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July 2015 - ISSUE 30
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Information:
(415) 554-7225
   
CONGRATULATIONS
to Our Retirees
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David Dear 
Senior Deputy Sheriff

27 Years

 

Shelia Westfield
Deputy Sheriff

23 Years

 

Anita Whitehead
Deputy Sheriff

25 Years

 

Lawrence Thompson
Deputy Sheriff

22 Years

 

Melvyn Jarrett
Rehabilitation Svcs. Coor.

31 Years

 

Congratulations to Our New Hires
 
Deputy Sheriffs
 
 
Deputy W. Dillignham #2208
Deputy A. Meehleib #2207


 

 Sheriff Cadets


 
L. Brown, N. Perez, T. Gunn,
 V. Deluzuriaga, B. Huang
K. Carter, D. Souza, T. Worku

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© 2015
San Francisco
Sheriff's Department
sheriff@sfgov.org
Ross Mirkarimi
A Message from Sheriff  
Ross Mirkarimi

 

It has been a very busy two weeks because of the tragic events at Pier 14, and as a result our press time has been pushed back. We're providing the following informational links:
 

San Francisco Sheriff's Department Statement Regarding Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez
 

Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi addresses criticism over previous release of alleged Pier 14 shooter. KRON TV
 

San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi Says Too Much 'Finger-Pointing,' 'Distortion' in Pier 14 Shooting, Holds News Conference to 'Set Record Straight'. NBC Bay Area
 

June Newsletter Statement:
 

June was a month to honor graduates, strengthen family bonds and expand essential support. These last few months, staff and inmates accomplished much. Ongoing education is key to professional growth for our staff and successful reentry for ex-offenders.
 
Our Five Keys Charter High School is hitting its stride. Twenty-six in-custody students graduated with their high school diploma or GED, and sixty-two community students also obtained their certificates. This important achievement builds confidence and helps prevent recidivism. Sadly, approximately 65% of California prisoners lack a high school diploma. However, SFSD's Five Keys model continues to be recognized for its innovative work: they received the 2015 Pioneer Institute Better Government Award and the 2014 Hart Vision Award for Northern California Charter School of the Year. They are also a finalist in the Harvard Kennedy School Innovations in American Government Award -- the final award will be announced this summer.
 
On June 30, we congratulated our 12 newly graduated deputy sheriffs, four women and eight men, and welcomed them into our department. Their energy and dedication as a team ensured that all of the entering recruits successfully completed their training -- the first time since 2009 we've had a 100% completion rate! As you encounter our new deputies, please welcome them, and thank them for their commitment to public safety.
 
Veteran officers also continue to expand their professional skills, building on work experience to deepen those skills. This spring, Captain Kenneth Ferrigno attended a professional development course at the FBI National Academy with an international class of law enforcement personnel. Skilled law enforcement veterans provided direction, the training courses were rigorous, and the building of relationships across many agencies is invaluable.
 
June was also a month for strengthening family bonds, another key to successful reentry. We reformed inmate visiting procedures to allow youth 16 years and older to make solo visits to incarcerated parents and siblings. This policy change was developed in consultation with youth and adult representatives from Project WHAT!, One Family, and the San Francisco Youth Commission. On any given day, there are over 1,000 children with parents incarcerated in San Francisco county jails. Currently, only about a third of these children visit their parents. We need to significantly increase that number by creating warm, family appropriate visiting areas, and implementing family oriented visiting policies. 
 
Finally, June brought some relief and support to mental health services. In collaboration with the Department of Public Health, UCSF Citywide, the District Attorney and Public Defender Offices, SFPD, Adult Probation, the Collaborative Courts, and the SF Mental Health Association, we received a $950,000 grant for transitional housing and peer support for low-level offenders. With targeted coordinated services provided by a team of City and community service partners, we can end the revolving jail door for people suffering from mental illness.  
 
This month we celebrate the Declaration of Independence from arbitrary rule, when the sovereign could round up anyone without probable cause or due process of law. A fair and just criminal justice system are among the founding principles of this country. We must keep this -- and our charge to protect the public and those in our custody -- in mind as we celebrate our hard won independence.  
 

Education Saved My Life

 

Five Keys Graduation June 2015
"Everyone who has helped me is like 1,000 pieces of a puzzle." Sixty-two-year-old Five Keys community graduate, R. Horne.

