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 Mayor Needs to Force SF Sheriff’s Office to Increase Hiring

San Francisco, California, June 24, 2022 — The San Francisco Deputy Sheriffs’ Association wrote a letter to San Francisco Mayor London Breed and requested that she intervene to force the San Francisco Sheriff’s Office to increase hiring.

 SFDSA President Ken Lomba stated, “We have been advocating for hiring over that last 5 years with Sheriff’s Administration. In the last two years the Sheriff’s Office has taken salary savings to an all time high, exhausting our deputy sheriff members. Instead of hiring at appropriate levels the Sheriff’s Office prefers to force more overtime!”

San Francisco Sheriff Miyamoto has told the San Francisco Board of Supervisors that he will expedite the hiring of 75 Deputy Sheriffs this year.  Sixty new deputies and fifteen academy trained and/or laterals.  The problem with this is more than 75 deputies will have resigned and retired by the end of this fiscal year which will put the Sheriff’s Office in a further negative.  

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 San Francisco Sheriff’s Office has failed to hire the proper number of deputies to create a safe working environment for both our deputies and inmates. The staffing levels have gotten worse, and bottom line: our deputies are exhausted.  Without the appropriate amount of deputy sheriffs at the jails this will affect the amount of family, friend and legal visits that can be conducted, it will affect the amount of recreation time for inmates, being understaffed will even affect and slow the intake and booking abilities of the Sheriff’s Office. 

Lawsuits are mounting for not allowing the currently incarcerated to have exercise time, walk time, sunshine time and now lawsuits over sleep deprivation.  The San Francisco Jails are an unsafe environment due to understaffing.  The San Francisco Deputy Sheriffs’ Association is extremely concerned about the safety of the inmates, nurses, civilian employees and our deputy sheriff members.  The San Francisco Jails are not immune to crime, in past history there has been a variety of crimes from fights to stabbings, illegal drugs, drug sales, robbery, sexual assaults and more.  Matter of fact, there was a staffing crisis in the 90’s, multiple lawsuits were filed, when inmates were sexually assaulted, sodomized for approximately 30 days and physically attacked.  In this SFweekly article it describes several lawsuits for unsafe conditions where inmates were sexual assaulted, sodomized and physically attacked.  In each court ruling the judge demanded an increase in deputy sheriffs, yet the Sheriff Office has fallen into a past practice of unsafe understaffing which places inmates and employees in danger.

The San Francisco Deputy Sheriffs’ Association has asked Mayor London Breed to intervene to increase deputy sheriffs in the San Francisco Jails.  Will Mayor London Breed answer the call to increase the safety of our jails?