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December 2015 - ISSUE 35
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to Our  Promotions and to Our Retirees:
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Captain John Ramirez

New Hires:
Cadet S. Lopez
Cadet T. Tran
Cadet R. Loo
Cadet J. Mapu
Cadet J. Deleon
Cadet B. Lau
Cadet D. Cobillas
Cadet M. Morgado-Salyers
Deputy R. Capitulo
27 Years
Senior Deputy M. Vaughn
23 Years

In Memoriam
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Deputy D. Chan
24 Years


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© 2015
San Francisco
Sheriff's Department
Ross Mirkarimi
A Message from Sheriff  
Ross Mirkarimi

With this message, I say good-bye and reflect upon the highlights of my tenure as Sheriff. My goal was always two-fold -- improving opportunities for inmates through better rehabilitation and professionalizing staff development. Over the past four years, we've launched innovative new programs, expanded successful models, and met difficult challenges. Along the way, I was accompanied by inmates committed to turning their lives around and staff members dedicated to improving public safety.
The support of family is crucial to reducing recidivism. We strengthened the bridges between inmates and their families, especially their children, by reforming our visitation process, setting up on-line scheduling, and successfully challenging exorbitant phone rates. The success of our education and vocational programs is demonstrated by those leaving incarceration to continue their studies, become apprentices, or secure jobs in their communities. This year, Harvard University recognized the effectiveness of our Five Keys Charter High School with their Innovations in American Government Award -- the San Francisco Sheriff's Department is the only law enforcement agency to receive this award. The steady reduction of our inmate population is sparking a discussion of alternatives to incarceration, and the City is considering whether a replacement jail is really necessary.  However, while the overall jail population declined, we saw more people with severe mental health issues arrive at our door.  Rather than allow jails to become default mental health facilities, we must focus public resources on treatment alternatives before a person's condition becomes so severe that they act out in ways that land them in jail.
A significant milestone attained for our deputy staff was the unprecedented certification of our Field Training Officer Program (FTO) by California's Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) agency. Since the earliest days of POST credentialing, our department was always exempted from being FTO approved -- the only sheriff's department in the state to not be qualified. As I see it, and if done right, properly trained deputies can be certified to assist with our City's larger public safety needs. As national and local recognition grows for community policing, I believe there is a role for SFSD in tandem with our public safety partners. 

Similarly, for professional growth we broke new ground by cross designating our Warrant Service Unit with the U.S. Marshals, and successfully vied in obtaining two slots at the prestigious FBI Academy. 

On my watch, there were also serious challenges from which we learned valuable lessons and moved forward in a constructive way. The tragic death of a patient at San Francisco General Hospital (SFGH) resulted in a dramatic revision of how our department and the Department of Public Health (DPH) work together. Mind you, 100 percent of our budget at SFGH and Laguna Honda had not been administered by us, but by DPH. Our collaboration resulted in an unprecedented infusion of staffing and resources as well as an overhaul of procedures. Now our hospital security unit is more efficient and professional, earning positive reviews.
As we see on the streets of America, accusations of abuse by law enforcement erode trust within the institution and undermine public confidence.  While calls for equipping law enforcement with body cameras have been largely assigned to the patrol realm, I also called for our deputy sheriffs to wear body cameras in jails as an essential tool for promoting accountability and transparency.
Unfortunately, our department became the center of a political storm over immigration issues. The release of an undocumented immigrant, as required by state and local law, who then allegedly shot an innocent young woman, brought scrutiny of and anger toward the City's Sanctuary Policy and Due Process for All Ordinance. But when the ordinance went back before the Board of Supervisors for possible revision, the board reaffirmed the law, vindicating our actions, despite the media firestorm.
I entered this office committed to addressing recidivism and increasing professional opportunities for our staff. Under unrelenting media scrutiny, the department maintained its professionalism and tackled tough issues, while our inmates worked hard to improve their lives.  I am proud of our accomplishments, and grateful for the opportunity to serve as Sheriff.  
On behalf of me and my family, we wish you and your loved ones a very merry and safe holiday!

Criminal Investigations Unit
(April 2013)
In the spring of 2014, at Sheriff Mirkarimi's direction, the SFSD's Investigative Services Unit was bifurcated into two separate units: the Internal Affairs Unit (IAU) and the Criminal Investigations Unit (CIU). The change has enhanced our department's law enforcement capabilities and has allowed resources to be directed to the prosecution of criminal complaints brought forward by sworn staff.
The CIU conducts criminal, background, carry concealed weapon (CCW), and jail clearance investigations. In its first year, CIU initiated 222 criminal investigations -- of which 172 were forwarded to the SF District Attorney's Office. The DA's Office rebooked 88 of these cases.
Our Internal Affairs Unit conducts internal affairs investigations only.

