How Mayor London Breed Defunded the Sheriff’s Office

San Francisco’s public safety has been in a precarious position due to Mayor London Breed’s approach to handling the city’s law enforcement agencies, particularly the Sheriff’s Office. Despite growing concerns about understaffing, rising violent incidents in jails, and the critical need for better resource allocation, Mayor Breed’s decisions have led to what many see as a strategic defunding of the Sheriff’s Office. This article delves into the details of how this has unfolded.

London Breed Breaking News

Civilianizing Police Positions

One of the key moves by Mayor Breed has been the civilianization of police and deputy sheriff positions. By replacing sworn officers with civilians in various roles and introducing so-called “ambassadors” without police powers, the Mayor has significantly reduced the number of operational deputies and police officers. While the intention is to increase the presence of mental health professionals and address crime as a mental health issue, this shift has left police officers and deputy sheriffs struggling to cope with the escalating demands of their jobs. This reallocation of responsibilities has effectively reduced the number of police and deputies available to handle the core functions of law enforcement, further straining the already overstressed system.

Denying Critical Funding Requests

The Mayor’s budgetary policies have directly impacted the staffing levels within the Sheriff’s Office. In recent years, the number of deputy sheriffs has been declining, leaving the department dangerously understaffed. The latest figures indicate that there are currently only 611 deputies, a number far below what is needed to ensure public safety and manage the city’s jails, courts, and booking facilities effectively.

A clear example of this is Mayor Breed’s denial of the Sheriff’s request for $500,000 specifically allocated for recruiting new deputies. This refusal to fund essential recruiting efforts has further exacerbated the staffing crisis, leaving the department unable to attract and retain the personnel needed to function effectively. Without adequate funding for recruitment, the Sheriff’s Office cannot compete with other law enforcement agencies offering better hiring incentives and support.

Pausing Hiring and Promotions

In June 2020, Mayor Breed took the drastic step of pausing all police and sheriff’s hires and promotions to conduct an audit of law enforcement exams to root out bias. While addressing bias is important, this move has significantly hampered the already strained Sheriff’s Office. The pause put on hold exams for hundreds of potential jobs and promotions, leaving 636 people eligible to become deputy sheriffs without the opportunity to be hired or promoted​ (SF mayor pauses police,…)​. This strategic pause has created a bottleneck in the hiring pipeline, delaying the entry of new deputies into the force and exacerbating the understaffing issue.

Progressive Justice System and Jail Closures

Mayor Breed’s focus on a progressive justice system has also contributed to the current challenges. She has been a strong proponent of closing jails and opposing the construction of new ones, aiming to reduce incarceration rates. In 2015, she led the effort to reject an $80 million grant from the State Public Works Board to build a new jail, favoring alternatives to incarceration such as mental health treatment and substance abuse programs​ (San Francisco superviso…)​.

As a result, San Francisco’s jails are now overcrowded and often on lockdown due to the high number of inmates, many of whom are violent offenders. The facilities were not designed to handle such a high concentration of violent individuals, leading to increased incidents of violence within the jails and making it even more challenging for the understaffed Sheriff’s Office to maintain order and safety. The progressive justice system has also led to several issues:

  1. Lack of Sunlight: Inmates who do not receive adequate sunlight are at risk for vitamin D deficiency, which can lead to weakened bones, fatigue, and a weakened immune system. Additionally, the lack of natural light exposure can contribute to depression and other mental health issues.
  2. Limited Recreation Space: Physical activity is essential for maintaining physical and mental health. The lack of recreation space in overcrowded jails leads to a sedentary lifestyle, increasing the risk of cardiovascular diseases, obesity, and other health problems. Mentally, the absence of regular exercise can exacerbate stress, anxiety, and depression.
  3. Reduced Rehabilitation Opportunities: The shortage of deputies has resulted in inadequate security for rehabilitation programs, including educational classes, vocational training, and religious meetings. Without sufficient deputies to ensure safety and security during these activities, many rehabilitation programs are curtailed or canceled, depriving inmates of critical opportunities for personal development and reintegration into society.
  4. Crowded and Inadequate Facilities: The remaining jails were not built for maximum security and are ill-equipped to handle the increase in administrative separation inmates and protective custody inmates. This overcrowding and inadequate infrastructure compromise safety and security, both for the inmates and the staff.

Additionally, the overcrowded conditions and lack of deputies have severely hindered the ability to provide necessary supervision during rehabilitation activities such as educational classes, vocational training, and religious meetings. Without adequate security, these programs are often curtailed or canceled, depriving inmates of crucial opportunities for personal development and rehabilitation.

Public Safety Buildings Built Citywide

Despite the critical need for facilities and resources for the Sheriff’s Office, Mayor Breed has prioritized other public safety projects over addressing these needs. Significant investments have been made in building and renovating multiple public safety facilities citywide, including:

  1. A new San Francisco Animal Care and Control headquarters, completed in March 2021 with a budget of $76.4 million​ (San Francisco Animal Ca…)​.
  2. The new Fireboat Station No. 35, completed in February 2022 at a cost of $51 million​ (Fireboat Station No. 35…)​.
  3. The new SFFD Station 49 (Ambulance Deployment Facility), completed in May 2021 with a budget of $50.1 million​ (New SFFD Station 49 (Am…)​.
  4. The Ingleside Police Station Replacement, an ongoing project with a budget of $53 million​ (Ingleside Police Statio…)​.
  5. The 9-1-1 Call Center renovation, an ongoing project with a budget of $9 million ​(9-1-1 Call Center | Pub…)​.
  6. Disaster response facilities, including the renovation of Kezar Pavilion, with a budget of $137 million​ (Disaster Response Facil…)​.