 

On June 18, Sheriff Mirkarimi and SFSD's

Five KeysCharter High School Executive Director Steve Good proudly introduced Five Keys' 20th graduating class. Keynote Speaker Eddy Zheng, a leading violence-prevention champion for youth also lauded the graduates' accomplishments. "I was considered anti-social because I didn't have an education... education saved my life," Zheng said.

 

Twenty-six in-custody students obtained their high school diploma or GED certificate, a critical personal accomplishment for many of the graduates which chips away at both recidivism rates and the approximately 65% of California prisoners who lack a high school degree. Sixty-two community students also graduated.

 

SFSD's Five Keys persistently infuses the "key" ideals of community, family, recovery, education, and employment into its curriculum. The program's positive impact reaches beyond the walls of its jail-embedded classrooms to twenty-four community learning centers throughout San Francisco and Oakland and thirteen in Los Angeles -- serving over 9,000 students annually. SFSD's Five Key's expanded to Los Angeles in 2014.

 

Providing inmates access to education helps create safer communities, reduces tax dollars spent on incarceration, and affords inmates the skills they'll need to rejoin communities and their families upon release.

 

SFSD's Five Keys is the recipient of the 2015 Pioneer Institute Better Government Competition and the 2014 Hart Vision Award for Charter School of the Year (Northern California). This year, Five Keys is a finalist for the coveted Harvard Kennedy School Innovations in American Government Award (winner to be announced this summer). 

 

Children First

 

On June 8, Sheriff Mirkarimi was joined by SFSD Executive Command staff, youth and adult representatives from Project WHAT!, One Family, and the San Francisco Youth Commission as he signed into action reforms to inmate visiting procedures. These reforms make San Francisco jails the first in California to allow children as young as 16 to make solo visits to incarcerated parents and siblings.

 

Sheriff Mirkarimi signs historic new jail visiting policy flanked by youth and representatives from Project WHAT!, the SF Youth Commission, and One Family.

Reducing the required age to 16 for children visiting a parent or a sibling in the jails is a key way that SFSD is helping to reduce trauma and support the children of incarcerated parents. Based on a department-wide survey, on any given day there are over 1,000 children with parents incarcerated in San Francisco county jails. Currently, only about a third of these children are visiting their parents.

 

"The Sheriff's Department has embraced a 'children first' policy that has changed the way visiting is handled in San Francisco and beyond. I know these new policies and procedures will ease the trauma of parental incarceration for children and lower recidivism rates for their parents," said Ruth Morgan, Founder and Executive Director of Community Works West which oversees Project WHAT!

 

Every Saturday morning, children from all over the Bay Area travel to visit their mothers and fathers in the San Francisco jails. Children are able to touch, play, and talk with their deeply missed parent. The updated visiting policy creates uniformity across each of the county jails for parent-child contact visits and also codifies Goodbye Visits. Goodbye Visits focus on children whose parents have been convicted and are awaiting transfer to state prison. The department provides parents with three private contact visits to tell their children about their sentence, plan for their connection while incarcerated in state prison, and to say goodbye. Incarcerated parents are provided with small meaningful gifts to give their children such as night-lights, picture books and a photograph of them together. 

 

SFSD, Project WHAT!, and the SF Youth Commission worked together to craft SFSD's new visiting policies.

 

S.F. Sheriff Sets Lowest Age in California for Kids to Visit Loved Ones in Jail. SF Gate.

 

New Policy Lets Kids as Young as 16 Make Solo Visits to Parents, Siblings in SF Jail. KPIX/CBS Local.
 

SF Sheriff Launches New Program to Help Teens Visit Jailed Parents. SF Examiner.

 

Burst of Rain

   

In June, SFSD was awarded a $950,000 state grant to fund transitional housing and peer specialist support for low-level offenders in our jail system who are suffering from mental illness. The overarching goal of the monies, provided through California's Mentally Ill Offender Crime Reduction (MIOCR) Grant program, is to reduce recidivism and improve outcomes for misdemeanor offenders with mental health service needs - providing much needed support for one of the most troubled populations in the county's criminal justice system.

 

"This grant is like a burst of rain amid a chronic drought," said Sheriff Mirkarimi. "Unlike our declining general jail population, one group of inmates not trending downward are people with serious dual diagnosed mental health and substance abuse issues. Our jails are becoming default treatment centers, requiring us to provide an array of treatment modalities so that a patient's progress is not lost once released from custody."

 

According to a snapshot of persons charged with misdemeanors incarcerated in county jail on March 4, 2015, 61% of all persons charged with misdemeanors had at least one contact with Behavioral Health Services (BHS), with 40.7% receiving such treatment on an ongoing basis.