Birth Justice
(May 2013)
The Birth Justice Project -- the first of its kind in the state -- is designed to affirm the reproductive rights of pregnant inmates during and post incarceration. The project supports the health and well-being of mothers and their new babies via efforts like our Doula Program, which provides care, advocacy, and education to incarcerated women at County Jail #2, our lactation policy, and round-the-clock access to breast pumps and breast milk refrigeration and delivery.
Supporting Crime Victims Through VINE (August 2013)
In the fall of 2013, Sheriff Mirkarimi introduced to the San Francisco County Jail System the California State Victim Information and Notification Everyday (VINE) Program. VINE is a highly valued free and anonymous resource offering victims of crime the ability to receive offender information upon release from custody or upon transfer to another jurisdiction.
VINE provides telephone and email notifications regarding incarcerated offenders and any change to the offender's custody status to crime victims who have registered for the service. The program is funded by a California Emergency Management Agency (Cal EMA) grant and is administered by the California State Sheriffs' Association.

Expanded Visiting Opportunities
(September 2013)
Sheriff Mirkarimi signs historic new jail visiting policy flanked by youth and representatives from Project WHAT__ the SF Youth Commission_ and One Family.
In the fall of 2013, the SFSD expanded visiting hours at County Jails 3 (now decommissioned) and 4 to better accommodate the schedules of inmate loved ones. The department also launched what has become a popular online "Schedule a Visit" program which is accessible on the SFSD web site.
Then, on June 8, 2015, Sheriff Mirkarimi expanded visiting opportunities to youth with incarcerated family members. Joined by representatives from Project WHAT!, One Family, and the San Francisco Youth Commission, he enacted reforms making San Francisco jails the first in California to allow children as young as 16 to make solo visits to incarcerated parents and siblings.

The visiting age reduction is a key way that SFSD is helping to reduce trauma and support the children of incarcerated parents.
Affordable Care Act for County Jail Inmates (April 2014)
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved groundbreaking legislation submitted by Sheriff Mirkarimi allowing the SFSD to help county jail inmates apply for health insurance, which would be available to them upon release from custody.
A majority of county jail inmates have no health insurance and no resources to pay for medical care upon release -- yet a significant proportion of them suffer from chronic health problems, including mental health illness and addiction disorders. Linkage to primary care is a critical part of reentry planning and has the potential to positively affect public health and reduce recidivism. 

U.S. Marshals Cross Designation
(April 2014)
Sheriff Mirkarimi secured, for the first time in SFSD history, cross designation status for our deputy sheriffs as U.S. Marshals. Cross designated deputies in our Warrant Services Unit assist the U.S. Marshals with the critical undertaking of detecting, investigating, and apprehending fugitives.
Deputy sheriffs work in plain clothes, drive in unmarked vehicles, and work in conjunction with other law enforcement agencies. In July 2015, deputy sheriffs along with other local, state, and federal law enforcement, took part in "Operation No Boundaries". The operation, led by the U.S. Marshals' office, resulted in the arrest of over one hundred violent fugitives.

Body Cameras at County Jail #4
(April 2014)

SFSD will be the first county jail system in the state to utilize on-body cameras.
Under Sheriff Mirkarimi's direction, the SFSD began drafting, in the spring of 2014, a comprehensive new policy to utilize body cameras in the county jails. This first-of-its-kind decision in California expands on the department's ongoing work to increase transparency and accountability.
Thirty body cameras will be worn by deputy sheriffs on all shifts at County Jail #4. The devices will ensure that interactions between deputy sheriffs and inmates are recorded, better ensuring the safety of inmates and protecting deputies against unfounded allegations.
Because the body camera pilot is the first of its kind in the state, the SFSD has assumed an important leadership role in creating protocols and polices from scratch that will govern the use of the devices, including rules governing application and use, privacy rights, ramifications for failure to adhere, data storage, personnel training, and public records requests.