While these projects address various public safety needs, the lack of comparable investments in the Sheriff’s Office highlights a clear disparity in resource allocation. This selective investment strategy suggests a bias and a lack of support for the Sheriff’s Office, further undermining its ability to function effectively.

Lack of Hiring Incentives and Public Support

Mayor Breed’s administration has also failed to implement any hiring incentives to attract new deputy sheriff applicants. Unlike other law enforcement agencies that offer signing bonuses, competitive starting salaries, and comprehensive benefits packages to attract talent, the San Francisco Sheriff’s Office has been left without similar support. This lack of hiring incentives makes it challenging for the Sheriff’s Office to compete in a highly competitive job market.

Despite the pressing need for more deputies, the Mayor’s office has not provided adequate funding for recruiting efforts or offered any substantial incentives for new applicants. The lack of urgency in addressing the hiring crisis is evident, as there have been no public statements or campaigns initiated by the Mayor to attract new recruits to the Sheriff’s Office. This oversight, combined with a misleading presentation of the budget figures—inflated by $13 million from contract negotiations—creates an illusion of increased funding and support that does not translate into tangible improvements for the deputies.

Shift in Policy Due to Public Pressure

Mayor Breed initially supported the “Defund the Police” movement, cutting $120 million from the budgets of both San Francisco’s police and sheriff’s departments in response to demands from Black Lives Matter protesters​ (Behind London Breed’s ‘…)​. However, as crime rates surged and public dissatisfaction grew, she shifted her stance, requesting more funding for the police to address rising crime, including open-air drug dealing and retail theft. Despite this shift, the Sheriff’s Office continued to face significant budgetary constraints and lack of support.

Public Safety Concerns

Public safety concerns have been on the rise since 2021, with a survey indicating that 70% of San Franciscans feel the quality of life has worsened over the past few years due to increased crime and public safety issues​ (San Franciscans concern…)​. Property crimes and violent crimes have seen significant increases, and the general public’s dissatisfaction has grown, highlighting the need for more robust law enforcement support and resources ​(Here’s what San Francis…)​.

Mayor London Breed’s approach to managing the Sheriff’s Office has led to a significant reduction in its effectiveness and resources. By civilianizing positions, neglecting critical staffing needs, pausing essential hiring and promotions, focusing on a progressive justice system, denying essential funding for recruiting, failing to make public statements to attract new applicants, and not implementing hiring incentives, the Mayor has effectively defunded the Sheriff’s Office. The result is an overstressed, understaffed department struggling to meet the demands of public safety in San Francisco.

It is imperative for the city’s leadership to reassess their priorities and provide the necessary support to ensure the safety and security of both the deputies and the public they serve. Without a strategic and balanced approach to resource allocation and support, the challenges facing the Sheriff’s Office will continue to grow, putting the safety and well-being of San Francisco’s residents at risk.

San Francisco Sheriff’s Office Faces Severe Staffing Crisis Due to Protracted Hiring Process and Lack of Support from City Leadership

San Francisco’s Sheriff’s Office is grappling with a severe staffing crisis, exacerbated by an inefficient and prolonged hiring process that takes significantly longer than neighboring departments. Despite a clear need for more deputies to ensure the safety and functionality of the city’s jails, bureaucratic delays, administrative hurdles, and a lack of support from city leadership have hindered recruitment efforts.

Prolonged Hiring Process

The San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) boasts a hiring timeline of 6 to 8 months, a stark contrast to the 9 to 16 months it takes the Sheriff’s Office to hire a deputy sheriff. According to Sheriff Paul Miyamoto, getting applicants through the office’s background check process alone can take between four to five months. When combined with San Francisco’s notoriously slow civil service hiring process, the total time to hire a new deputy often exceeds a year ​(San Francisco Needs 4,0…)​​(Why S.F.’s workforce sh…)​.

This discrepancy raises questions about the efficiency of the Sheriff’s Office’s internal processes. If a comparable agency like the SFPD can complete its hiring in 6 to 8 months, the extended timeline for the Sheriff’s Office suggests that the problem lies within its own department and decisions. This inefficiency hampers the office’s ability to attract and retain qualified candidates, exacerbating the staffing crisis.

Impact on Jail Conditions

The consequences of this staffing shortfall are dire. San Francisco jails are overcrowded and understaffed, leading to increased violence and chaos. Inmates, many of whom are mentally ill or addicted to drugs, are often left without adequate supervision or support. This has resulted in frequent lockdowns and violent confrontations, further straining the already limited resources of the Sheriff’s Office​ (SF jails_ Chaos is the …)​​(San Francisco doesn’t g…)​.

Former Assistant Sheriff Michael Marcum emphasized that jail inmates are part of the community and deserve better treatment. The lack of adequate staffing and resources not only affects the inmates but also the deputies, who are forced to work excessive overtime to cover the staffing gaps. This reliance on overtime is financially unsustainable and leads to burnout among deputies ​(San Francisco doesn’t g…)​.

Inefficiencies and Bureaucratic Hurdles

The current hiring process is riddled with inefficiencies. For instance, background investigators often require three people to verify an address, which is an undue consumption of time and resources. Additionally, there is a limited number of vehicles available for investigators, leading to further delays as they share cars to complete their tasks ​(240716 Letter to Sherif…)​.

The Deputy Sheriffs Association has proposed several solutions to address these issues, including employing outside vendors to assist with background investigations, prioritizing high-quality candidates, and offering higher starting pay to new hires. Despite these suggestions, the bureaucratic delays continue to impede progress ​(240716 Letter to Sherif…)​.

