SFDSA Demands Civil Grand Jury Investigation Against the Sheriff’s Office

San Francisco, CA, June 21, 2022 – – Staffing in the San Francisco Jails has become dangerously unsafe with inmates attacking inmates, nurses, sheriff deputies and civilian employees.  The San Francisco Sheriff’s Office and City and County of San Francisco have understaffed the jails to a dangerously low level, they have not prioritized funding to hire deputies, they have not even prioritized retention of current deputies. 

In an email from SFDSA President Ken Lomba to Sheriff Miyamoto, President Lomba stated that the SFDSA has been advocating for hiring and warning Sheriff’s Office Management about the staffing problems for over a decade. Two and a half years of which Miyamoto was Sheriff.  President Lomba said that the increased burden of work due to intentional lack of hiring has turned into “sweatshop labor.”  The SFDSA has filed a Civil Grand Jury Complaint demanding the Sheriff’s Office and the City and County of San Francisco be investigated.

Since 2014 there have been 3 separate reports from the SF Civil Grand Jury warning about the effects of going below minimum staffing levels and to expedite hiring instead of forced overtime. There was even a warning of a possible violation of Title 15 in the future if nothing changes. Unfortunately, the Sheriff’s Office has failed to hire the proper number of deputies to create a safe working environment for both the deputies and inmates. The minimum staffing levels have gotten worse, and bottom line: the deputies are exhausted.  

In the past reports, the Grand Jury found that because of the dwindling number of total deputies employed by the City and County of San Francisco, the excessive overtime and shortage of bodies did not allow for the important inmate programs in existence let alone increase the inmate programs that were recommended. Furthermore, the recommended training for deputies could not take place or was inadequate to deal with the mental health and substance abuse as well as many other issues the housed population experiences.

Ultimately, this Grand Jury recommended on three separate occasions in 2014, 2016, and 2017 to “expedite hiring to reduce overtime.” The Grand Jury’s recommendations have never been followed and the situation has become untenable as the number of deputies is lower now than it was when this Grand Jury made these strong recommendations.

CCSF JAILS ARE NOW FALLING BELOW MINIMUM STAFFING REGULARLY

Just days ago, on June 9, 2022, Sheriff Miyamoto issued a memo to all City and County of San Francisco jail staff identifying his intentions of – operating below minimum staffing – for a period of the next 8-9 months! The City and County of San Francisco has clearly recognized the futility of giving the appearance of reaching minimum staffing and has now admitted that it cannot exercise its duty to do so. 

The City and County of San Francisco is in fierce competition with its neighboring counties, Alameda and San Mateo, for jail staff. Alameda has been under a consent decree to hire more jail staff. It would be a shame for the City and County of San Francisco to be under similar governmental oversight. The City and County of San Francisco can expedite the hiring of staff but has not made it a priority, at the expense of the overworked and exhausted jails staff.

The Civil Grand Jury Complaint against the Sheriff’s Office and the City and County of San Francisco was filed on June 20th, 2022.  This Grand Jury should demand answers from the San Francisco Sheriff’s Office as to why it has failed to comply with its 3 separate recommendations since 2014.

View the complaint here, Civil Grand Jury Complaint Against SF Sheriff

Contact:

SFDSA President Ken Lomba
415-696-2428
San Francisco, CA

Website: https://sanfranciscodsa.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SanFranciscoDSA
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SanFranciscoDeputySheriffsAssociation

Forced Overtime at San Francisco Sheriff’s Office

The San Francisco Sheriff’s Office has a history of conducting salary savings.  Salary savings is a scheme to reduce hiring and offer overtime to existing employees.  In small cases it may be okay since the department can offer overtime to volunteers but over the years the San Francisco Sheriff’s Office has taken it to an extreme ordering our deputy sheriff members mandated overtime involuntarily.

For the purposes of this article, “salary savings” will be defined as the practice of keeping open positions unfilled so as to reduce budgetary outlays. In the practice, current employees are asked and often mandated to work overtime hours to cover the gaps created by non-hiring. As numerous articles and internal documents will show, the San Francisco Sheriff’s Office has engaged in salary savings for at least the last decade. While this has resulted in higher wages due to overtime payments, it has more significantly resulted in force attrition and individual exhaustion. This practice is not sustainable.

The San Francisco Sheriff’s Office has at times requested and at times mandated that its deputies work excessive hours of overtime to cover staffing shortages. As the Controller’s Annual Overtime Report (FY 2017-18) states, “[t]he distribution of overtime in the Department is highly skewed.” It has rewarded some, those willing to work extravagant amounts of time, with salaries far exceeding their base and it has also hastened the retirement of those who value their days off and their health. Meanwhile, until very recently, the Department has not incurred new pensions or benefit costs and has not had to train new employees sufficient to fill its roster. As numerous documents have shown, by encouraging and demanding overtime and by failing to hire new deputies, the Department has engaged in salary savings for at least the last decade.

Fast forward to present time, the Sheriff’s Office has gone further with this practice and implemented more salary savings.  As of a January 2021, the Sheriff’s Office had approx. 203 vacant full time employee openings.  It most likely is even higher now.  The Sheriff Office now mandates more overtime and blocks volunteers, in most cases, from working overtime forcing more deputy sheriffs to work involuntarily and in most cases forced to work with last minute notice.  You can only imagine how disruptive this is to the deputy sheriffs’ lives and health.

SF Deputy SheriffIn February 2021, the San Francisco Sheriff’s Office prepared their budget request, within that request they only asked for funding for 44 deputy sheriff positions.  This number is extremely low with deputies retiring and leaving to other agencies as well as the existing approx. -203 full time employee vacancies.

In August 2020 the San Francisco Chronicle reported that 19 out of 20 of the City’s Top Biggest Overtime Earners were deputy sheriffs.  That brought a lot of attention to the Sheriff’s Office and could expose the salary savings scheme to the voters.  So what they did next should shock you!  Instead of hiring more deputies to reduce the overtime, they are now forcing more deputies to work overtime.  They are restricting volunteers and forcing more involuntarily.  Is this a San Francisco value?

The staffing shortage not only effects the safety of employees and public but it also affects the currently incarcerated people.  Lawsuits are mounting for not allowing the currently incarcerated to have exercise time, walk time, sunshine time and now law suits over sleep deprivation.  The next lawsuit will most likely be a federal class action lawsuit over the lack of staff and conditions in the jail for violating the rights of the currently incarcerated.

While businesses continue to struggle and unemployment exceeds six percent the City gained a budget surplus of $125 Million this fiscal year 2020-2021.  So it makes you wonder why the Sheriff’s Office is so timid with it’s budget requests with such a staffing deficit.  

Download our white paper on San Francisco Sheriff’s Office Salary Savings.

Sheriff’s Deputies Sworn-in as Special Deputy U.S. Marshal’s

On Wednesday, August 13, 2014, nine members of the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department were sworn in as Special Deputy Marshals by Northern District of California United States Marshal Donald O’Keefe. Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, Undersheriff Federico Rocha and Assistant Sheriff Paul Miyamoto were in attendance at the swearing in ceremony. Undersheriff Rocha is the former Northern District of California United States Marshal, serving from 2003 to 2010. Continue reading “Sheriff’s Deputies Sworn-in as Special Deputy U.S. Marshal’s”