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JULY 2013 - ISSUE 7
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Sgt. Richard Roja #754
31 Years of Service
Dispatcher Rosie Atkins (Victor Zero Zero)
30 Years of Service 


Upcoming Events


7/20 - 8:00AM-3:00PM
Sheriff's Department Community Booth
McKinley Square Park
20th and Vermont 



7/23 - 4:00PM-7:30PM
San Francisco Giants Law Enforcement Night
AT&T Park
Come see us before the game at our Family Safety Festival booth on the south side of the park


Guest Contributor: Chris Cheng
Chris Cheng
Did you know:

Buying a gun for someone who is prohibited by law from possessing one or for someone who does not want his or her name associated with the transaction is a "straw purchase."

An illegal firearm purchase (straw purchase) is a federal crime.

An illegal firearm purchase can bring a felony conviction sentence of ten years in jail and a fine of up to $250,000.
Buying a gun for someone who can't can cost you your good name and land you in big trouble.

Thank you for keeping San Francisco safe.


Chris Cheng is a six year San Francisco resident, and is History Channel's Top Shot Season 4 Champion. He worked at Google as a Program Manager for five years, and is now a professional marksman for Bass Pro Shops.
SFSD Mobile Command Unit Featured in 9-1-1 Magazine
Command van

In May, the S.F. Sheriff's Department Field Support Unit travelled to Sacramento in the Mobile Command Unit to a rally of command vehicles throughout the state.

The purpose of the rally is to share information and test interoperability between law enforcement, ems and fire, and private sector services like cell phone providers and utility companies.  

Information gathered at events like these help us to better communicate and cooperate in the event of a major regional disaster or critical incident.

The Department's new command vehicle was well received at the event, and was prominently featured in the 

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San Francisco
Sheriff's Department
Information Technology & Support Services
Ross Mirkarimi
A Message from Sheriff  
Ross Mirkarimi
Two very high profile occurrences over the past few weeks tested the San Francisco Sheriff's Department and the City.  With great joy we've celebrated the re-affirmation of the right for everyone to marry whom they choose, and with great sadness we responded to the tragic Asiana airline crash. 

Once the Defense of Marriage Act (DoMA) was repealed by the U.S. Supreme Court, it gave me great pleasure to swiftly pen a memo reminding our sizable LGBT staff that with equality comes the benefits - benefits previously denied. That was just a precursor to the extraordinary festive milestone that engulfed San Francisco during PRIDE week. As the San Francisco Sheriff's Department has responsibility for managing public safety at City Hall, it was wonderful to see how numerous city departments switched into high gear by being the only county in the state over Pride weekend to license marriages. And it was wonderful to see our deputies, many of whom were borrowed from other facilities, assisting with public safety and keeping customer service in mind. The weekend culminated with the historical Pride parade and in true fashion, the Sheriff's department had a great contingent of sworn and civilian staff and friends.

Conversely, the airline crash on July 6 sent all departments into disaster preparedness mode. Part of our domain was San Francisco General Hospital. The largest number of crash casualties were admitted into SFGH. Worldwide media and onlookers all descended upon the hospital as it was up to our staff to make sure there was no interference with emergency operations. Once an airline passenger-patient was discharged from SFGH, there wasn't any plan in place to facilitate their reunification with other family, traveling companions or just getting a ride to the airport. On top of which, Homeland Security (Customs) set up operations in the hospital cafeteria to process crash victims since those transported from the crash site to Bay Area hospitals, did so without being processed by Customs. While at SFGH, I witnessed firsthand the traumatizing effect of this tragedy on the patients-passengers.

Our team of deputies organized transportation and with kid gloves ushered the discharged back to the airport - (we insisted on no curbside drop offs) -to be received by concierge staff. They also transported the discharged to other hospitals so that separated families could be reunified. To protect the patient-passenger in our care, it was made sure that this process would be done without media attention.

