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The SFSO has an outdated, understaffed, and underfunded recruitment operation.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
agency.

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

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

Demanding Action: San Francisco Deputy Sheriffs Association Calls for Urgent Staffing Solutions

In a bold move to address the critical staffing shortages plaguing the San Francisco Sheriff’s Office (SFSO), the San Francisco Deputy Sheriffs’ Association (SFDSA) has issued an open letter to Sheriff, Mayor, and Board Supervisor President. The letter, signed by SFDSA President Ken Lomba, demands immediate action to recruit and hire Deputy Sheriffs to alleviate the current crisis.

The urgency of the situation cannot be overstated. A recent survey conducted by Dr. Lois James, PhD, revealed shocking statistics regarding the sleep, health, and wellness of SFSO deputies. With an average of only 5.25 hours of sleep per 24-hour period, deputies are facing serious risks to their health and safety. The survey also found high rates of physical and mental health problems among deputies, including high blood pressure, sleep apnea, depressive symptoms, and anxiety.

Despite these alarming findings, SFSO deputies are working an average of 28 hours of overtime per week, nearly tripling the recommended limit set by Occupational Safety and Health guidelines. This excessive overtime not only contributes to fatigue and health issues but also increases the risk of incidents and accidents on the job.

The cost analysis conducted by Dr. James further highlights the urgency of the situation. It is more cost-effective to increase the workforce by approximately 50% than to rely on overtime to fill staffing gaps.

In light of these findings, the SFDSA is demanding immediate action from Sheriff, Mayor, and Board Supervisor President. The association calls for the allocation of necessary funding to recruit and hire additional Deputy Sheriffs to ensure the safety and well-being of deputies and the public.

The SFDSA’s open letter serves as a clarion call for action. It demands results and concrete steps to address the staffing crisis in the SFSO. If no action is taken, the SFDSA is prepared to escalate its efforts and inform the public about the gravity of the situation.

The time for action is now. The safety and well-being of our deputies and our community depend on it.

Ken Lomba
President
San Francisco Deputy Sheriffs’ Association

Overtime Slavery: San Francisco Sheriff’s Office Struggles Amidst Rising Violence and Staff Shortages

Within the walls of the San Francisco Sheriff’s Office, a troubling reality is unfolding. Deputies, the frontline warriors of law enforcement, are being pushed to their limits by an unyielding demand for overtime work. This alarming situation, highlighted by a recent survey led by expert Lois James, PhD, paints a grim picture of overworked deputies, jeopardizing both their well-being and the safety of the community they serve.

The survey reveals a shocking truth: deputies are surviving on an average of just 5.25 hours of sleep per night, well below the recommended 7-9 hours. This chronic sleep deprivation not only threatens their health but also undermines their ability to make sound decisions and react quickly in critical situations, putting themselves and others at risk.

Staffing Crisis

Staffing Comments

The implications of this overtime slavery are profound. More than half of the deputies report high blood pressure, a third suffer from sleep apnea, and nearly three-quarters exhibit symptoms of depression. These stark figures underscore a workforce on the brink, their physical and mental health hanging in the balance.

The numbers tell a sobering story. Deputies are logging an average of 28 hours of overtime per week, a staggering figure that triples the recommended limit set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). This relentless overtime not only compromises their health but also diminishes their performance, with deputies 50% more likely to be involved in incidents while working overtime.

Adding to the pressure is the rising violence within the prison system. Incidents of prisoner fights have increased significantly, placing additional strain on an already overburdened staff. Attacks on deputies are also on the rise, highlighting the urgent need for a fully staffed and supported workforce.

Sheriff Miyamoto’s heavy reliance on mandatory overtime has created a toxic environment within the Sheriff’s Office, akin to modern-day slavery. Deputies are being pushed to their limits, with little regard for their well-being or rights. It’s a crisis that demands immediate attention, as lives are on the line.

