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.

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.

Addressing the Extreme Shortage of Deputy Sheriffs: A Call to Action

In a recent open letter addressed to Mayor London Breed, Sheriff Paul Miyamoto, Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin, and the Members of the Board of Supervisors, the San Francisco Deputy Sheriffs’ Association (DSA) has proposed a critical solution to the severe understaffing of Deputy Sheriffs in our city. The proposal, submitted on May 23, 2024, aims to eliminate the first step of the salary schedule for Deputy Sheriffs (positions 8302 and 8504), intending to attract more applicants and, importantly, to secure higher quality candidates.

The Urgent Need for Action
As many of you are aware, our Deputy Sheriffs are operating under dangerously low staffing levels, leading to unsafe conditions for both our Deputies and inmates. Despite the DSA’s proactive efforts to assist with recruitment through advertising funded by our own association, the current pay scale for entry-level Deputies remains a significant barrier. Comparable agencies in the region offer substantially higher starting salaries, making it challenging for us to compete for top-tier talent.

Learning from the Police Department
The San Francisco Police Department has successfully addressed their recruitment challenges by increasing their starting pay, which has proven effective in attracting more applicants. Additionally, the Mayor’s Office supported this effort by implementing a $5,000 signing bonus for new police recruits, distributed as $2,500 upon completion of the Field Training Program (FTO) and an additional $2,500 upon successful completion of the probation period. This incentive underscores the importance of competitive compensation packages in attracting new talent. Currently, we lack such a signing bonus, making it even more critical to remove the first step of our pay scale to attract new applicants.

The Impact on Quality of Life and Safety
The understaffing crisis not only endangers our Deputies but also severely impacts the quality of life for inmates. The shortage of staff has led to more frequent lockdowns, disrupting rehabilitation programs, educational classes, legal interviews, and family and friend visitations. More alarmingly, violence has increased within the jails, exacerbating stress and frustration among inmates. This situation is unacceptable. San Francisco’s jails once served as a model for others, but now they face the same challenges and issues typically associated with prisons.

The Proposal
Our proposal recommends the removal of the first step in the salary schedule. By doing so, we aim to make the Deputy Sheriff position more competitive in the job market, thereby improving our recruitment capabilities and attracting more qualified candidates. This strategy has proven effective for the San Francisco Police Officers’ Association, and we are confident it will yield similar results for our Department.


A Test of Commitment to Public Safety
The implementation of this proposal is more than just an administrative change—it is a test of our city leadership’s commitment to public safety. By offering a more attractive compensation package, we can enhance our ability to recruit and retain the best candidates, ultimately ensuring a safer and more effective environment for both our Deputies and the communities we serve.

The time to act is now. The DSA has laid out a clear, actionable plan to address the extreme shortage of Deputy Sheriffs. We urge city leadership to take immediate action on this proposal to safeguard the well-being of our Deputies and the individuals in our care. The coming weeks will reveal where our leaders truly stand on the issue of public safety.

Will they implement this critical change and demonstrate their commitment to protecting our community, or will they allow the status quo to persist, further endangering the lives of Deputies and inmates alike? The answer will speak volumes.

Stay tuned and stay engaged. The safety of our city depends on it.

Ken Lomba
President, San Francisco Deputy Sheriffs’ Association

Undersheriff Freeman said Sheriff Miyamoto has NO PLAN!

Matt FreemanOn May 14, 2024, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors convened a meeting on the impacts of lockdowns in the San Francisco County Jail.

Of particular concern is the health and well-being of deputy sheriffs and the impacts on the inmate population as a result of jail lockdowns.  The presenters at the hearing included the Sheriff’s Office, Deputy Sheriffs’ Association, Sheriff’s Inspector General, and Public Defender’s Office.

While each presenter and subsequent questions by the board members warrant merit for further discussion, it is the Sheriff’s presentation that requires further examination.  It is very important to keep in mind that this hearing was called due to the voluminous and violent attacks on deputies and the jail lockdowns that were caused by the aforementioned.