Lack of Support from City Leadership

Mayor London Breed’s administration has been criticized for not providing sufficient support to the Sheriff’s Office. Despite the pressing need for more deputies, the Mayor has not approved any money for recruiting efforts. During contract negotiations, there were no proposals for hiring incentives, and efforts to eliminate the first step in pay to attract more applicants have been delayed ​(Letter to Ardis Graham,…)​​(Mayor London Breed’s Co…)​​(Letter to Mayor, Sherif…)​.

The Mayor’s recent budget proposal, while claiming to invest in public safety, has disproportionately favored the SFPD over the Sheriff’s Office. The proposed budget includes funding for four new police academy classes and significant investments in public safety technology, but fails to address the critical staffing shortages in the Sheriff’s Office adequately ​(Mayor London Breed Prop…)​.  The department that truly got defunded was the Sheriff’s Office and the Sheriff did nothing about it.

defunded sheriff

Additionally, the Sheriff has the authority to hire entry level deputies at a higher pay step with the approval of funds by the controller, but this has not been implemented effectively. The failure to utilize this provision has further hampered recruitment efforts​ (Letter to Ardis Graham,…)​​(Mayor London Breed’s Co…)​.

San Francisco’s Sheriff’s Office is in the midst of a staffing crisis that threatens the safety and well-being of both inmates and deputies. The prolonged and inefficient hiring process, combined with a lack of political will and budget constraints, has exacerbated the situation. Immediate action is needed to streamline the hiring process, implement proposed solutions, and ensure that the Sheriff’s Office can recruit and retain the necessary staff to operate effectively. Without these changes, the cycle of understaffing and over-reliance on overtime will continue to undermine the safety and functionality of San Francisco’s jails. The city’s leadership must prioritize these reforms and provide the necessary support to address this urgent issue.

The Progressive Justice System in San Francisco: A Marxist Experiment in Failure

San Francisco’s progressive justice system, designed to create a more equitable society through extensive reforms, has instead led to catastrophic outcomes. The parallels between these policies and Marxist ideology are undeniable, and their failures are stark and undeniable. The city’s approach has exacerbated homelessness, addiction, and crime, creating a public safety crisis that continues to spiral out of control.

An Explosion of Homelessness and Drug Addiction

Despite the city’s substantial financial investment, homelessness in San Francisco has skyrocketed. From 2016 to 2021, spending on homelessness surged by over 500%, reaching $1.1 billion in 2021 alone. Yet, the homeless population grew by 64% during this same period​ (Hoover Institution)​​ (The San Francisco Standard)​. This alarming rise highlights the ineffectiveness of the city’s strategies, which echo Marxist ideals of extensive social support without accountability or practical results.

The progressive justice system’s approach to drug addiction, focusing on harm reduction rather than recovery, has led to disastrous outcomes. San Francisco now has one of the highest drug overdose rates in the country, with 80 deaths per 100,000 residents. In 2021, the city saw 806 overdose deaths, a 24.5% increase from the previous year​ (The San Francisco Standard)​. Providing clean needles and safe injection sites has not addressed the root causes of addiction but has instead facilitated ongoing substance abuse and public health crises.

Skyrocketing Crime and Public Safety Concerns

San Francisco’s policies of decriminalization and leniency for nonviolent offenses, deeply influenced by Marxist views on systemic oppression, have led to soaring crime rates. Proposition 47, which reclassified certain nonviolent crimes from felonies to misdemeanors, has resulted in increased repeat offenses and a pervasive sense of lawlessness​ (The San Francisco Standard)​.

The rise in property crimes, such as shoplifting and car break-ins, has left residents feeling unsafe and disillusioned with the city’s governance. This aligns with Marxist critiques of the existing legal framework but demonstrates that the progressive approach has failed to implement effective alternatives to ensure community safety while addressing systemic issues.

Financial Mismanagement and Ideological Failures

The “homeless-industrial complex” in San Francisco is a glaring example of financial mismanagement reminiscent of failed Marxist economic policies. Billions of dollars are funneled into nonprofits and government agencies without producing significant results. Instead of alleviating homelessness and addiction, the funding perpetuates these crises, with resources often being misallocated or poorly managed​ (The San Francisco Standard)​.

This mismanagement mirrors Marxist critiques of capitalism, where resources are viewed as being controlled by a few, leading to inefficiency and inequality. However, in San Francisco, the shift towards a collectivist approach has not resolved these problems but has instead created a new form of inefficiency and misallocation of funds.

 

The Ideological Underpinnings

The failures of San Francisco’s progressive justice system are deeply rooted in its ideological foundations, which bear striking similarities to Marxism:

  1. Systemic Blame: Progressive policies often attribute homelessness and addiction to systemic failures, such as economic inequality and lack of social support, rather than individual circumstances and choices.
  2. Redistribution of Resources: Significant financial resources are allocated to addressing homelessness and addiction, much like Marxist ideals of redistributing wealth to achieve equality.
  3. Collectivist Solutions: The focus on harm reduction and decriminalization represents a collectivist approach, aiming to support the community as a whole but failing to address individual needs effectively.

San Francisco’s progressive justice system, with its roots in Marxist ideology, has failed spectacularly. The city’s experience demonstrates that while systemic reform is essential, it must be coupled with practical, individualized solutions. The focus on systemic blame, extensive resource redistribution, and collectivist solutions has led to a worsening of homelessness, addiction, and crime. To create a safer, more equitable society, policymakers must balance the need for systemic change with effective, targeted interventions that address the root causes of these complex social issues.

The progressive justice system in San Francisco, an experiment in Marxist principles, has proven to be a catastrophic failure, highlighting the need for a comprehensive reassessment and a move towards more practical, effective solutions.

