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The SFSO has an outdated, understaffed, and underfunded recruitment operation.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

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.

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.

SFDSA’s Forewarning Ignored: SFO Held Hostage by Protestors, Security Concerns Persist

Just over a year ago, the San Francisco Deputy Sheriffs’ Association (SFDSA) issued a warning to San Francisco International Airport (SFO) Director Ivar Satero regarding the weak level of security at the airport. The SFDSA highlighted concerns about the staffing of police officers at SFO, noting that the current system, where SFPD staffing is dependent on city levels, was flawed and compromised public safety.

Despite this warning, yesterday, SFO experienced a major security breach as protestors took over the airport, disrupting operations and holding it hostage for close to three hours. The protestors, demanding a ceasefire in Gaza and an end to U.S. military aid to Israel, blocked traffic outside the International Terminal and security lanes inside the airport.

sfo protestors

The incident raised serious questions about SFO’s security preparedness and response. Despite the SFDSA‘s forethought and identification of security weaknesses, SFO did not call on the San Francisco Sheriffs for assistance during the protest, highlighting a failure to address the security concerns raised by the SFDSA.

 


The SFDSA’s warning, issued a year ago, was a clear indication of the potential security risks at SFO. The fact that these concerns were not addressed and that SFO did not utilize available resources, such as the San Francisco Sheriffs, during yesterday’s protest, is troubling.

Moving forward, it is imperative that SFO takes immediate action to address its security vulnerabilities and ensure the safety of its employees, customers, and infrastructure. The SFDSA’s warning should serve as a wake-up call, emphasizing the importance of proactive security measures and the need to heed warnings from law enforcement professionals.

The incident at SFO underscores the critical importance of maintaining strong security measures at all times, especially at key transportation hubs like airports. Failure to do so can have serious consequences, as demonstrated by yesterday’s events at SFO.

San Francisco International Airport Held Hostage: A Critical Security Breach

San Francisco International Airport (SFO), a vital hub for international travel, faced a major security breach on Wednesday as protesters held the airport hostage for close to three hours. The incident, which disrupted normal operations and caused fear among employees and customers, highlighted the vulnerabilities of critical infrastructure to large-scale protests.

The protesters, demanding a ceasefire in Gaza and an end to U.S. military aid to Israel, blocked traffic outside the International Terminal and security lanes inside the airport. This disruptive behavior not only caused chaos but also raised serious security concerns.

 

 

SFO International is classified as a super-critical infrastructure due to its importance in international travel and commerce. Any disruption to its operations poses significant risks, including the potential for a terrorist attack. The protest at SFO demonstrated how easily such a critical infrastructure can be compromised, putting thousands of lives at risk.

Employees and customers at SFO were in fear for their safety during the ordeal. The possibility of a terrorist attack was a looming threat, as the protest created a situation where security measures could be bypassed or compromised. Despite the peaceful nature of the protest, the potential for violence or escalation was a constant concern.

The incident at SFO serves as a wake-up call for the need to enhance security measures at critical infrastructure sites. It also underscores the importance of having robust contingency plans in place to respond to such emergencies swiftly and effectively.

Authorities must ensure that such disruptions do not occur again, and that the security and safety of passengers, employees, and infrastructure are prioritized at all times. Any compromise of a super-critical infrastructure like SFO could have far-reaching consequences, making it imperative to prevent such incidents in the future.

San Francisco Deputy Sheriffs’ Association Condemns Misconduct by Public Defender’s Office in Domestic Violence Case

San Francisco, CA – Feb. 22, 2024 – The San Francisco Deputy Sheriffs’ Association (SFDSA) is deeply troubled by the recent revelations of misconduct within the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office in the case of Jordana Cahen, a survivor of domestic violence. An investigative report by ABC7 News I-Team’s Dan Noyes uncovered disturbing actions by Deputy Public Defender Ilona Yanez, which included victim-blaming and unethical behavior.

The SFDSA condemns the actions of the Public Defender’s Office and Deputy Public Defender Ilona Yanez in their handling of this case. Survivors of domestic violence deserve to be treated with dignity, respect, and compassion, and to have their voices heard in the pursuit of justice. The conduct of the Public Defender’s Office in this case falls far short of these standards and is unacceptable.

Public Defender Mano Raju‘s apparent indifference to the misconduct within his office is also deeply concerning. As a leader in the legal profession, Raju has a responsibility to uphold the highest standards of ethics and professionalism. His failure to address the serious ethical violations and boundary violations committed by his office is unacceptable.

