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to our New Hires
Josue Chavez Garcia
Lieutenant Dave Hardy
Sergeant R. Winters
Sr. Deputy M. Campion
A Message from Sheriff
Once again, the celebration of peace and joy is shattered by tragedy. The assassination of two New York police officers this past weekend in broad daylight makes us even more aware of our need for constant safety awareness as law enforcement officers. Our hearts go out to the families of the two officers killed, and to the entire New York City Police Department. Public safety requires community-based policing, where citizens and law enforcement work together to maintain a livable neighborhood for all. Violence only begets more of the same, and widens mistrust. As Supervisor for District 5, I pressed hard for enacting better community policing practices in San Francisco, which entailed holding law enforcement accountable too. When we encounter the inappropriate and unjustified use of force by law enforcement agencies, those actions must thoroughly be investigated and swiftly prosecuted. Just as the use of unjustified force does not speak for the cause of public safety, the brutal act of an angry man does not speak for the cause of justice.
This month, I was in Washington, DC for a very compact visit. First, meeting was with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) to instigate an official partnership that paves the way for us to send our sworn staff for training in the field of investigations and fugitive apprehension for cases of child abductions and trafficking. My next meeting was with the Federal Communications Commission where I submitted formal remarks (ex parte) about our self-initiated reform earlier this year that considerably reduced the cost of making a phone call from or to jail. As a practice, private companies furnishing phone service to prisons and jails throughout the country have gone unregulated for decades. Families of the incarcerated often shoulder the burden of the high costs of making a call. I am told that the San Francisco Sheriff's Department is the first county jail system in the country to undertake a meaningful change in lowering jail phone costs, while the FCC contemplates sweeping regulations on the national level. My other meeting was with President Obama's Department of Justice Director of Community Oriented Policing (COPS), Ron Davis and his senior staff. My presentation focused on why we need to expand the national discussion on community policing to inside the county jail system; because in my opinion, some of the best "beat cops" are the deputies who walk the line. My pitch for greater collaboration with the Feds corresponded with my request for funds to purchase body cameras for our deputies, and to provide Critical Incident Training (CIT) for our staff, who especially encounter people suffering with mental illness. My flight back was long and late as the Bay Area was getting hammered by stormy weather. As it turned out, sitting right next me was the mother of Oscar Grant. She introduced herself to me, and we talked.
I think we all can agree that idle time does not contribute to successful reentry. Meaningful, engaging programming is key to assisting those in custody transition to the life on the outside. Last month, sworn staff, inmates and University of San Francisco students came together in Pod 7B at County Jail #5 to create a performance piece exploring the themes of incarceration and restorative justice. Captain Ideta's statement captures the experience well: "It takes one person to truly change and then they can influence change in another person, and we've seen that here today." We also know that education provides the tools necessary for intellectual growth and employment. Another way to provide educational opportunity is though the Sheriff's Work Alternative Program (SWAP) High collaboration with Five Key Charter School. SWAP workers can fulfill their hours earning their high school diploma, completing their GED or improving their basic skills. An offender can move to an ex-offender, and stay there, by building solid educational foundation.
As you gather with family and friends to celebrate the holidays, please take a few minutes to think of all the sons, daughters, fathers, mothers lost to violence this year, and how you can reach across the chasm of prejudice and fear that divides our communities and bring a little peace into the world. On behalf of everyone at the San Francisco Sheriff's Department--we wish you a very happy holiday season and a wonderful new year!
Remembering Flying Tiger Line Flight 282
"Super Connie" N6915C lost in crash (courtesy of Check-Six.com)
Early on the morning of December 24, 2014, at 12:31 a.m., marked 50 years since the crash of the cargo plane flight 282, a Lockeed Constellation loaded with goods from Japan that had refueled and taken off from San Francisco International Airport.
The incident resulted in the loss of the three man crew, Pilot Jabez A. Richards, 49, Co-pilot Daniel W. Hennessy, 33, and Flight Engineer Paul M. Entz, 37.
The accident should be notable to all SF Sheriff's employees who ever worked at the recently demolished jail at San Bruno: Flight 282 narrowly avoided the jail by meters!
According to Lt. Paul Anderson, who was the Watch Commander on that fateful night in 1964, "The plane's four engines were throbbing at full power - but sounded normal- except that they were too low."
"The building shook because it was right down on top of us, maybe up about 100 feet. The motors were going along and then there was suddenly a big ball of flame."
The plane impacted just at the crest of Sweeney Ridge, just above the jail and cartwheeled over to the other side as it exploded in a huge fireball. The ridge was home to an active Coast Guard radio station and those stationed there immediately called the incident in.
The investigation revealed heavy fog and downdraft conditions may have caused the crew to deviate from their course for unknown reasons.
Sheriff's Lieutenant Dave Hardy has hiked the region above the jail on occasion and has come across small pieces of wreckage.
"When I think of the flight I wonder if at the last moment that crew saw the jail approaching fast in the windscreen of the Connie and made a last minute pitch up to avoid hitting the jail. It was a terrible night, but could have been so much worse, and could have changed the history of the Sheriff's Department as well."
So, on this holiday we ask that you have a few good thoughts or prayers for the crew of Flight 282, and their families
This article was created primarily from a web site on www.Check-Six.com
and we wish to acknowledge their excellent piece on the flight which can be read here
Self-Help for the Elderly Thanksgiving Event
On Thanksgiving Day, members of the SF Sheriff's Department, family and friends came out to carry on a thirty year tradition - delivering turkey dinners to the homebound elderly and hosting a luncheon for low-income families.