The Progressive Justice System in San Francisco: A Case Study in Failure

In recent years, San Francisco has been at the forefront of implementing progressive justice reforms aimed at reducing incarceration rates, addressing systemic inequalities, and promoting social justice. However, the outcomes of these policies have sparked significant debate, with mounting evidence suggesting that the progressive justice system in San Francisco has failed to achieve its intended goals. Instead, these policies have exacerbated homelessness, addiction, and crime rates, creating a public safety crisis that continues to worsen.

Progressive Justice System

Rising Homelessness and Addiction

San Francisco has seen a dramatic increase in homelessness despite substantial financial investments aimed at tackling the issue. From 2016 to 2021, the city’s spending on homelessness increased by over 500%, reaching $1.1 billion in 2021 alone. Despite this, the homeless population grew by 64% during the same period​ (Hoover Institution)​​ (The San Francisco Standard)​. This paradoxical outcome raises questions about the effectiveness of the city’s strategies.

A significant portion of the homeless population in San Francisco is comprised of individuals struggling with addiction. The city’s approach to drug addiction, heavily influenced by progressive policies, focuses on harm reduction rather than recovery. While harm reduction efforts, such as providing clean needles and safe injection sites, aim to minimize the immediate risks associated with drug use, they do little to address the root causes of addiction or promote long-term recovery. Critics argue that this approach effectively maintains the status quo, allowing addicts to continue their destructive behavior without meaningful intervention​ (The San Francisco Standard)​.

Escalating Crime and Public Safety Concerns

The progressive justice system’s emphasis on decriminalization and leniency for nonviolent offenses has also contributed to rising crime rates. Proposition 47, passed in 2014, reclassified certain nonviolent offenses from felonies to misdemeanors, leading to a significant reduction in penalties for crimes such as shoplifting and drug possession. While the intention was to reduce incarceration rates and alleviate overcrowded prisons, the unintended consequence has been an increase in repeat offenses and a sense of impunity among offenders​ (The San Francisco Standard)​.

San Francisco has one of the highest rates of drug overdose deaths in the country, with 80 deaths per 100,000 residents in 2021. Despite having the largest per-capita budget for harm reduction in the nation, overdose deaths continue to rise, highlighting the ineffectiveness of current policies. In 2021, the city recorded 806 overdose deaths, a 24.5% increase from the previous year​ (The San Francisco Standard)​.

Financial Mismanagement and Lack of Accountability

The “homeless-industrial complex,” a term used to describe the network of nonprofits and government agencies involved in managing homelessness, has come under scrutiny for its inefficiency and lack of accountability. Critics argue that billions of dollars are being funneled into this complex without producing tangible results. Instead of reducing homelessness and addiction, the funding seems to perpetuate these issues, with resources often being misallocated or poorly managed​ (The San Francisco Standard)​.

Policy Recommendations and the Path Forward

To address the failures of the progressive justice system, a shift in policy is needed. Here are some recommendations:

  1. Emphasize Recovery: Instead of solely focusing on harm reduction, policies should prioritize long-term recovery and rehabilitation. This includes increasing access to treatment programs, recovery-based housing, and job training centers.
  2. Strengthen Law Enforcement: Reassessing leniency measures and ensuring that laws are enforced can help reduce crime rates and address public safety concerns.
  3. Improve Oversight and Accountability: Establishing transparent oversight mechanisms for the allocation and use of funds can help ensure that resources are effectively used to tackle homelessness and addiction.
  4. Community-Based Solutions: Involving local communities in the development and implementation of policies can lead to more tailored and effective solutions.

The progressive justice system in San Francisco, while well-intentioned, has failed to deliver on its promises. Rising homelessness, addiction, and crime rates, coupled with financial mismanagement and a lack of accountability, highlight the need for a reassessment of current policies. By shifting the focus to recovery, strengthening law enforcement, and improving oversight, San Francisco can begin to address the root causes of these issues and create a safer, more equitable city for all residents.

Mayor London Breed’s Dangerous Move: Civilianizing Law Enforcement and Undermining Public Safety

Mayor London Breed’s recent push to expand the use of civilian ambassadors in place of traditional law enforcement officers has sparked significant concern among public safety advocates. By hiring Transit Ambassadors instead of increasing the number of law enforcement Fare Inspectors, Breed is advancing a strategy that many argue undermines effective law enforcement and jeopardizes public safety in San Francisco.

The Rise of Civilian Ambassadors

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) recently announced job openings for Transit Ambassadors. These roles are designed to provide customer service and promote safety on public transit, aligning with Mayor Breed’s broader initiative to replace traditional law enforcement officers with civilian roles across various sectors of the city.

Ambassadors vs. Fare Inspectors: A Critical Difference

The new Transit Ambassador positions are fundamentally different from the existing role of Transit Fare Inspectors. Fare Inspectors, who hold limited peace officer powers under California Penal Code 832, have the authority to issue citations to fare evaders—a crucial function given that fare evasion has surged to over 20% of riders. This increase in fare evasion is a serious problem that significantly impacts the SFMTA’s budget, reducing the income necessary for maintaining and improving transit services.

The Dangers of Civilianization

Mayor Breed’s expansion of the civilian ambassador program presents several critical issues:

  • Lack of Enforcement Power: Transit Ambassadors do not have the authority to issue citations or make arrests. Their role is limited to providing information and promoting compliance through education. This lack of enforcement power could undermine efforts to curb fare evasion, which is already a growing problem that threatens the SFMTA’s financial stability.
  • Public Safety Risks: The shift towards civilianization in law enforcement roles raises serious questions about public safety. Fare Inspectors are trained to handle confrontations and enforce laws, whereas Ambassadors are primarily focused on customer service. The presence of Fare Inspectors can deter potential fare evaders and ensure a safer transit environment.
  • Erosion of Law Enforcement Effectiveness: By replacing trained law enforcement officers with civilian roles, the city risks diluting the effectiveness of law enforcement efforts. Fare Inspectors not only enforce fare compliance but also play a crucial role in maintaining order and safety on public transit. Their absence could lead to increased disorder and crime.