 

Lack of stable housing can influence recidivism, substance abuse, relapse, and failure to meet court-ordered community supervisory requirements among the City's offender population with mental illness. Over the three-year grant period, MIOCR Grant funding will support homeless misdemeanants with mental illness who are participating in a proposed collaborative court. The grant will provide an average of six months of transitional housing for at least 114 low-level offenders, a full-time peer specialist, and additional funding for transportation and employment skills training.

 

The MIOCR Grant was secured through a partnership between the San Francisco Sheriff's Department, Department of Public Health, UCSF Citywide, District Attorney's Office, Public Defender, Police Department, San Francisco Collaborative Courts, Adult Probation, and the San Francisco Mental Health Association.

 

SF Receives Grant to Help Mentally Ill Offenders. Bay City News.

 

Books of Wonder 

 

On Thursday, June 25, Sheriff Mirkarimi hosted a book fair and reading at the Women's Resource Center (WRC), with the theme "Books of Wonder." The concept behind this book drive was to ask community members to bring in one book that changed their lives. Before the readings started, WRC volunteer, Laura Mendoza, led the group in Native American drumming to welcome all and to consecrate the land in honor of the spoken word.


Sheriff Mirkarimi opened the event with his insights about how the books that he read, such as Love in the Time of Cholera and One Hundred Years of Solitude, affected his world view, and shaped him to be the pioneer he is today. He talked about how this literature affected his current views of incarceration: that education was the precursor to liberation. He then invited local authors to read their own poems and stories. 

 

Nasima Chambers, 16, participates in poetry readying during SFSD's "Books of Wonder" book drive at the WRC.


Nasina Chambers, a 16 year old poet attending Raoul Wallenberg High School read first, a poem that she had crafted about social injustice.


Sunny Schwartz, a nationally recognized expert in criminal justice reform, and the designer of the Resolve to Stop the Violence Project, read from her book Dreams from the Monster Factory.


Kevin Paulson, a captain with the San Francisco Sheriff's Department read an excerpt from his memoir, A Song for Lost Angels, which has recently been named a finalist in both the Benjamin Franklin Awards and the National Independent Bookseller Awards.


Other writers included Radha Stern, Julia Park Tracey, Judy Juanita, Carolyn CJ Jones, S. Elise Peoples, and Mary Liu. 

 

The Sheriff sponsored a light lunch so that as the group shared the spoken word with each other, they could also break bread together.

 

A Lively Day for Dads

 

A father visits with his children during a special Father's Day celebration at CJ#5.

On Father's Day, One Family held a marvelous celebration at the San Bruno County Jail. Hosting a great turn out, One Family provided in-custody fathers and their children four different gourmet macaroni and cheese flavors along with Brussels sprouts. The dads decorated t-shirts with their children and the children created cards for their fathers. Directly outside the jail, in the parking lot, One Family put together a fabulous barbeque for the children and their caregivers. There was DJ Reggie Daniels spinning excellent music to set a refreshing mood, child entertainer Unique Derique keeping smiles on the family's faces, and tons of hotdogs, chips, and cookies for the families to eat. Sheriff Mirkarimi attended and spoke with gratitude for the families and motivation for changes on the horizon. The highlight of the event was an improvisational talent show put on by the children culminating in a ten-child dance performance to the popular dance song "Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)."

 

Joy was brought to San Bruno on Father's Day, and we were honored to host such a fun and lively event! 

Captain Kenneth Ferrigno: "My Training at the FBI National Academy" 

 

Section 6 classroom.

This spring, I was selected to represent the SFSD at the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia. The academy is a professional

development course for U.S. and international law enforcement leaders.  It serves to improve the administration of justice in law enforcement agencies at home and abroad and to raise law enforcement standards, knowledge and cooperation worldwide. Participants engage in a wide range of leadership and specialized training, sharing ideas, techniques, and experiences with each other and creating lifelong partnerships.

 

I attended the 260th session of the academy from April 6 through June 12, 2015.  My class was comprised of 218 law enforcement professionals from 20 different countries and 47 states.

 

Mandatory fitness challenges tested us all!