Despite these challenges, Miyamoto has failed to prioritize recruiting and hiring, exacerbating the staffing shortages and placing further strain on an already overwhelmed workforce. As the sun sets over the Golden Gate, the deputies of the San Francisco Sheriff’s Office continue to toil, trapped in a cycle of exhaustion and despair. How much longer can they endure? Will Sheriff Miyamoto take decisive action to end their suffering? The time for change is now.

To ensure the safety of both deputies and the community, the Sheriff’s Office must bolster its ranks by approximately 308 deputies. Failure to address this crisis will perpetuate a cycle of exploitation and endangerment, with grave consequences for all involved.

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.

San Francisco’s Betrayal: City Offers $53 Incentive to Keep Deputy Sheriffs

In a shocking turn of events, the City and County of San Francisco has revealed its true colors in the latest contract negotiations with Deputy Sheriffs. Despite years of dedicated service and sacrifice, Deputy Sheriffs are being offered a meager 1% longevity incentive if they continue to work past 20 years.

This offer is not just insulting; it’s a blatant disregard for the safety and security of San Francisco’s residents. While Deputy Sheriffs are offered a mere $53 per paycheck to delay their well-deserved retirement, the City has shown a stark contrast in its treatment of other departments.

In 2023, Dispatchers were given a 5% longevity incentive, totaling over $1.5 million distributed to eligible dispatchers, to retain them from retiring. The police department fared even better, with an additional 13% in longevity incentives, totaling a staggering $65.85 million distributed to eligible officers.

With 160 Deputy Sheriffs eligible to retire this year after dedicating at least 20 years of their lives to serving and protecting the City, the City’s offer is not just a slap in the face; it’s a betrayal of trust. It sends a clear message that the City does not value the contributions and sacrifices of Deputy Sheriffs.

Moreover, the San Francisco Sheriff’s Office (SFSO) is facing a severe staffing shortage, currently short-staffed by -178 deputy sheriffs. This shortage has led to overworking of Deputy Sheriffs with forced overtime, putting additional strain on an already taxed workforce.

Adding to the problem is San Francisco’s notoriously long and slow hiring process. What will San Francisco do when $53 dollars a paycheck does not retain Deputy Sheriffs from retiring? The consequences could be catastrophic. The courts could come to a grinding halt, jails could become out of control, inmates and employees would be at risk, and there would be fewer deputies on the streets for public safety. The entire system could collapse under the weight of these challenges.

It’s time for the City to wake up and recognize the dedication and commitment of Deputy Sheriffs. They deserve a fair and respectful longevity incentive that reflects their years of service and ensures the continued safety of San Francisco. Anything less is a disgraceful betrayal of those who put their lives on the line every day to keep our city safe.

 

Incarceration-Based Rehabilitation: Addressing San Francisco’s Illegal Drug Use Problem

In recent years, San Francisco has faced a growing challenge with illegal drug use, particularly with highly addictive and deadly substances like “tranq” Xylazine and Fentanyl. These drugs have contributed to an alarming number of drug overdose deaths, highlighting the urgent need for effective interventions to address this public health crisis. As the city seeks solutions, one approach gaining attention is the concept of Incarceration-Based Rehabilitation. This method involves providing rehabilitation programs within the criminal justice system, utilizing the resources of the San Francisco Sheriff’s Office (SFSO) to offer a controlled environment for individuals with substance use disorders to receive treatment and support.

 

Tranq Zombie Drug

 

The key to this approach lies in recognizing the intertwined nature of substance abuse and criminal behavior. Many individuals who engage in illegal drug use find themselves caught in a cycle of addiction and criminal activity, often leading to incarceration. Traditional punitive measures, such as imprisonment without addressing the underlying issues, have proven ineffective in breaking this cycle. Incarceration-Based Rehabilitation seeks to address both the criminal behavior and the root cause of substance abuse through a comprehensive program.

The SFSO plays a central role in this approach by leveraging its resources and expertise to create an environment conducive to rehabilitation. Deputy Sheriffs, who are already responsible for maintaining order and security within jail facilities, can be trained to provide support and guidance to individuals with substance use disorders. By working closely with trained professionals, participants in the program can access a range of services tailored to their needs, including counseling, medical treatment, and vocational training.