The Broader Impact on Law Enforcement

Mayor Breed’s approach to civilianization extends beyond the transit system. This strategy reflects a broader trend in San Francisco’s law enforcement policy, where civilian roles are being prioritized over traditional law enforcement positions. This shift raises concerns about the long-term implications for public safety and the ability of law enforcement agencies to effectively perform their duties.

Tough Talk on Crime, but Do Actions Match?

Mayor Breed frequently talks tough on crime, asserting that criminals will be held accountable. However, her actions paint a different picture:

  • Inaction on Sheriff’s Office Recruitment: Despite the critical need for more deputies, Mayor Breed has not taken significant steps to increase recruitment for the San Francisco Sheriff’s Office. There have been no substantial efforts to enhance the wages and bonuses for sheriff’s deputies, unlike the measures taken for the police department.
  • Civilianization Over Law Enforcement: Instead of bolstering the ranks of trained law enforcement officers, Breed has focused on expanding civilian roles. This approach aligns more closely with the policies of former District Attorneys Chesa Boudin and George Gascon, who advocated for reducing traditional law enforcement in favor of civilian oversight and intervention—a stance often criticized as part of a socialist agenda.

A Call for Pro-Law Enforcement Policies

It is crucial for city leadership to prioritize effective law enforcement and public safety over the expansion of civilian roles. While the role of Transit Ambassadors can enhance customer service and community engagement, it should not come at the expense of enforcing laws and maintaining public safety. Expanding the number of Fare Inspectors, who possess the authority and training to handle fare evasion and other violations, would provide a more balanced and effective approach to managing the city’s transit system and overall public safety.

Mayor London Breed’s push for civilianization through the expansion of the Transit Ambassador program represents a significant shift in San Francisco’s approach to law enforcement. This strategy raises serious concerns about the effectiveness of fare enforcement and the broader implications for public safety. The decision to prioritize Ambassadors over Fare Inspectors could ultimately compromise the safety and security of all residents. It is essential to recognize the value of traditional law enforcement roles in maintaining order and ensuring public safety. Investing in trained law enforcement officers, rather than expanding civilian roles, is crucial for the well-being and security of San Francisco’s communities.

Mayor Breed’s tough talk on crime must be matched by actions that support and enhance law enforcement capabilities. Anything less risks aligning her more with the controversial policies of Chesa Boudin than with a genuine commitment to public safety.

The Illusion of Public Safety: How Mayor Breed and Sheriff Miyamoto’s Agenda is Failing San Francisco

In San Francisco, the criminal justice system is under increasing scrutiny as public safety becomes a growing concern. Despite the public assurances from Mayor London Breed and Sheriff Paul Miyamoto, their actions tell a different story. While they claim to prioritize public safety, their agenda of civilianizing law enforcement is undermining the very foundations of security and accountability, putting the community at greater risk.

 


The Reality Behind Electronic Monitoring

One of the most glaring examples of this discrepancy is the city’s electronic monitoring system. At first glance, electronic ankle monitors give the impression of strict supervision for individuals under house arrest. However, the reality is far from this illusion.

  • Overburdened Deputies: Astonishingly, one or two deputy sheriffs are tasked with monitoring around 500 individuals on electronic ankle monitoring. This unmanageable caseload renders the supervision ineffective, allowing many to exploit their freedom and engage in criminal activities without real consequences.
  • False Accountability: The inadequate monitoring system creates a facade of accountability. In reality, those on electronic monitoring face little to no genuine oversight, leading to a system that fails to prevent recidivism or protect public safety.

Unseen and Unaddressed Warrants

The illusion of accountability extends to the handling of outstanding warrants. The Warrants Service Unit, responsible for locating and apprehending individuals with outstanding warrants, is critically understaffed.

  • Insufficient Personnel: With only five deputies in the unit, the resources are grossly inadequate to manage the increasing number of outstanding warrants. This understaffing results in a significant backlog, further eroding the effectiveness of the criminal justice system.
  • Delayed Justice: The lack of timely action on outstanding warrants means that many offenders remain at large, undermining the system’s credibility and the public’s trust.

A Growing Crisis: Overcrowded Jails and Understaffed Programs

When this issue was first brought to light, approximately 1,600 individuals were participating in alternatives to incarceration programs. Today, the situation has worsened, with the jail population rising from the 1,100s to 1,270, and 1,803 participants now in Community Programs. This trend highlights the severe understaffing and inadequate infrastructure of San Francisco’s jails.

  • San Bruno Annex: The San Bruno Annex is not at full capacity due to needed upgrades. Even if it were fully functional, the lack of deputized staff means it cannot operate effectively.
  • Shift to Community Programs: Due to the lack of space and staff in jails, the SFSO is increasingly relying on Community Programs. However, this shift is not a solution but a symptom of deeper systemic issues. Without sufficient deputies to supervise these programs, they become ineffective, creating a cycle of insufficient oversight and increased criminal activity.

