOA is presenting this as a significant hurdle, but it is not. Additional training can be easily accomplished. See our current list of training in our article “San Francisco Deputy Sheriffs are highly trained individuals.”
The SFPOA also stated that the SFSO lacks the training to respond to a terrorist attack. The SFDSA strongly disagrees with this claim. In the event of a terrorist attack, the SFPD will turn to the SFSO for assistance. The SFSO has a long history of responding to large scale emergencies such as riots, the Loma Prieto Earthquake, and forest fires. The SFSO also responded to the recent COVID-19 pandemic and worked 24/7 to protect the public.
The San Francisco Sheriff’s Office (SFSO) has a dedicated Emergency Services Unit (ESU) that includes a Special Response Team, a Crisis Negotiation Team, and a Radio Telephone Operator Team. These teams respond to emergencies within the Department, City, and County of San Francisco, as well as mutual aid requests from other jurisdictions. The ESU also includes a Mobile Field Force (MFF) that is trained to respond to major critical incidents, including Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosive (CBRNE) devices. The MFF is led by a Platoon Commander, an Executive Officer and is divided into four squads.
The San Francisco Police Officers Association (SFPOA) has misleadingly claimed that it is not possible for Deputy Sheriffs to work at the airport. However, the SFPD arrest data at the airport is minimal, with an average of approximately 300 arrests per year, and approximately 130 SFPD officers (staffing data from 2020). Additionally, the SFPD has 27 Sergeants at the airport, which is an unusual ratio of 1 supervisor to every 5 police officers. It is clear that the level of arrests at the airport is low and it would be a misuse of City resources to have SFPD at the airport. We will provide updated data as it becomes available.
As stated on Twitter prior to the SFPOA’s misleading post, it is possible for the SFSO to staff the airport. First, we can grandfather in any PD Officer close to retirement. Second, a percentage of the police officers at the airport can return to SF to patrol. And third, the SFDSA will work with the Sheriff to create a functional staffing plan and assist with recruiting. This can be done in a phased approach, not overnight.