The SFDSA calls for accountability and reform within the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office to ensure that survivors of domestic violence receive the support and advocacy they deserve. It is essential that all individuals involved in the legal profession are held to the highest standards of ethics and professionalism.

The SFDSA stands in solidarity with Jordana Cahen and all survivors of domestic violence. We will continue to advocate for justice and support for survivors in our community.

Contact:
Ken Lomba
President
San Francisco Deputy Sheriffs’ Association
415-696-2428

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? 

San Francisco’s Criminal Justice System: A Balancing Act with Limited Resources and the Mayor’s Funding Failure

San Francisco’s criminal justice system is grappling with a multifaceted crisis, characterized by a significant imbalance in resource allocation, challenges in monitoring pretrial diversion and electronic monitoring, and the persistent issue of outstanding warrants. A critical element that exacerbates this problem is the Mayor’s apparent failure to adequately fund the Sheriff’s Office, which is tasked with managing these critical aspects of the criminal justice system. This article delves deeper into these issues, highlighting the impacts of inadequate funding on the functioning of the system.

A Strain on Sheriff’s Office Resources

San Francisco’s Sheriff’s Office plays a pivotal role in overseeing pretrial diversion programs, electronic monitoring, and the apprehension of individuals with outstanding warrants. However, the Sheriff’s Office has been grappling with resource shortages that severely hamper its effectiveness.

Electronic Monitoring Oversight

Perhaps one of the most glaring issues is the overwhelming caseload faced by a mere one to two deputy sheriffs per shift responsible for monitoring 500 individuals on electronic ankle monitoring. This stark imbalance between the number of offenders and the personnel assigned to oversee them has several consequences:

  1. Inadequate supervision: The limited number of personnel makes it exceedingly difficult to ensure effective supervision and compliance with the terms of electronic monitoring. This raises concerns about the potential for offenders to exploit these conditions or reoffend without proper oversight.
  2. Rehabilitation and reintegration: The objective of electronic monitoring programs, which is to support rehabilitation and successful reintegration into society, becomes questionable when the sheer caseload makes individualized attention and support nearly impossible.

The Overburdened Warrants Service Unit

The Warrants Service Unit, tasked with actively seeking out and apprehending individuals with outstanding warrants, operates with just five deputies. The implications of this understaffing are far-reaching:

  1. Limited apprehension capacity: With a minimal workforce, the unit struggles to locate and arrest individuals with outstanding warrants in a timely manner. This undermines the credibility and effectiveness of the criminal justice system.
  2. Accumulating warrants: The challenges faced by the Warrants Service Unit contribute to the mounting number of outstanding warrants, leaving many individuals unaccounted for and the public at risk.

Mayor’s Failure to Fund

2023 San Francisco budget

It is imperative to address the core issue: the Mayor’s apparent failure to allocate adequate funding to the Sheriff’s Office. This funding deficiency exacerbates the problems within the criminal justice system, resulting in an imbalanced workload for deputies, an ever-increasing number of outstanding warrants, and the erosion of public trust.

The implications of this funding shortfall are clear:

  1. Reduced public safety: Inadequate funding of the Sheriff’s Office directly impacts the safety of San Francisco’s residents. Insufficient resources hinder the effective supervision and apprehension of offenders.
  2. Strain on law enforcement: Deputies are faced with insurmountable caseloads, making it nearly impossible for them to fulfill their responsibilities effectively. This, in turn, affects the quality of rehabilitation programs and the timely apprehension of individuals with outstanding warrants.

San Francisco’s criminal justice system grapples with severe challenges, primarily due to the lack of funding for the Sheriff’s Office. The Mayor’s failure to address this issue has far-reaching consequences, leading to imbalanced workloads, a growing number of outstanding warrants, and a loss of public trust. Addressing this problem requires a fundamental reevaluation of resource allocation and a commitment to bolstering the Sheriff’s Office’s capabilities. It is crucial to bridge this funding gap to ensure that the criminal justice system can meet its core objectives while safeguarding the interests of the community.

Ensuring Public Safety: The Vital Need for Armed Peace Officers in the Medical Examiner’s Office

SF Medical Examiner Investigator In recent times, the role of peace officers within the Medical Examiner’s Office has come under scrutiny. The issue at hand revolves around the authorization for these peace officers to carry firearms on duty. Our union, recognizing the potential risks and the impact on public safety, initiated a letter correspondence with the Medical Examiner’s Office. This article delves into the critical importance of arming these peace officers and highlights our recent response to address the matter.