The Breed-Miyamoto Agenda: Civilianizing Law Enforcement

Mayor Breed and Sheriff Miyamoto have consistently promoted a vision of public safety. Yet, their actions contradict their statements. Instead of investing in the recruitment and hiring of deputies, they are pushing for the civilianization of law enforcement. This approach is fundamentally flawed and dangerous for several reasons:

  • Lack of Real Supervision: Civilianizing law enforcement reduces the number of trained deputies available for critical supervision and enforcement roles. This diminishes the system’s ability to monitor and manage offenders effectively.
  • Increased Public Risk: The reliance on civilian programs without adequate oversight emboldens offenders, leading to higher recidivism rates and attracting criminals from outside areas. The lack of genuine consequences for criminal behavior creates a public safety hazard.

London Breed Civilianization of Police

San Francisco: The Worst-Run City in the U.S.

Adding to the city’s woes, a recent report by the SF Examiner highlights that San Francisco is now ranked as the worst-run city among the 149 biggest in the U.S., according to WalletHub’s analysis of operating efficiencies. The ranking, based on a “quality of services” score divided by each city’s per-capita budget, assessed financial stability, health, safety, economy, and infrastructure/pollution. The categories included 36 metrics, such as high school graduation rates, public hospital system quality, and crime rates. This damning report underscores the systemic failures in San Francisco’s management and further illustrates the consequences of inadequate leadership and resource allocation.

The Mirage of Public Safety

The consequences of this flawed approach are severe. The erosion of public trust, escalating crime rates, and the overall inefficacy of the criminal justice system are clear indicators that the current strategy is failing. The public is becoming increasingly aware that the promises of Mayor Breed and Sheriff Miyamoto are nothing more than a “fugazzi” – an illusion of safety without substance.

A Call for Real Change

San Francisco’s criminal justice system is at a critical juncture. The current path of civilianizing law enforcement, supported by Mayor Breed and Sheriff Miyamoto, is jeopardizing public safety and undermining the integrity of the system. It is imperative to prioritize the recruitment and hiring of deputized staff, ensure adequate resources and funding, and restore effective monitoring and enforcement mechanisms.

Without these changes, the illusion of consequences will continue to erode public trust and compromise the safety of the community. It is time for genuine action that aligns with the promises made to the people of San Francisco, ensuring a criminal justice system that truly protects and serves its citizens.

Mayor Breed and Sheriff Miyamoto: Far-Left Policies Masquerading as Moderate Leadership

In San Francisco, the narrative often paints Mayor London Breed and Sheriff Paul Miyamoto as Democrat moderates, advocating for balanced and pragmatic solutions to the city’s challenges. However, a closer examination of their policies reveals a starkly different reality. Their approach, especially concerning public safety and law enforcement, aligns more closely with far-left ideologies, significantly impacting the effectiveness of our criminal justice system.

 

The Reality Behind the Budget

On May 30, 2024, Mayor Breed released her new budget, touting an expansion of public safety. However, the details tell a different story. The budget emphasizes civilianization and alternatives to traditional law enforcement, stating, “Continue Safety Ambassadors and Civilianization to provide non-law enforcement response.” This includes funding for Police Service Aides, citywide Public Safety Community Ambassadors, and retired Police Officer ambassadors. Additionally, it continues to fund the City’s Street Response Teams, which provide non-law enforcement responses to calls for people in behavioral health crises and those experiencing homelessness.

This approach aligns with far-left ideologies that prioritize reducing the role of trained law enforcement in favor of civilian alternatives. While community involvement and mental health support are crucial, the outright replacement of law enforcement officers with civilian roles undermines public safety and fails to address the complex realities faced by deputies and police officers.

The Impact on Public Safety

The ongoing staffing crisis in the Sheriff’s Department has led to unsafe conditions in our jails, increased violence, and overworked deputies. Instead of addressing these urgent needs, Mayor Breed’s budget expands civilian roles that cannot substitute the critical functions performed by trained law enforcement professionals. This far-left stance prioritizes ideological goals over practical solutions, putting both deputies and the public at risk.

Sheriff Miyamoto’s Complicity

Sheriff Paul Miyamoto’s silence on these issues further underscores the alignment with far-left ideologies. By not aggressively advocating for more trained deputies and failing to address the staffing crisis, the Sheriff is complicit in perpetuating policies that weaken our criminal justice system. His lack of response reflects an acceptance of the civilianization strategy, ignoring the pressing needs for robust law enforcement presence and support.

Adding to the problem is Sheriff Miyamoto’s political endorsements. He has politically endorsed Mayor London Breed for her upcoming elections, further aligning himself with policies that undermine public safety. In the March 2024 election, he endorsed judges known for excessively releasing inmates, fueling the revolving door of the criminal justice system. Recently, in a budget meeting, Sheriff Miyamoto stated his goal is to keep people out of jail because it’s harder for his staff when more people are incarcerated. This perspective not only fails to address the root issues but also compromises the safety of our community.

The Broader Implications

Labeling Mayor Breed and Sheriff Miyamoto as moderates masks the true nature of their policies. Their actions and budget priorities reveal a commitment to far-left ideologies that compromise public safety and effective law enforcement. San Francisco deserves leaders who recognize the importance of a balanced approach, incorporating community support while maintaining a strong, well-trained law enforcement presence.

It’s time for San Franciscans to recognize the true ideological stance of our city leaders. Mayor Breed and Sheriff Miyamoto’s far-left policies are not the moderate solutions they claim to champion. The well-being of our community and the effectiveness of our criminal justice system depend on acknowledging this reality and demanding real, balanced solutions that prioritize public safety and support for our law enforcement officers.

By holding our leaders accountable and challenging the far-left ideologies that drive their policies, we can work towards a safer, more effective San Francisco that truly serves the needs of all its residents.