Cutting In-Jail Phone Rates
(June 2014)
In the summer of 2014, the SFSD became the first municipal law enforcement agency in the country to tackle the corporate robber baron practices of unregulated phone commissions by the telecommunications industry.
Responding to what he recognized to be unreasonably high rates being charged largely to loved ones calling inmates in San Francisco county jails, Sheriff Mirkarimi instituted comprehensive reforms -- reducing the cost of 15 minute calls by up to 70%. Evidence-based practice shows that inmates who maintain strong social support networks are less likely to re-offend.
Prompted by his reforms, the FCC invited Sheriff Mirkarimi to Washington, D.C. in December of 2014 to present his analysis on the imperative that national regulation be enacted. In October of 2015, the FCC voted to cap prison and jail phone rates across the country.

POST Certification
(August 2015) 
As a result of a persistent years-long effort by Sheriff     Mirkarimi and SFSD staff, for the first time in its departmental history, the SFSD in August 2015 acquired the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) certification for its Field Training Officer (FTO) program. The certification enables deputy sheriffs to patrol San Francisco streets. The SFSD joins sheriff's departments in the state's other 57 counties all of which are POST certified -- considered to be a proud honor and tradition among state law enforcement agencies. POST sets the industry standard for law enforcement agencies in the state.
The certification will make available additional law enforcement assets to address rising crime rates in the City.   

Five Keys Honored by Harvard University (September 2015)
Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi and Five Keys Executive Director Steve Good accept 2015 Innovations in American Government Award from Harvard University's Marty Mauzy.

Lauding its forward-thinking programs, representatives from Harvard University on September 22, 2015, presented Sheriff Mirkarimi and SFSD's Five Keys Charter High School Executive Director, Steve Good, with the University's prestigious 2015 Innovations in American Government (IAG) Award -- for Five Keys' outstanding contributions to education in California's county jail system.
SFSD's Five Keys Charter High School prevailed over a field of 450 other applicants to win both the award and $100,000 in grant monies. The SFSD is the only law enforcement agency in the nation to win the Harvard's IAG award twice -- the department's Resolve to Stop the Violence Program accepted the award in 2004.
In addition to the Innovations in American Government Award, Five Keys is also the recipient of the 2015 Pioneer Institute Better Government Competition and the 2014 Hart Vision Award for Charter School of the Year (for Northern California) - another significant honor due to the alternative nature of the Five Keys' program when compared to those offered by traditional charter schools.

Inmate Locator
(October 2015)
Last fall, the SFSD launched a comprehensive, multi-lingual, online Inmate Locator program. Users simply key in an inmate's name, SF number, or booking number for real-time details on where an inmate is currently housed at the county jail. 
The locator provides a comprehensive scope of public information -- which it makes available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Russian. In addition to housing information, users can review an inmate's current charges, bail amount, upcoming court date, projected release date, relevant court department, docket number, and age. The user-friendly program can be accessed by both computer and smart phone and will be especially helpful for loved ones with friends or family members, including parents, in the jails. 
The SFSD's Inmate Locator was researched, designed, and built by the department's Information Technology Services Section in close collaboration with the City and County of San Francisco's Department of Technology.
 Inmate locator in San Francisco jails. KGO Radio.
Transgender Women Inmates to Participate in Programs at County Jail #2 (Current)


Transgender women inmates will soon be participating in programs and activities at CJ2 like this 2014 Resource Fair.

Early in 2016, as a result of collaborative efforts spearheaded by Sheriff Mirkarimi and stakeholders in the L/G/B/T/Q community, transgender women inmates currently housed at County Jail #4, a men's housing facility, will be allowed to participate in programming at County Jail #2, a women's housing facility. The move is the first of a longer term two-phase policy expansion that will ultimately facilitate housing transgender women in the women's jail based on their preferred gender identity.

The new policy, part of an ongoing two-year  collaboration with the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), Transgender Law Center, TGI Justice Project, and the Human Rights Commission, will allow transgender women access to educational and vocational opportunities which are paramount to reducing recidivism and to helping offenders successfully re-enter their communities.

Getting into the Holiday Spirit
Since 1989, when he became a Sergeant, holiday decorations have been a tradition for SFSD Lt. Ridegeway. They usually include a Christmas tree, special lighting, and a few of his American Flyer electric trains! Over the years, the decorations have adorned county jails 3, 4, 5, and 6, the Hall of Justice courts, the Deputy Sheriffs' Hall, the Women's Resource Center, and Community Programs. One of the first things Lt. Ridegeway is often asked when he begins a new assignment is "could you please set up the trains?"
This year, with the assistance of Sr. Deputy P. Washington and the permission of Captain Miyamoto, the front office of County Jail #4 has become a Christmas wonderland! Staff has told the Lieutenant that having the decorations up creates a touch of home and is a great stress reliever. Colleagues will have ample time to check them out -- they should be up until New Year's Day.

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