One would expect the Sheriff to present a plan that expedites the hiring of deputies in large numbers, details a training strategy to minimize attacks on deputies, states how he will modernize the deputy recruitment plan, and address the significant deficiencies in the county jail infrastructure.

We did not hear that.

Instead, the Sheriff spoke of hiring more discharge planners, securing funding for more behavioral health personnel, and purchasing more body-worn cameras.  Each of these initiatives has merit in consideration of county jail operations.

But, they completely miss the point and fall well short of what is needed to address the crisis in the San Francisco County Jail.  Deputies are under constant assault and risk of great bodily injury and possibly death. Inmates do not feel safe and lack adequate living quarters to include access to outdoor recreation.

The Sheriff’s presentation offered no solutions to these most pressing issues.  So the public, the deputies, the inmates, and loved ones of both are left wondering, what is the Sheriff’s Office plan?  The Sheriff’s Office has about 175 vacant deputy sheriff positions. What is the plan to fill the vacancies?
No plan.

The SFSO has an outdated, understaffed, and underfunded recruitment operation.  What is the plan to address this?
No plan.

The county jail facilities are decrepit and do not provide adequate living spaces, nor sufficient outdoor recreation.  What is the plan to address this?
No plan.

Too many deputy sheriffs are assigned to non-jail assignments. Not enough deputies are assigned to background investigations and personnel to support hiring efforts. What is the plan to rectify improper resource allocation?
No plan.

Overtime expenditures are consistently high including involuntary deputy overtime that causes exhausted deputies. Command-level staff are allowed to accrue overtime exasperating skyrocketing costs. What is the plan to decrease overtime spending?
No plan.

During the hearing, the Sheriff was asked if he had the funds in his budget to fill the deputy vacancies.
The answer was yes.

The question was followed by, so if you could hire the bodies, you have the funds to pay them?
The answer was yes.

It begs the question, why are these vacancies not being filled? What motivation could exist to subject deputies and inmates to such unsafe staffing levels?

Key to addressing all of these issues is leadership and the courage and strength to advocate.  The Sheriff is an elected Constitutional Officer and a Chief Executive Law Enforcement Officer.  The authority of the office must be used to educate, advance, and solicit the needs of the

The Sheriff must speak forcefully and directly at every opportunity to the electorate, the Board of Supervisors, and the Mayor about these mission-critical needs:

● Fill the deputy vacancies
● Fund a robust SFSO recruitment program
● Fund a fully staffed SFSO background investigation unit
● Fund the training needs of the Sheriff’s Office
● Approve significant capital improvements to the infrastructure of the county jail

Each of these is required to ensure a safe, humane, and secure county jail.

That must always be the priority of the Sheriff.

Matthew Freeman
The Undersheriff (Ret)
San Francisco Sheriff’s Office

Silence in the Face of Crisis: Non-Response from Mayor and Sheriff to Union’s Plea

In recent months, the San Francisco Deputy Sheriffs’ Association has been vocal about the critical issues plaguing our department. From severe staffing shortages to increasing incidents of prisoner violence, we have been sounding the alarm on the urgent need for action. A key step in this advocacy was a letter sent to Mayor London Breed, Sheriff Paul Miyamoto, and Board President Aaron Peskin, detailing these concerns and calling for immediate intervention.

However, the response – or lack thereof – has been deeply disheartening.

London Breed and Paul Miyamoto

A Deafening Silence from the Mayor

Mayor London Breed has yet to acknowledge or respond to our letter. This silence is particularly troubling given the gravity of the issues at hand. The safety of our deputies, the well-being of prisoners, and the overall security of our community are at stake. The mayor’s non-response not only undermines the efforts of our deputies but also sends a concerning message about the administration’s priorities regarding public safety.