Unveiling the Truth Behind Mayor London Breed’s Budget Increase for the San Francisco Sheriff’s Office

Recent news reports have celebrated an 11% budget increase for the San Francisco Sheriff’s Office, amounting to $32.5 million. At first glance, this appears to be a significant investment in public safety, aimed at addressing chronic understaffing and other challenges. However, a closer look reveals that this increase is not as substantial as it seems and highlights a broader strategy of civilianizing law enforcement rather than prioritizing the recruitment of trained officers.

Breeds Lopsided Budgeting

 

The Real Numbers Behind the Budget

Out of the reported $32.5 million budget increase, a significant portion is allocated to specific categories that do not directly enhance the department’s core staffing and operational needs. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Union Contracts: $14.3 million
  • Overtime: $6.4 million (compared to current FY24)
  • Grant Programs: $4.1 million (mostly for CalAIM)
  • Capital Projects: $4.7 million
  • Jail Food Costs: $1 million
  • Interdepartmental Workorders: $0.5 million
  • CBO Contracts: $0.75 million
  • Transport Vehicles: $0.7 million

This means that the remaining portion allocated to genuinely new investments is minimal when considering the overall budget.

Misleading Public Perception

The administration’s presentation of this budget increase might lead the public to believe that there are significant new investments aimed at enhancing the capabilities and staffing of the Sheriff’s Office. However, this perception is misleading. Here’s why:

  1. Routine Increases Masked as New Investments:
    • The $14.3 million included in the budget is a result of standard contract negotiations. These are expected adjustments and do not represent new or innovative investments to attract new applicants or improve current working conditions.
  2. Overtime Expenses:
    • The increase in overtime funding, while necessary, does not address the root cause of understaffing and merely patches over the immediate need for additional hours. This does not contribute to long-term solutions or improvements in the working conditions for deputies.
  3. Specific Program Funding:
    • Funds allocated to specific grant programs, capital projects, and other targeted expenses do not translate into direct enhancements to the department’s primary functions.

Breakdown of the Budget Allocation

The proposed budget of $323.6 million for the Sheriff’s Office is $32.5 million higher than the previous fiscal year. Here’s a detailed look at where the additional funds are being spent:

  • Union Contracts: $14.3 million
  • Overtime: $6.4 million increase compared to the current FY24
  • Grant Programs: $4.1 million, primarily for CalAIM
  • Capital Projects: $4.7 million for capital, COIT, and COP projects
  • Jail Food Costs: $1 million increase
  • Interdepartmental Workorders: Approximately $0.5 million increase
  • CBO Contracts: $0.75 million cost-of-doing-business allowance
  • Transport Vehicles: $0.7 million for two transport buses

Civilianization: A Silent Defunding Strategy

A particularly alarming aspect of the proposed budget is the continuation and expansion of civilianization efforts. According to the budget proposal:

Continue Safety Ambassadors and Civilianization to provide non-law enforcement response. The proposed budget continues and expands civilianization efforts and alternatives to law enforcement. This includes funding Police Service Aides, citywide Public Safety Community Ambassadors, and retired Police Officer ambassadors. It also continues to fund the City’s Street Response Teams, which provide non-law enforcement responses to 911 and 311 calls for people in behavioral health crisis and people experiencing homelessness”​.

Analysis and Implications

  1. Reduced Law Enforcement Presence:
    • The shift towards civilian roles for tasks traditionally handled by law enforcement officers diminishes the overall presence of trained officers on the streets. This can lead to slower response times and reduced capability to handle emergencies effectively.
  2. Undermining Law Enforcement Effectiveness:
    • Civilianization efforts, while beneficial in some non-critical areas, can undermine the overall effectiveness of law enforcement. Trained officers possess the necessary skills and authority to handle a wide range of public safety issues that civilians cannot.
  3. Public Safety Perception:
    • Treating law enforcement as a secondary priority in the public safety framework sends a message that their contributions are less valued. This could diminish the public’s trust and confidence in the city’s ability to ensure safety and security.

A Missed Opportunity for Meaningful Change

If Mayor Breed was truly pro-public safety, she would have stopped feeding the overtime budget and instead dedicated money to strike out the first step in pay. This would allow the Sheriff’s Office to advertise a higher starting rate to attract more applicants. By not addressing this fundamental issue, the administration missed a critical opportunity to make a substantial impact on recruitment and retention within the Sheriff’s Office.

The Need for Genuine Investment

For San Francisco to effectively address its public safety challenges, there needs to be a clear and transparent commitment to investing in trained law enforcement officers. Here are some steps that could make a real difference:

  1. Transparent Budget Reporting:
    • Clearly separate routine contract negotiation increases and overtime allocations from new budget investments to provide an honest picture of financial commitments.
  2. Develop New Recruitment Incentives:
    • Introduce signing bonuses, enhanced benefits, and career development opportunities specifically designed to attract new law enforcement officers.
    • Eliminate the first step in pay to offer a higher starting salary and make the position more attractive to potential recruits.
  3. Invest in Long-Term Solutions:
    • Focus on improving working conditions, providing competitive salaries, and offering comprehensive support programs to retain current staff and attract new recruits.

Moving Forward with Honesty and Clarity

As we move forward, it is crucial for the administration to present budget information transparently. Only then can we have honest discussions about what is needed to support our law enforcement officers and ensure public safety in San Francisco. The city needs real, substantive changes to overcome its current challenges and meet the expectations of the community.

By addressing these issues head-on, we can work towards a future where San Francisco’s law enforcement agencies are fully staffed, well-supported, and able to provide the highest level of public safety services to our city. Let’s ensure that every dollar allocated truly makes a difference.