For all their work, alongside the city's other amazing first responders, I want to thank our staff who gave their all in every way possible. Both events demonstrate the professionalism and compassion of a top flight sheriff's department.
Keeping Families Together

On any given Saturday morning most children around San Francisco are waking up slowly, wiping sleep from their eyes and tottering into their parent's bedroom to see if waffles or pancakes are on the "menu." On the same Saturday morning in the same area, some children are waking up less slowly, getting ready to go see their mom or dad, not in their bedrooms, but in jail.
The Sheriff's Department supports the right of a child to be able to see their parent during incarceration. To this end, we partner with the One Family program to bring family strengthening services to incarcerated parents and  their families both in our jails and in the community.
One Family Visiting Time
Artwork by Raelene Okoh with permission
Family visits in the jails take place in a large classroom decorated with art from the kids and posters from the parenting classes the incarcerated parents are taking. 
There is a palpable buzz of love and anxiousness in the room. Inmate mothers spend two hours playing Uno, answering questions, making plans with their children. 
Babies are fed, and held, while they bond and sleep soundly in the arms of the person that carried them for nine months. 
Sheriff's deputies and One Family staff work together to ensure that all are safe. A space is created where a child's deep desire to know that their parent is okay can be fulfilled. 
Children leave knowing that they are loved and that their parent's choices are not their fault. We are working together so that a Uno game, a big, long hug, and hearing your parent say "I love you" in person can be a bridge back to a Saturday morning filled with simpler questions about waffles and pancakes. 
For more information about the One Family Program, please visit: 
Community Works

National Take Your Child to Work Day


On Thursday, April 25th, the Department hosted a wildly successful Take Your Child to Work Day event at the San Bruno Complex for children of SFSD employees. The day started off at our training building where the children were served breakfast before hopping on a Sheriff's bus for the ride to San Bruno.

K-9 Deputy O'Neill with Rocket getting some attention from the kids
Upon arrival at the San Bruno complex, the children met with Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, Assistant Sheriff Paul Miyamoto and other sworn personnel. The children went to County Jail #6 for a tour of the control room. Questions were incessant and abundant!

Then it was off to an empty dormitory where the children learned about contraband. They searched bunks, finding chocolate identified as different types of contraband. In another empty dormitory the kids learned about defensive tactics and practiced those techniques on a larger-than-life dummy. This activity was one of the most talked about events of the day.

After working off some energy, the children were brought outside where they saw a K-9 demonstration, the Mobile Command Unit, Special Response Team surveillance equipment and the basic safety equipment that deputies wear on a daily basis. The kids also got to play with the lights and sirens on a patrol car.

After a barbecue lunch of hot dogs and hamburgers-made possible by the kind donations of the Deputy Sheriff's Association and the Managers and Supervisors Association-the children went to the farm for a tour of the Garden Project, which was hosted by Cathrine Sneed. They picked garlic and leeks and found snakes! The children planted flowers which they brought home. There was dirt everywhere!

As you might imagine after such and exciting and eventful day, the bus ride back to the training building was very quiet. 
Building Safer Communities Through Education
On June 14, 2013, Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi presided over the 17th graduating class of the Five Keys Charter High School. Five Keys Charter High School, established under then Sheriff Mike Hennessey, was the first charter high school to operate inside an adult jail. The school is currently celebrating its tenth year as a program of the San Francisco Sheriff's Department. 

The ceremonies, attended by family, friends, teachers, school officials and sheriff's department program and sworn staff, were the cause of great joy and celebration for the graduates and for those who supported them during their journey. 

A morning ceremony was held to recognize the achievements of 20 inmates in the county jail, who earned their high school diploma or equivalency while being incarcerated. An afternoon ceremony recognized an additional 45 students who attended one of 13 community school sites located throughout San Francisco. 
The "five keys" are: education, employment, recovery, family and community. Together, these keys along with our restorative justice and reentry services create safer communities. Combining education and vocation training along with strengthening family connections during incarceration provides the foundation needed for a successful reentry into our communities. These keys are woven into the daily curriculum of the Five Keys Charter High School and are promoted by all of the other programs and services provided by the Sheriff's Department to the incarcerated population. 

SFSD inFocus:  Part Five: County Jail #5
Part Six in a series of articles that will serve to inform and educate the public on the San Francisco County Jail system. 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.
County Jail #5, the largest jail in San Francisco County, has the additional distinction of not even being located in San Francisco County! "Bruno," as it is commonly known by those who work there or have stayed there, is actually located on San Francisco-owned lands inside the city limits of San Bruno in San Mateo County. CJ #5 replaced the old County Jail #3, a six story structure that had at one time been the oldest working jail west of the Mississippi. CJ #5 is a 758-bed facility that was opened in 2006. It is located on an 158 acre natural woodland habitat.