One of the key advantages of Incarceration-Based Rehabilitation is its ability to provide a structured and supervised environment for individuals to address their substance abuse issues. Unlike traditional treatment programs that rely on voluntary participation, this approach offers a more controlled setting where participants are encouraged to engage in treatment and are held accountable for their progress. By integrating rehabilitation into the criminal justice system, the program can also ensure that individuals receive the support they need while serving their sentences, increasing the likelihood of successful reintegration into society upon release.

Moreover, Incarceration-Based Rehabilitation can be a cost-effective solution for San Francisco. By addressing substance abuse issues within the criminal justice system, the program has the potential to reduce recidivism rates, leading to long-term savings associated with lower incarceration and criminal justice costs. Additionally, by breaking the cycle of addiction and criminal behavior, the program can contribute to a safer and healthier community, benefiting the city as a whole.

Importantly, this system is designed not only to address the substance abuse issues but also to attend to the overall well-being of the individuals in the program. Participants will have access to healthcare, including medical and mental health services, to address any underlying health conditions or mental health needs. They will also receive clean clothing, access to bathing facilities, and a clean environment, promoting hygiene and overall health. Deputy Sheriffs will ensure their safety, creating a secure environment conducive to recovery.

Given the grave risks associated with drugs like “tranq” Xylazine and Fentanyl, providing a comprehensive program like Incarceration-Based Rehabilitation is crucial for keeping individuals alive and getting them on the path to recovery. By offering a holistic approach that addresses both the substance abuse issues and the broader needs of the individuals, this system has the potential to make a significant impact on the lives of those struggling with addiction in San Francisco. Will San Francisco value human life and do this to stop the cycle of addiction and overdose deaths? 

URGENT – Disturbing Default on Payment by San Francisco: A Christmas Crisis for Deputy Sheriffs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

URGENT – Disturbing Default on Payment by the City and County of San Francisco: A Christmas Crisis for Deputy Sheriffs

San Francisco Grinch

 

San Francisco, December 9, 2023 – In a dire development, the City and County of San Francisco (CCSF) grapples with severe financial turbulence, defaulting on an outstanding debt of $74,376.73 owed to 70 Deputy Sheriffs. This disconcerting situation is compounded by Moody’s recent revision of its rating outlook to negative from stable, prompting an urgent response from concerned parties.

This default, stemming from contract violations related to the non-payment of Watch Commanders, has not only breached trust but also jeopardized public safety. Recent polling indicates that public safety is the number one priority for San Francisco voters, emphasizing the critical role law enforcement officers play in maintaining community well-being.

Since May 2023, an additional $94,675.00 owed to deputies for increased workload due to understaffing at the Sheriff’s Office remains unpaid. This alarming default not only raises financial concerns but also questions how San Francisco intends to attract and retain Deputy Sheriffs while maintaining high morale.  San Francisco owes a total of $169,051.73 to Deputy Sheriffs and has not paid it.

As the holiday season approaches, San Francisco risks becoming the Grinch that stole Christmas from its very own deputy sheriffs by withholding the payment owed to them. This act of financial neglect not only casts a shadow over the festive season but also raises ethical questions about the city’s commitment to the well-being of its law enforcement officers.

Public safety, a paramount concern for San Francisco voters, is at risk due to the city’s failure to honor financial commitments to its law enforcement officers. This breach of trust not only undermines the dedication of these officers but also poses a threat to the overall well-being of the community.

Efforts to address these issues with relevant authorities have proven futile, necessitating the escalation of this matter to Moody’s Investor Services. The recent revision in Moody’s rating outlook to negative underscores the severity of the financial challenges faced by CCSF. The City’s inability to meet its financial commitments raises concerns not only about its overall creditworthiness but also about its ability to prioritize public safety.

In a letter addressed to Moody’s Investor Services, the undersigned parties express profound disappointment and urgency, urging an in-depth examination of CCSF’s financial standing. The gravity of the defaults, coupled with the negative revision in rating outlook, demands a comprehensive evaluation of the municipality’s creditworthiness.