Op-Ed by SF Undersheriff Freeman (Ret) on Current Conditions of the Sheriff’s Office

SF Undersheriff FreemanFor thirty years (1991-2021) spanning four different Sheriff’s, I served with pride as a sworn peace officer in the City and County of San Francisco Sheriff’s Department, the last four of which I had the honor to serve as Undersheriff.

Having held every rank in the department and worked in many different assignments, I came to realize that the Sheriff’s Department is not an inanimate object, rather it is organic. The deputy sheriff is the heart of a living organization.

Since my retirement in February 2021, I have followed the trajectory of the department, its leadership, and the stewardship of the deputy sheriffs.  It is painfully clear that the deputy sheriffs who patrol the toughest beat in San Francisco (the county jail) are under constant attack.

The recent and horrific assaults on deputies by inmates in the county jail some of which have resulted in broken bones, torn skin, and head injuries are a shock to all San Franciscans.

Based on my thirty years of experience, I can tell you that these attacks are 100% avoidable. As a deputy sheriff, I was well-trained, well-equipped, and educated in the proper application of tactical communications.

I knew well the importance of garnering voluntary compliance when supervising an inmate housing area. Core to this was treating inmates with dignity and respect. My job was not to punish, but rather to maintain safety while inmates progressed through the criminal justice system.

Assaults on deputies throughout my career were very rare. In fact, in most cases the only time a deputy sheriff was struck by an inmate was when a deputy was separating inmates that were fighting each other.  There have been more assaults on deputies in the last 60 days than in my entire thirty-year career.  The rash of recent attacks on deputy sheriffs is not normal.

It is the result of incompetent if not indifferent leadership in the Sheriff’s Department. The deputies and their line supervisors are not being trained properly, nor are they being supported by the command staff.

This dynamic leads to deputies that feel as if they are not supported. They become unsure of their training, capabilities, and authority while supervising inmates.  It invites violence as the inmates can sense that the deputies are nervous, leading the inmates to feel as if they are not safe. The inmates lash out as if to fill the void of no control.

It is a recipe for disaster in the county jail.
This dangerous problem is further exacerbated by the lack of recreation space to include outdoor recreation for the inmates. Prior to retiring, I worked closely with the city attorney and a team of Sheriffs personnel to address this very important issue. Unfortunately, Sheriff Miyamoto lacked the courage to stand up to those who objected to the needed capital improvements to the county jail. Outdoor recreation, access to sunshine and clean air significantly reduces violent behavior. Of course, the Sheriff’s Department would require additional deputies to supervise outdoor recreation. The lack of hiring highlights another failure of the current Sheriff administration.

Safe and secure county jail operations rely heavily on the leadership, mentorship, and support of the Custody Operations Division Chief Deputy and the individual Jail Captains. They are failing miserably.
Ultimately the responsibility to keep and maintain a safe and secure county jail for staff and inmates alike falls to Sheriff Miyamoto.  He must be distracted.

The members of the San Francisco Deputy Sheriffs’ Association, the bargaining unit that represents deputy sheriffs deserve if not demand that Sheriff Miyamoto re-focus his attention on the most important asset of the department – Deputy Sheriff.
The department has over 150 deputy vacancies. Deputies are forced to work too much overtime, they are required to supervise too many inmates absent adequate coverage. The training and support by leadership are subpar.

The path to successful public safety in San Francisco traverses both the front and back doors of the county jail. Public safety suffers for all when the deputies are fatigued and not provided with proper support. 

The deputies deserve better, the inmates deserve better and all San Franciscans must demand better of their Sheriff.

Matthew Freeman
Undersheriff (Ret.)
San Francisco Sheriff’s Department

Deputy Sheriffs Working the Toughest Beat in San Francisco

Amidst the bustling streets and vibrant neighborhoods of San Francisco, there exists a group of dedicated individuals who work tirelessly to ensure the safety and security of our communities. These unsung heroes are the deputy sheriffs who guard the county jails, facing unique challenges and pressures that come with the territory.

Recent data paints a stark picture of the realities these deputy sheriffs confront daily. Incidents of prisoner fights have been on the rise, placing a significant strain on the already stretched-thin staffing levels. In 2022, there were 172 prisoner fights, averaging 0.276 fights per deputy sheriff. By 2023, these numbers had increased, with 240 fights averaging 0.393 fights per deputy sheriff. These statistics underscore the challenging and often volatile environment in which these deputies operate.

In addition to the increase in prisoner fights, attacks on deputies have also been on the rise. In 2022, there were 121 attacks on deputies, averaging 0.194 attacks per deputy sheriff. By 2023, this number had surged to 216 attacks, averaging 0.354 attacks per deputy sheriff. These attacks not only pose a direct threat to the safety of the deputies but also impact their morale and well-being.

Deputies Attacked 2024

Despite these challenges, deputy sheriffs in San Francisco’s county jails continue to demonstrate unwavering dedication and professionalism in the face of adversity. They work long hours, often in high-stress situations, to ensure the safety and security of both inmates and staff. Their commitment to upholding the law and maintaining order in a challenging environment is commendable and deserving of recognition.

However, the city’s failure to address the issue of understaffing in the jails puts additional strain on these already overburdened deputies. With inadequate staffing levels, deputies are forced to work longer hours and take on increased responsibilities, leading to fatigue and burnout. The city’s proposal to eliminate staffing minimums at the Sheriff’s Office further exacerbates this issue, putting the safety of both deputies and inmates at risk.

It is crucial that we recognize the invaluable contributions of these deputy sheriffs and advocate for the resources and support they need to carry out their duties safely and effectively. By investing in additional staffing and implementing measures to improve working conditions, we can ensure that our deputy sheriffs have the support they need to continue serving our communities with professionalism and dedication.