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AUGUST 2013 - ISSUE 8
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Deputy
Sandra Maclin-Gibson #820
27 Years of Service

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SFSD Website Gets Much Needed Facelift
  
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Please visit our newly refurbished website - In addition to the new look, we are continually updating content and improving the site to better serve our community.
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2013
San Francisco
Sheriff's Department
Information Technology & Support Services
Ross Mirkarimi
A Message from Sheriff  
Ross Mirkarimi
 
As Sheriff, I have a dual role: to protect the community from those within our custody; and to provide a secure, safe and rehabilitative facility for those in custody and on staff. The San Francisco Sheriff's Department serves as a bridge between the community at large and the community confined, with corresponding responsibilities to both.

Recently, as part of our effort to enhance our customer service information system, we inaugurated the California State Victim Information and Notification Everyday System (VINE). This allows victims of crimes in San Francisco to receive email or telephone notifications of offenders' custody status in California jails and prisons. This free and anonymous service allows victims to be notified within 30 minutes when an offender is released from custody, and within 8 hours if an inmate is transferred to another facility. Knowing this information can help alleviate a victim's uncertainty or concern about an offender's status.

As a means of making our department more effective for those within our care, we are also pursuing the replacement of County Jails 3 and 4. These two jails were built over 55 years ago and reflect an antiquated linear design that compacts inmate housing and prohibiting 80 percent of our rehabilitation programming. Current conditions are deplorable.

Due to the building's chronic disrepair and the aftermath of 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake, on scale of 4 being the worst, these two jails have been State rated as a level 3 on the seismic hazard scale. In 2006, it was determined by the City's Capital Improvement Committee that 850 Bryant Street, The Hall of Justice, shall be demolished. County Jails 3 and 4 exist on the top two floors of the HOJ and consist of approximately 900 beds. Upon becoming Sheriff in 2012, we started to review the methodology proposed for the replacement jails. Instead of a one-to-one bed replacement, we determined that we can manage with less beds. As practice goes in the United States, while many local, state and federal jurisdictions are accustomed to expanding jail space, with the replacement of our two jails, San Francisco will be the first major county in decades to be reducing its aggregate jails beds - by almost 30 percent.

Due to a range of factors that make San Francisco's criminal justice partners unique in how we apply diversion, alternatives to incarceration for low level offenses and victimless crimes, we are under-crowded by almost 40% - practically no misdemeanants. But, the complexity of those within our care grows significantly. Ranging from medium to maximum security to inmates with acute psychiatric needs, and rival gang segregation, among other reasons, the math doesn't allow us the ability to forego the need to replace County Jails 3 and 4. If we did, we would overload our County Jail 5 in San Bruno (15 miles south of SF), thus forcing us to contract out beds elsewhere while denying reentry programming that I insist be concomitant with an inmate's stay. Reducing the number of people in jail cannot be achieved by simply reducing the existence of jail facilities. There is no question that we over incarcerate in this country, but to meaningfully reduce the jail population means that we must start with a renewed focus on how people land in jail. As the Sunday, July 11, 2013, editorial in the New York Times states: "In fact, California's problem is not excessive crime, but excessive punishment."

I was present for Attorney General Eric Holder's remarks at the American Bar Association convening on August 12th. What AG Holder gestured for the nation is already underway in San Francisco. But we must go further - address the mental health and substance abuse issues that make jail the treatment of last resort, reexamine harsh sentencing laws that disproportionately affect poor people and people of color, and provide meaningful employment and housing options for the formerly incarcerated to keep them from returning. That's how we don't build jails.
SF Sheriff Providing Crime Victims With Notification Services
 
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Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi is pleased to introduce the California State Victim Information and Notification Everyday (VINE) program. VINE is a service which allows victims of crime to receive information regarding an offender's custody status whether in a participating California jail or in any California state prison. VINE is a highly valued resource offering victims of crime the ability to receive offender information upon release from custody or upon transfer to another jurisdiction. 
 
 
VINE is a free and anonymous service provided to crime victims, who may register, either by phone or online, to receive telephone and email notifications regarding incarcerated offenders and any change to the offender's custody status. 
 