The undersigned parties remain resolute in navigating these tumultuous waters, seeking transparency, accountability, and immediate corrective action from the City and County of San Francisco to safeguard public safety and uphold the morale of its dedicated law enforcement officers during this holiday season.

A letter demanding urgent payment for the city’s breach of payment was sent to Mayor London Breed and all members of the Board of Supervisors by the SFDSA.

For media inquiries, please contact:

Ken Lomba
SFDSA President
415-696-2428

 

The Case for Entry-Level Signing Bonuses for New Recruits

In the dynamic world of law enforcement, it’s essential to continuously seek innovative approaches to bolster our teams. Building upon the recent discussion of signing bonuses for experienced officers, let’s consider the potential impact of offering an entry-level signing bonus, set at a competitive $35,000.00, for aspiring law enforcement recruits. While this proposed bonus may not match the scale of those provided to lateral hires, its potential in attracting and cultivating a dedicated and enthusiastic new wave of recruits cannot be overlooked.

entry level sign on bonus

 

The introduction of this entry-level signing bonus serves as a testament to our commitment to nurturing a diverse and resilient law enforcement community, one that prioritizes the safety and well-being of our neighborhoods. By attracting and supporting a fresh influx of recruits, we anticipate a significant increase in the number of deputy sheriffs and police officers. This surge in manpower holds the promise of heightened public safety and enhanced care for our communities.

Moreover, as we welcome more staff into our ranks, we anticipate a reduction in overtime and a decrease in the exhaustion experienced by our current deputies and officers. This shift not only promotes a healthier and more sustainable work environment but also ensures that our dedicated law enforcement professionals can carry out their duties effectively and with a renewed focus on serving our communities.

As we contemplate this proposal, it is evident that our dedication to exploring innovative recruitment strategies remains unwavering. By extending a helping hand to the next generation of law enforcement professionals, we are taking vital steps toward building a more secure and safer tomorrow for the communities we serve. San Francisco needs to implement Sign On Bonuses Now!

Cost Neutral Sign On Bonus Program: The Smart Way to Cut Recruitment Costs

In the fast-paced world of law enforcement, we’re all too familiar with the challenges of securing top-notch talent while balancing the books. As we navigate this landscape, one tactic gaining traction is the introduction of cost-neutral lateral officer signing bonuses tailored to recognize the value of all ready trained Deputy Sheriffs and Police Officers. By cutting out the costs tied to academy training, wages, and benefits, often stretching over 6 to 9 months, we can redirect these savings into an enticing signing bonus program for lateral officers which have all ready been trained and have experience, boasting an impressive $75,000.00 similar to Alameda’s Police Sign On Bonus.

Skipping the expenses typically associated with conventional academy training, including instructor fees, equipment purchases, and administrative overhead, frees up a significant chunk of the agency’s budget. Not to mention, bypassing the need to pay wages and benefits to new recruits during their training phase adds to the pot of saved resources. This move acknowledges the skill set and know-how of experienced officers, making long-drawn training periods obsolete and, as a result, bringing in substantial savings for the agency.

By funneling these funds into an attractive signing bonus package, our law enforcement agency positions itself as a competitive and appealing career destination for seasoned professionals. This $75,000.00 sign-on bonus stands as a testament to our recognition of the expertise and dedication of our lateral officers. It’s a powerful motivator for experienced officers to consider making the shift to our team. Their inclusion not only fortifies our operational capabilities but also nurtures a dynamic and diverse work environment brimming with specialized knowledge and honed skills.

With a firm commitment to fiscal responsibility and the nurturing of a high-caliber workforce, the strategic introduction of cost-neutral signing bonuses signals a significant shift in our recruitment approach. By shrewdly redirecting savings from omitted training costs, we demonstrate our unwavering dedication to attracting top-tier talent and bolstering our operational prowess, all in the service of upholding the highest standards of public safety and community well-being.  San Francisco needs to implement Sign On Bonuses Now!