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Guest Contributor: Chris Cheng
Chris Cheng
Gun Safety Focus:

Rule #1: ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.

A "safe direction" means away from people, and pointed in a direction where if the gun were to accidentally discharge, that the bullet would not strike an unintended target. Even if you know that the gun is unloaded, always treat a firearm as if it were loaded. Some common mistakes to avoid:

- A user is inspecting a firearm and inadvertently points it at a person: Be mindful of where the gun is pointing. This is called "muzzle awareness" in gun speak.

- A user wants to talk to his/her buddy while shooting, and turns his/her body, and the gun, in the direction they are talking. If you want to talk to your friend, either keep the gun pointed toward the target, or place the gun down on a table pointed in a safe direction.

- A user looks down the barrel of a gun: Your face is not a safe direction!

Next month- Rule #2: ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot. 
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.
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© 2013
San Francisco
Sheriff's Department
Information Technology & Support Services
Ross Mirkarimi
A Message from Sheriff  
Ross Mirkarimi
This month, our series on the Sheriff's Department facilities focuses on Ward 7L/7D located at San Francisco General Hospital where we house people with serious health or mental health conditions. This group requires specialized care and individualized services. The recent  San Francisco Controller's County Jail Needs Assessment: Hall of Justice Replacement Jail, August 15, 2013, confirms the anecdotal information--the percentage of individuals in our jails with mental health needs has increased significantly since 2008. Currently, there are far too many inmates with open mental health cases.

Sadly, jail is the landing of last resort for those who fall through all the safety nets, from the severely disoriented, but harmless individuals, to those who pose a danger to themselves or others. From intake, through the criminal justice process, to sentencing, the Sheriff's Department is responsible for the care and custody of a diverse group of people, each battling very personal demons, and for the safety of these individuals, their fellow inmates and the larger community. Many of these people are arrested simply because their erratic behavior could only be safely contained by the police, thus beginning a journey through the criminal justice system often ill-suited to treat mental illness. When these individuals arrive at the jail, they must be quickly assessed for medical and psychiatric care, and for safe and appropriate confinement. Staff from both the Sheriff's and Public Health Departments work closely to triage these cases, and our human resources are strong.

As the state shifted responsibility to the counties for services for individuals with mental illness, adequate funding was slow to follow. As state institutions caring for individuals with severe mental illness gradually closed, adequate community care has been slow to materialize. As more individuals with mental illness inhabit the shadows and the streets, our jails become reluctant psychiatric wards. In 2012, 272 Jail Psychiatric Services (JPS) patients were arrested more than three times.

Here are few snapshots of recent arrestees: In February and March 2013, a 26 year old woman, new to JPS, was arrested for an unprovoked assault on a stranger. In court, she became highly agitated and verbally abusive and had to be removed. A 67 year old male, well known to JPS, entered custody covered in feces, lice and partially naked. A 37 year old male, well known to the criminal justice system, was arrested for murder charges. Since his release from jail five months prior, he has refused medication.

There is no question that people in this condition require quick and proper evaluation when they are delivered to jail intake, and adequate care and treatment while in custody. Often difficulties functioning in the outside world are exacerbated in confinement. Many people with severe mental illness are quite agitated when they arrive and can be abusive to staff.

While we recognize the problems, the solutions are elusive. We discuss better diagnosis of mental illness, more effective treatment, and we look for adequate funding. If we are to prevent the incarceration of people with mental illness and eliminate the use of jails as de facto housing of people who are unable to function on the street, we must continue to focus on finding viable alternatives.

This month we also acknowledge the continuing professional accomplishments of our fine staff. First, the American Red Cross will recognize Senior Deputy Anna Payne on September 26, 2013 at their annual "San Francisco County Heroes Breakfast" for her forty years of service to the people of San Francisco. Secondly, our canine team, Senior Deputy Sheriff O'Neill and his trusty partner "Kane", competing with 31 other teams from throughout California, took third place overall in the Canine Narcotics Detection phase.

Finally, on this somber anniversary of the 9/11 attack, the San Francisco Sheriff's Department Honor Guard proudly participated in a full military honors ceremony at the Golden Gate National Cemetery for Sergeant First Class (SFC) Joseph David Steinberg, born on September 7, 1919, in San Francisco, and died April 30, 1951, as a Prisoner of War at Camp Bean in North Korea, who came home after being listed as missing for 62 years. We remember and salute all those who dedicate their lives to protecting ours - at home and abroad.

S.F. Giants team up with Sheriff to Strike Out Violence

StrikeoutviolenceThe San Francisco Sheriff's Department and the San Francisco Giants hosted the 17th Annual Strike Out Violence Day at A T & T Park on September 8, 2013.

Pitcher Jeremy Affeldt represented the Giants in the emotional pre-game ceremony honoring survivors of violence and formerly abusive men who are now giving back to communities and the people they've harmed. The pre-game ceremony brought 20,000 people to their feet cheering an emotional video that featured Lupé Taylor, a graduate of SFSD's Survivor Empowerment Program, sharing her story of overcoming the traumatic effects of domestic and gang violence and Jimmy Espinoza, a formerly violent man who went through the RSVP program. 

The San Francisco Sheriff's Color Guard presented the American flag as the national anthem was sung, and survivor Lupé Taylor threw out the first pitch. The Giants also honored Reggie Daniels, an ex-offender who works in the RSVP pod, for his commitment to restorative justice.