Notification regarding a transfer of an offender from San Francisco County to another jurisdiction occurs within 8 hours. All other release notifications occur no later than
thirty minutes of release of the offender. Sheriff Mirkarimi stated, "By providing VINE, we hope to further support victims of crime with a greater sense of safety and security during times of uncertainty and concern".
 
To register for this service, victims may do so by visiting: www.sfsheriff.com or directly at: www.vinelink.com. To use the telephone notification call: (877) 411-5588 or TTY: (866) 847-1298. A mobile application is coming soon.  
  
VINE is funded by a California Emergency Management Agency (Cal EMA) grant and administered for California counties by the California State Sheriffs' Association.
SFSD inFocus:  Part Six: Classification Unit

 

Part Six in a series of articles that will serve to inform and educate the public on the San Francisco Sheriff's Department. Look forward to future editions where the other Sheriff's Department units will be spotlighted to detail the function and role that it plays in our system.
 
The Sheriff's Department maintains a specialized trained unit responsible for identifying and housing inmates in a proper and safe manner. This unit also insures the safety and security of staff by providing information on an inmate's criminal behavior and history. The "Class Unit", as it is affectionately called, operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is staffed with a total of 27 sworn employees including supervisors. The Class Unit uses an objective classification system based on interviews, criminal database information and other sources to score point-based housing levels referred to as minimum, medium or maximum. Deputies are responsible for screening inmates for potential threat risks, escape risks, and vulnerability in order to prevent victimization and to ensure uniformity in jail operations.

The classification deputies take many factors into consideration when making housing decisions. These include an inmate's gang affiliations, gender non-conformity, criminal history, drug usage, propensity for violence, medical needs, suicidal tendencies and psychological behaviors. In some cases an inmate will require an individualized management program due to these factors. Classification deputies are routinely subpoenaed to testify in matters regarding all of the above. Other duties include rescreening inmates on a daily basis to determine eligibility for our many custody programs.

Deputies working in classification all agree that administrative segregation housing is the hardest, most time-consuming housing units we have to maintain and manage. 

Administrative Segregation is restrictive housing referred, to as "Ad-Seg" and is used to keep an individual separate from the general population for their own safety or for the safety of others. Inmates in administrative segregation may have a higher potential for violence, suffer from acute psychiatric conditions, and/or have some vulnerability that warrants separate housing in conjunction with the use of restraint gear when moving the inmate from one location to another. The class deputies are consistently working with the supervisors and line staff at the various jails to configure appropriate housing needs for these inmates.

The Classification Unit also represents the department in San Francisco's anti-gang programs such as Ceasefire and the City Attorney's gang injunctions. The Class team is a great group of diverse personalities who work hard and come together with one objective to provide a safe environment for all those in the jails everyday!
SFSD Stars Shine at 2013 SERT Challenge

On Friday, June 28, 2013, members of the San Francisco Sheriff's Department's Emergency Services Unit (ESU) competed in the 2013 Contra Costa County Special Emergency Response Team (SERT) Challenge. This was the 5th consecutive year our ESU represented the department in this very physically demanding competition. Our SERT team competed against seven other SERT teams from surrounding Bay Area counties. Our SERT team was compromised of eleven sworn employees and led by Sergeant Bliss. 
 
The SERT Challenge consisted of two individual and four team events. The two individual events were pistol and shotgun competitions. The team events were a hill climb, obstacle course run ("Rat Race"), cell extraction/rescue course (an obstacle course while carrying a 110 pound rescue dummy), a multi-threat course (various physical challenges) and the range run, which consisted of teams running and shooting through all of the events a second time. All SERT teams were faced with sweltering temperatures and the event challenges were grueling.

Our SERT team gave it their all. Their efforts and commitment to each other was reflected in their 4th overall placement out of the eight teams. The team just missed finishing 3rd by 1 second. The team scored 2nd overall in the cell extraction event and 3rd best in the range run.
 
One hundred sworn law enforcement personnel competed in the individual pistol event, with top honors awarded to our own Deputy Basconcillo. The individual shot gun competition awarded 3rd place to Deputy Ng.
  