The Medical Examiner’s Office plays a crucial role in investigating deaths and providing critical insights into the causes. However, it is essential to acknowledge that these investigations often take place in challenging environments, including high crime areas. The presence of peace officers within the Medical Examiner’s Office is not a mere formality; it serves as a vital component in ensuring the safety of all involved.

Our Initial Request: Recognizing the potential dangers faced by Medical Examiner Investigators, our union penned a letter to the Medical Examiner’s Office, urging them to authorize peace officers to carry firearms on duty. We highlighted the detrimental impact of disallowing these peace officers from being armed and emphasized the negative implications on public safety. It was our firm belief that by granting them the ability to carry firearms, we could enhance their capacity to respond to emergencies, protect themselves, and effectively fulfill their responsibilities.

The Medical Examiner Office’s Response: In their response, the Medical Examiner’s Office downplayed the peace officerCA Peace Officer Standards and Training designation within their agency and did not even acknowledge that they have California Peace Officer Standard of Training Certification, emphasizing their civilian-led approach. While we appreciate their perspective, it is crucial to recognize that peace officers play a pivotal role in enforcing laws, protecting the public, and responding to emergencies. Dismissing their authority and the need for them to be armed undermines their effectiveness and compromises the safety of both the investigators and the communities they serve.

In our recent response to the Medical Examiner’s Office, we reiterated the criticality of authorizing peace officers within the Medical Examiner’s Office to carry firearms on duty. We emphasized that this decision was not a form of defunding police power but rather a proactive measure to enhance public safety. By enabling our Medical Examiner Investigators to be armed, we ensure they have the means to protect themselves, others, and intervene in potentially dangerous situations. Moreover, it alleviates the burden on local law enforcement agencies, enabling them to allocate resources more efficiently.

The ongoing dialogue between our union and the Medical Examiner’s Office highlights the pressing need to address the issue of arming peace officers within the Medical Examiner’s Office. It is vital to recognize that public safety should always remain a top priority. By granting peace officers the ability to carry firearms, we can ensure the safety of our investigators and enhance their effectiveness in responding to emergencies. It is our hope that the Medical Examiner’s Office will reevaluate their stance and take decisive action that aligns with the shared commitment to public safety.

Together, let us work towards a safer future, where peace officers in the Medical Examiner’s Office can perform their duties without compromising their safety or the safety of the public they serve.

Ken Lomba
President, San Francisco Deputy Sheriffs’ Association
Representing the OCME Investigators
(415) 696-2428

 

OPEN LETTER TO SFPD CHIEF SCOTT – CURRENT STATE OF SFPD

Dear Chief Scott,

I am writing to express my concern about the current state of the San Francisco Police Department and to offer a potential solution to improve efficiency and increase police staffing.

As you are aware, the police department is facing mass retirements and is currently understaffed. This is a major issue, as it leaves our city vulnerable to increased crime and puts an undue burden on the remaining officers who are trying to do their best to serve and protect the community.

In order to address this issue, I believe it would be beneficial to reduce the size of the police department and turn over some functions, such as the SFO, to the San Francisco Sheriff. By reassessing the roles and responsibilities of the department, we can redirect resources towards increasing the number of police officers in San Francisco, particularly in high-need areas like the Tenderloin district.

I understand that such a change would require careful consideration and planning, but I believe it is a common sense solution that would ultimately improve public safety for San Franciscans. By streamlining the department and focusing on core functions, we can ensure that your SFPD officers are able to do their jobs more effectively and efficiently.

I also believe that turning over auxiliary functions, such as the SFO, marine unit, and port patrols, to the Sheriff’s Department makes sense. The Sheriff’s Department is equipped to handle these types of tasks, and it would free up additional resources for the SFPD to focus on crime reduction and public safety in the city.

Given the current state of public safety in San Francisco, we have concerns for the well-being of our union members who reside in the city.  I hope that you will seriously consider this proposal and take any necessary steps to make it a reality. As the leader of the SFPD, it is your responsibility to ensure that the department is functioning at its best and that our city is as safe as possible. I believe that implementing these changes would be a step in the right direction towards achieving that goal.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Ken Lomba
SFDSA President
415-696-2428