The Resolve to Stop the Violence program is an ongoing effort of the Sheriff's Department to address the root causes of violence in our community. The core of this service is a pod of incarcerated individuals at County Jail # 5 of men who have been arrested on domestic violence and other battery charges. The program works on a model of restorative justice and involves community meetings, individual therapy, and exploration of consciousness through theater and movement. Every Wednesday, victims of violent crime come to speak in the pod so that offenders can better understand the impact of violence.

Strike Out Violence Day also includes the annual Jerseys Off Our Giants raffle to benefit La Casa de las Madres. More than 100 volunteers sold $1 raffle tickets throughout the ballpark for the chance to win an autographed Giants jersey. Since 2002, over $190,000 has been raised to benefit La Casa de las Madres, which offers support services for battered women and their children.

Sheriff Mirkarimi, his son Theo, and a cadre of sworn and non-sworn staff enjoyed the game from the upper deck.

Oh, and yes, though it took eleven innings, the Giants won the game 3-2!
SFSD inFocus:  Part Seven: Ward 7L & 7D - San Francisco General Hospital
Part Seven 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.
The Sheriff's Department maintains two secured wards at San Francisco General Hospital (SFGH). This unit is called SFGH Ward 7D/7L. The unit falls in the chain of command of County Jail #2 in the Custody Operations Division.

Ward 7D is used to house inmates who require medical care beyond that provided at our jail facilities. Ward 7L is used to house inmates with psychiatric conditions requiring a higher level of care. Inmates with mental illness are categorized as high-needs, high-risk populations. 

Deputy Sheriffs assigned to this unit work closely with clinicians to ensure the safety and security of the ward while maintaining an environment for the effective delivery of medical care. The unit has 21 assigned deputized staff including supervisors. This unit is a secure medical facility inside the county hospital.

The staff is knowledgeable in the booking and release of an inmate in Sheriff's custody directly into and from the hospital. This occurs when health care professionals state that due to an inmate's medical and / or psychiatric condition, they cannot be transported to our Booking and Release facility for processing. 

During the work week, deputies assigned to the hospital are responsible for the transportation of inmates to and from the SF county jails, including our jail in San Bruno, who have clinic appointments at the hospital. Clinic appointments may include dialysis, post-surgical follow up, gynecological  examinations and an array of other appointments. All activities that involve inmates requiring medical care beyond that provided at our jails are monitored by this unit at the hospital. 

The SFGH Ward 7D/7L unit is comprised of Deputy Sheriffs from different backgrounds and experiences. The various tasks that must be accomplished in a safe, secure and timely manner are completed due to the strong work ethic of the men and women in this unit. 
Sheriff's Star Recognized for Years of Service Helping Others

Anna Payne Senior Deputy Anna Payne will be recognized by the American Red Cross on September 26, 2013, at their annual "San Francisco County Heroes Breakfast" for her forty years of service to the people of San Francisco. Sr. Deputy Payne joined the San Francisco Sheriff's Department on July 17, 1973, and during her distinguished career, she has become well known for her selfless nature and giving heart.

About thirty years ago, through the San Francisco Deputy Sheriff's Association, Sr. Deputy Payne became the Committee Chairwoman for the then new Benevolent Committee. She realized that there was a need to do a toy drive during the holiday season. Every year starting in November she has continued to raise funds and mobilize deputies to help, purchase and wrap gifts for children that very likely would not be receiving anything from Santa. Due to her efforts, the children at U.C.S.F. Medical Center Pediatric Wing always receive a donation of a couple of Sheriff's vans full of toys. Extra toys are reserved for those hospitalized and critically ill children who celebrate a birthday during the year. Sr. Deputy Payne also works with a developmental school in the Tenderloin, where she works with preschool children  responding to their Santa wishes.

Since Sr. Deputy Anna Payne is preparing to hang up her shoes for retirement, she is working to pass the baton to other Sheriff's staff who will carry on this very important Sheriff's tradition. Shoes that will be hard to fill!

S.F. Sheriff's K-9 Places 3rd in Competition


On August 2, 2013, the Alameda Police Department, in conjunction with the San Leandro Police Department, hosted a canine competition.  San Francisco Senior Deputy Sheriff O'Neill and his trusty partner "Kane", took third place overall in the Canine Narcotics Detection phase.


Thirty-one canine teams participated in the training event, which included teams from throughout California as well as the United States Military. The competition consisted of timed building and vehicle searches.


After the competition, Senior Deputy O'Neill stated, "The competition was an excellent opportunity to train with other agencies and perform in unfamiliar environments under the pressure of time limits."

S.F. Sheriff's Deputies Pay Tribute to a Fallen Hero

After being listed as missing for sixty-two years, San Franciscan Sergeant First Class (SFC) Joseph David Steinberg finally returned home. SFC Steinberg was born on September 7, 1919, in San Francisco, California. SFC Steinberg died April 30, 1951, as a Prisoner of War at Camp Bean in North Korea.

Services were held on Thursday, August 1, 2013. The San Francisco Sheriff's Department Honor Guard humbly and with great pride participated in a full military honors ceremony at the Golden Gate National Cemetery. Other local public safety agencies also participated in honoring SFC Steinberg.

SFC Steinberg was a member of Battery C, 15th Field Artillery Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division. Officially listed as missing for sixty-two years, SFC Steinberg was returned and his remains identified through the use of DNA technology. SFC Steinberg is now buried with his brother, Charles Francis Steinberg. SFC Steinberg's two other brothers, Jack Willard Steinberg and William Theodore Riley, are also buried at the Golden Gate National Cemetery. All the Steinberg brothers are veterans of World War II and deserve our gratitude for their service to our country.
© 2013 San Francisco Sheriff's Department 
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