The canine competition consisted of building and vehicle searches. Over fifteen K-9 teams competed for the "Top Dog" award. Our K-9 team finished 6th overall. 

The ESU team members demonstrated commitment and excellence during this competition. They are to be commended for a job well done.
SFSD a Regional Asset:  The Mobile Field Force
  
The San Francisco Sheriff's Department Emergency Services Unit is trained in Mobile Field Force (MFF) functions. The SFSD MFF is a regional MFF trainer and one of the few certified MFF's in California designed to provide an organized and disciplined response to all-hazards situations, including, but not limited to, hazard materials accidents, natural disasters, terrorist events, civil unrest and other major incidents. 
  
The MFF's mission is to protect life and property in any critical incident that requires a law enforcement presence in preserving the peace and maintaining order. This includes responding to other jurisdiction's mutual aid requests for the MFF element.
  
The MFF members are issued personal protective equipment for crowd control situations, hazard material accidents and other events to safely and effectively perform their duties. The ESU MFF has responded to multiple mutual aid requests from SFPD, BART and Oakland P.D. due to the Occupy Oakland demonstrations. 
  
The San Francisco Sheriff's Department Mobile Command Unit (MCU) supports the MFF Incident Command System with all functions and helps coordinate department resources. It is also used to assist in managing multiple deployments and events for any critical incidents. It allows the department to respond more effectively to calls for assistance when emergency situations occur. 
  
Not only does the MCU provide a valuable resource for the Sheriff's Department, it is available for joint operations with other local, state and federal agencies requesting mutual aid.

Wonderful Response at This Year's Historic Pride Parade 

 

This was truly a year to celebrate at the annual Pride Parade. The United States Supreme Court ruling striking down the Defense of Marriage Act and effectively validating the rulings of lower courts rejecting California's Prop 8 gave same sex couples something to really celebrate. 
 
The Sheriff's Department had one of the largest groups ever march down Market Street. The department's contingent consisted of well over fifty participants including Sheriff Mirkarimi, Undersheriff Brin, Assistant Sheriff Miyamoto, command staff and many other members of our department, as well as their family and friends. Also marching were members of "Protect and Defend", an organization dedicated to serving the interests of LGBT public safety officers.

The department's contingent was led for the first time this year by the Color Guard. The Color Guard proudly carried the flags of our nation, our state, our city and county, as well as the Rainbow flag. 

Another first this year was a unique Sheriff's posse comprised of special electric horses. These electric horses are recycled electric wheelchairs with carousel-sized horses attached to the frame. These special horses, draped in department themed blankets, allowed the children in the group to ride the parade route.

As always, the contingent had wonderful things to hand out to the crowd. Thanks to the generosity of the MSA and the Sheriff's Department, there was an abundance of lollipops and gold Junior Deputy Sheriff stickers. If you missed this year's celebration, please consider joining the department in next year's event!
Sheriff's Department Community Outreach Program   

Community Booth - giants The Sheriff's Department has been actively involved in many street fairs and community events to help build awareness of our presence in the San Francisco Community. At these events we often get a lot of inquiries about our recruitment and hiring process, how we differ from the SFPD and the requisite training requirements to become a deputy sheriff. 
  
Most recently the Department was present at the Fillmore Jazz Festival, the McKinley Square Park Foundation BBQ, and the Family Safety Festival/Law Enforcement Night at AT&T Park. The promotional items we give away at these events include pens, key chains, stickers and cookies with our new QR code printed on them. 
  
These cookies have been our most unique and popular give-away to date. Many other agencies and organizations commented on what a great idea they were. It has been fun to show people how the QR code works on smart phones and how it takes them directly to the department website. We remind them, of course, that the cookie needs to be scanned before it can be eaten. The cookies provide a great opportunity for us to share our website with the public and promote the community involvement of the San Francisco Sheriff's Department. Make sure to stop by and say hello if you see us at one of these events!
 
2013 San Francisco Sheriff's Department 
Information Technology Support and Services
 Unit  
Questions and comments to 
david.hardy@sfgov.org

 
San Francisco Sheriff's Department | 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place | RM 456 | San Francisco | CA | 94102