We were joined by volunteers from the SF Fire and Police Departments at Chinatown's Lady Shaw Senior Center. From there, over 1,000 meals were loaded into vehicles and delivered to the homebound and others who were unable to make it to Thanksgiving gatherings. Over 3,000 low-income families were served a hot turkey lunch at Lady Shaw.
In addition to labor, the Sheriff's Department provided vehicles to facilitate the transportation of meals from food preparation sites (30 turkeys from one location alone!) to the homebound. Over thirty people showed up providing more than 150 hours of service.
This event would not have been possible without the assistance of the community volunteers who assisted in the meal preparation and packaging, turkey cutting, lunch service and vehicle loading.
Holiday Comedy and Jazz Festival
On November 21st, the San Francisco Sheriff's Department and Healthright360 hosted an event with comedian Mark Lundholm and Jazz musician Marcus Shelby for 60 women incarcerated at our San Francisco County Jail #2.
Mark Lundholm, a recovering addict who was formerly incarcerated, turned his life around and started using comedy to help himself and others. Mark has traveled all over the world and has been to hundreds of institutions. He has written and performed on Broadway and had appearances on Comedy Central, Showtime, A&E, CBS, and NBC. Mark is a wonderful entertainer with real life material. More information can be found at his website: http://www.marklundholm.com/about
Marcus Shelby is a well-known musician and composer who has 24 years of professional experience. He has recorded six CDs for Noir records and has his own jazz orchestra. Mr. Shelby shared his talent and love for jazz with the women, which brought smiles to their faces. Naima Shalhoub also
volunteered her time and played the ukulele with Marcus Shelby. More information about Marcus Shelby can be found at the website:
Remarks from the women who attended the event:
"It was good to get some laughter out and to sing and have a day to relax and just have fun."
"Mark Lundholm was funny and at the same time he had a positive message in his comedy."
A win-win arrangement: fulfilling hours while learning. Sheriff's Work Alternative Program (SWAP) High is a continuing collaborative effort between the SF Sheriff's Department and the Five Keys Charter School. SWAP High is offered to all SWAP workers as an ongoing initiative by Community Programs and Five Keys Charter High School to support all individuals to complete their SWAP hours in the most productive way possible. Through this initiative, workers are granted the opportunity to fulfill SWAP hours through school participation. At 70 Oak Grove, SWAP High participants can earn their high school diploma or complete GED testing, free of charge. They can also improve reading, writing, and math skills. Teachers and tutors are available 8 a.m.- 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Enrollment is open and available to SWAP workers. Community Programs staff encourages all potential participants to engage and take advantage of this great opportunity. All Five Keys Charter School students benefit from certified teacher instruction and an academic environment built to support all students.
Restorative Theater comes to County Jail #5
University of San Francisco students, Sheriff's employees, contractors, and inmates transformed Pod 7B into a theater on November 21st to present "Through these Walls", a work of performance art exploring themes of mass incarceration and restorative justice.
Over 25 visitors came to see the performance, which began as they walked through the door of 7B. They were greeted by inmates doing choreographed movement to a live soundtrack performed on a flugelhorn. The exercise area became a stage, outfitted with a variety of homemade props and scenery. As visitors took their seats, they heard the opening bars of an original score composed and performed by program participant Jeffery Atkins, a longtime San Francisco musician and composer.
The performance used dance, music, and spoken word as artistic inquiry into the theme "Through these Walls." Professor Amie Dowling of USF said, "The walls of the prison are meant to keep some people out and some people in. The college has its own set of walls that do exactly the same thing. We want to pull down these walls." She went on to add that inmates will receive college credit for the performance, which is the culmination of a 14-week workshop at the RSVP Pod.
Captain Ideta, when asked if the performance presented any logistical challenges for deputized staff, said, "We've been doing this for several years now and we are quite capable of adjusting to changes when needed." He went on to add, "It takes one person to truly change and then they can influence change in another person, and we've seen that here today. Not just the inmates, but the students all expressed how this has changed them. I am always amazed by the talent we have here. These guys are breaking down stereotypes one at a time and from here, who knows?"
In a question and answer session after the performance, Undersheriff Rocha, after pointing out that both he and Sheriff Mirkarimi were USF graduates, stated, "There was a message put forth by the performance today - I heard that message." The USF students, who had performed in the play and provided musical accompaniment expressed their gratitude to staff and participants, stating, "You taught us."
"What's Missing, What you Should Know, and What you Must Have"
In November, a two day Resource Fair, was held at County Jail #2 for both the female and male population and County Jail 5 for the male population. The event was a collaboration between the San Francisco Sheriff's Department and Five Keys Charter High School.
Over the two days, 87 community service providers from a diverse range of services gathered together: housing, residential treatment / transitional housing, social services / public assistance, employment, vocational training, healthcare, case management, women services, and money management / banking.
Each of the in-custody participants received one hour of "Readiness Training" prior to the actual Resource Fair. The readiness training afforded the participants with soft skill tools designed to help challenging; often inexperienced participants proceed to the unfamiliar expectations of meeting and interacting with potential community resource providers. The Resources Fair addressed the fact that those coming home from jail have a huge hurdle to overcome in making a successful transition to life-after-incarceration.
The in-custody participants of this two day Reentry Resource Fair at CJ2 and CJ5, "WHAT'S MISSING, WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW, AND WHAT YOU MUST HAVE" have become more aware of the valuable resources that are available post-release, as well as the opportunities for living a healthy lifestyle. Furthermore, the event has empowered participants to strive for positive changes in their lives, as well direct them to recognize and overcome their phobias surrounding post-release.