County Jail #5 - with Sweeny Ridge in the background
CJ #5 is a program facility and is home to the majority of programs available to male prisoners, including the Five Keys Charter High School, Roads to Recovery, Resolve to Stop the Violence Program (RSVP), Keys to Change and the Psychologically Sheltered Living Unit. This is the largest jail in our system, with a state of the art kitchen, laundry and medical services.

CJ #5 has 162 Sworn personnel assigned, and over 100 support personnel including teachers, service providers, medical personnel, engineers and food service workers, all working as a team to run this large facility.

CJ #5 staff work together to provide a wide variety of interventions that foster rehabilitation. The modalities employed at CJ #5 include education, vocational training, support for parent/child relationships and community ties, freedom from the adult male power paradigm and freedom from substance abuse. To this end, prisoners are offered a variety of program and treatment options, including group therapy, individual counseling, theater work (in conjunction with the University of San Francisco), referral services, parent/child meetings, art and music therapy, academic class work, and community meetings. Sheriff Mirkarimi has implemented a number of vocational education classes involving hands-on work. These include a kitchen worker training class, an urban gardening class, and, most recently, a bicycle repair "shop" class. 

The jail at San Bruno also works in tandem with the San Francisco Sheriff's Department Garden Project, the primary mission of which is to serve at-risk youth by offering them the opportunity and skills necessary to become stewards of the earth. 
Sheriff's Eviction Assistance Unit
When we share with other sheriff's departments about our eviction assistance unit, we usually get a statement resembling, "Typical San Francisco." Once we explain the mission of the unit, however we get some serious interest.
The eviction assistance unit is a component of the Department's Civil Unit. Eviction assistance was created under then Sheriff Mike Hennessey and is the only program of its kind in the state. We offer assistance to those facing eviction. The elderly, ill and those with children who are facing eviction may utilize this service. 
While the Sheriff does not have the legal authority to stop an eviction, the Department may provide referrals to those who can assist the evictee. The unit is led by Joe Crittle, a Deputy Sheriff for 27 years and a member of the eviction assistance unit for the last ten. An additional deputy is assigned to the unit on a yearly rotational basis.
The Civil Unit conducts between 25-30 evictions weekly pursuant to court orders. Deputy Crittle attempts to   
Dep. J. Crittle
Deputy Joe Crittle
make contact with everyone who requests assistance prior to an eviction. Deputies assigned to eviction assistance wear plain clothes and drive unmarked vehicles. The majority of the time, eviction assistance deputies mitigate a potential threatening evictee by listening to their story and offering help. Deputy Crittle likes to say, "I know I have done my job on eviction day when my lieutenant doesn't receive any calls with problems." 
For further information regarding our Civil Unit and our Eviction Assistance Unit please visit us at: www.sfsheriff.com.  
SF Sheriff Providing Much Needed Information to Regional Crime Data Sharing Systems
cyber crime cuffs In May the San Francisco Sheriff's Department's Information Technology Unit completed a secure computerized interface which began providing crime related data as part of a federally funded regional data sharing initiative for law enforcement called the West Bay Coplink Project. This project links the internal data systems of all the police agencies in San Mateo County so that records on field interviews, vehicles, mugshots, persons, addresses, phone numbers and license plates can be shared regionally.
Criminals work independent of county lines and city limits, but for years law enforcement had trouble sharing data across those same lines.
No more.  A traffic stop on a car in San Mateo, can be searched by a homicide detective in Daly City. Gang intelligence from the San Francisco Sheriff's Department is readily shared with detectives in San Mateo County.
Millions of records from the various records systems of these law enforcement agencies is made available by a powerful software program from IBM called I2-CopLink.  The CopLink acts as a virtual fusion center for police records, and allows quick searches for anything from a cell phone number to a specific make, model and color of car in seconds.  
As the CopLink expands, our crime related data will be accessible to thousands of agencies statewide.  We have already received a great deal of gratitude from our neighbors to the South for our participation and the valuable information we are sharing.
Since its inception in 2009, there have been major leads developed by this system leading to major crimes being solved, and solid evidence developed as a result of the web of information being available. 
2013 San Francisco Sheriff's Department 
Information Technology Support and Services
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