Classes were held

daily from 0745 hours until 1700 hours. An FBI Special Agent taught each course in their field of expertise.  My Critical Incident Leadership instructor was the lead negotiator for the Boston Bomber boat barricade, Captain Phillips hostage situation, Arizona Prison Guard Tower takeover, and the Jimmy Lee Dykes hostage situation in Midland City, Alabama. We had several other high profile guest instructors including Mary Ellen O'Toole, the FBI agent/analyst that Jody Foster's character was based on for the movie "Silence of the Lambs." Each course's workload included thesis papers, individual class presentations, and group presentations along with written and practical exams.

 

"Yellow Brick Road" obstacle course.

Every Wednesday there were mandatory fitness challenges which were competitive and timed. They were a mix of power, strength, and endurance and tested us all to the "max." The final fitness challenge was the Yellow Brick Road, a grueling 6.1-mile run through a hilly, wooded trail built by the Marines (Jodie Foster's character is seen running this same course in "Silence of the Lambs"). Along the way, you climb over walls, run through creeks, jump through simulated windows, scale rock faces with ropes, crawl under barbed wire in muddy water, maneuver over a cargo net, and more. If you complete the challenge you receive an actual yellow brick to memorialize your achievement. I was proud to earn my yellow brick. 

 

Our class participated in Law Enforcement Memorial week and attended the Candlelight Vigil in Washington D.C. to honor all officers who lost their lives in the line of duty. The day after the vigil, we hosted over 100 surviving children of fallen officers at Quantico. The children and surviving parents were offered counseling and support services all day at the academy. In-between counseling sessions, the children enjoyed a carnival that we hosted that included games, paint ball, bouncy tents, and helicopter tours.  

 

FBI Director J. Comey and me.

Overall, this was the professional training experience of a lifetime. We challenged ourselves daily and made friendships and professional connections that will last a lifetime. It was an honor to represent the SFSD and I am truly grateful for the opportunity. The challenges for law enforcement today are many and daunting. Based on my experiences at the FBI National Academy, and the many wonderful professionals I met there, I am confident that our nation can meet the challenge. 

 

Going Once, Going Twice...

 

The SFSD donated a basket of memorabilia and other goodies to the FBI National Academy Auction. The  auction raised nearly $16,000 for Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.) which helps the families of officers killed in the line of duty.  
 

Deputy Rick Koehler put together a beautiful basket of SFSD memorabilia and goodies for the FBI National Academy Auction.

Welcome to Our New Deputy Sheriffs!

 

Welcome to our new sheriffs deputies! The first academy class since 2009 to achieve a 100 percent success rate for graduating recruits!

 

Congratulations to our 12 new deputy sheriffs -- four women and eight men -- who graduated in June from South Bay Regional (SBR) Class 129, the first SFSD class since 2009 to achieve a 100 percent success rate for graduating all recruits!

 

Joining our ranks are deputy sheriffs V. Bustos, J. Collum, D. Law, S. Rodriguez, C. Paping, M. Hodgers, B. Tso, N. Jacowitz, S. Dun, C. Wackler, J. Lowe, and E. Galarza.

 

Standing out among all students at SB Regional were award-winners Deputy Hodgers, who won the Leadership Award, and Deputy Law, who won the Outstanding Academic and Outstanding Overall Awards.

 

We are proud and privileged to have you all. 

Our Diverse Ranks

 

The SFSD's inclusive culture is a recruitment selling point.

The SFSD's highly diverse staff caught the attention of the SF Examiner last month in a write-up about diversity among the City's law enforcement agencies. About 70% of our sworn staff are people of color and about 17% are women. At a time when law enforcement agencies are being scrutinized nationally on the issue of racial sensitivity, SFSD's inclusionary culture stands out.

 

Our staff look for all-inclusive events at which to meet potential deputy sheriffs and cadets, like Juneteenth, the Asian Heritage Festival, Gay Pride, and the St. Patrick's Day Parade. We also visit state and community colleges around the bay. In fact, the department's diverse staff is a selling point when our recruiters speak to people from all walks of life about careers with the SFSD. "The Sheriff's Department is a wonderful place to work," our recruiters might be heard saying. "Your job will be rewarding and you'll enjoy getting to know a diverse group of dedicated professionals." 

SFSD Around Town

 

A grand time was had by all who marched in the SFSD contingent this year at the LGBT Pride Parade. Wonderful weather, great company, rainbow colors, and even mechanical ponies and unicorns added up to a great time for the marchers and revelers alike!

 

Sheriff Mirkarimi greets parade- goers.
Undersheriff Federico Rocha enjoys the crowds and the terrific weather.

Mechanical ponies and unicorns formed the Sheriff's posse!
SFSD vehicle decked out in rainbow colors!

 

 

 


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