The Sheriff’s Unanswered Call

Sheriff Paul Miyamoto, similarly, has not responded to the letter. This lack of communication is alarming, especially considering that he is directly responsible for the conditions within our jails. The issues raised in our letter are not new; they have been escalating for years. Despite this, the sheriff has chosen not to engage with the union on these critical matters.

A Thank You to the Board of Supervisors

In contrast, the Board of Supervisors has taken a step towards addressing these issues by calling Sheriff Miyamoto into a hearing. During this session, the sheriff was questioned about the ongoing staffing crisis and the resultant safety concerns. We extend our gratitude to the Board of Supervisors for recognizing the severity of the situation and taking action. This hearing is a positive step towards accountability and solutions.

The Implications of Inaction

The non-response from both the mayor and the sheriff is more than just a communication breakdown; it is a stark indicator of the broader neglect of our department’s needs. Our deputies continue to work under hazardous conditions, stretched thin by understaffing and facing increasing risks of violence. The refusal to engage with the union on these issues not only hampers our ability to find solutions but also puts lives at risk.

A Call for Immediate Action

We urge Mayor Breed and Sheriff Miyamoto to break their silence and address the pressing issues outlined in our letter. The safety of our deputies, prisoners, and the public depends on it. The time for inaction has passed; we need concrete steps and open dialogue to resolve the crises within our jails.

The San Francisco Deputy Sheriffs’ Association remains committed to advocating for the well-being of our members and the safety of our community. We call on our city’s leaders to join us in this mission and take immediate action to address the critical issues at hand.

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

San Francisco Sheriff’s Office: Operating on a Debt-Based Budget with Overtime Slavery

In recent years, the San Francisco Sheriff’s Office (SFSO) has been embroiled in a disturbing practice of operating on a debt-based budget, resorting to what can only be described as overtime slavery to balance its fiscal books. This unethical approach, characterized by the forced imposition of excessive overtime on deputy sheriffs, is not only financially irresponsible but also morally reprehensible, taking a severe toll on the health and well-being of those sworn to protect and serve.

One of the key tactics used in this budgetary strategy is budgetary attrition savings, a process whereby the sheriff deliberately hires fewer deputies than what is needed to adequately staff the department. This intentional understaffing creates a limited savings of benefits and training costs, as the shortfall is then filled by forcing existing deputies to work excessive overtime hours.

SFSO Debt Based BudgetDespite clear data indicating the harmful impacts of this practice, the SFSO leadership has persisted in its reliance on forced overtime to cover budgeted attrition and maintain fiscal balance. This shortsighted strategy prioritizes financial expediency over the physical and mental health of deputy sheriffs, creating a toxic work environment and jeopardizing public safety.

Data collected over recent years paints a grim picture. Forced overtime has become a norm, with deputy sheriffs compelled to work extended hours without adequate rest or respite. This relentless schedule not only leads to exhaustion and burnout but also compromises the ability of deputies to perform their duties effectively and safely, endangering both themselves and the community they serve.

The use of forced overtime as a budgetary tool is symptomatic of a larger failure within the SFSO to manage its resources responsibly. Instead of advocating for a budget that reflects realistic staffing levels and limits on overtime, the sheriff has opted for a reckless path that exploits the dedication of deputy sheriffs to balance the books.

The consequences of this debt-based budgeting approach are dire. Deputy sheriffs are experiencing alarming rates of burnout and fatigue, leading to increased absenteeism and turnover. This vicious cycle of overwork and exhaustion not only harms the physical and mental health of deputy sheriffs but also undermines the effectiveness and integrity of the SFSO as a whole.

It is imperative that immediate action be taken to address this crisis. The SFSO must abandon its reliance on overtime slavery and commit to a budgetary approach that prioritizes the well-being of its deputies. Anything less would be a betrayal of the trust placed in the SFSO by the residents of San Francisco and a disservice to those who dedicate their lives to serving and protecting the community.