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San Francisco Sheriff's Department


San Francisco Sheriff's Department

City and County of San Francisco Sheriff's Department
Common name San Francisco Sheriff's Department
Abbreviation SFSD
Patch of the San Francisco Sheriff's Department
Seal of the San Francisco Sheriff's Department
Flag of the City and County of San Francisco
Agency overview
Formed 1850
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction* City and County of San Francisco in the state of California, U.S.
Legal jurisdiction Consolidated city-countyCity and county
General nature
  • Civilian agency
Operational structure
Sworn members 850
Sheriff responsible Ross Mirkarimi
Jails 8
* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.

The San Francisco Sheriff's Department (SFSD), officially the City and County of San Francisco Sheriff's Department, is the sheriff's department for the City and County of San Francisco. The department has 850 deputized personnel, and support staff.

The primary function of the SFSD is to operate the system of county jails where there is an average population of 2,200 inmates, and a number of individuals on supervised release programs.

The SFSD also provides security and law enforcement in the following locations in San Francisco:

  • the civil and criminal courts
  • City Hall
  • the Emergency Communications & Dispatch center
  • San Francisco General Hospital, Laguna Honda Hospital, and several public health clinics

The current sheriff is Ross Mirkarimi who was suspended for misconduct by Mayor Ed Lee,[1] but reinstated on October 9, 2012 by the Board of Supervisors.[2]

The SFSD is a separate organization from the San Francisco Police Department. However, SFSD deputies and SFPD officers have all attended a POST-mandated police academy, and are duly sworn California peace officers.


  • Divisions 1
  • Rank structure 2
  • County Jails 3
    • Intake & Release 3.1
    • Classification 3.2
    • Housing 3.3
  • Field Services 4
    • Sheriff's Patrol Unit 4.1
    • Courts Division 4.2
    • City Hall Security 4.3
    • Hall of Justice Security 4.4
    • Transportation Unit 4.5
    • Investigations Unit 4.6
    • Warrant Service Unit 4.7
    • Central Warrants Bureau 4.8
    • K-9 Unit 4.9
    • Civil Unit 4.10
    • Emergency Services Unit 4.11
    • Special Response Team 4.12
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


The department has four divisions:

Administration and Programs Division: Performs functions related to personnel, training, backgrounds, in-jail programs, charter school, community programs and Prisoner Legal Services.

Custody Division: Performs custody operations, hospital ward security, classification and I.D. processing.

Field Support and Services Division: Performs civil processes, court security, central warrants, institutional patrol, investigations unit, building security, transportation, K-9, and emergency response and special events.

Management Division: Performs functions related to the overall management of the department to include fiscal operations, information technology services, facilities maintenance, and peer support.

Rank structure

Title Insignia
Assistant Sheriff
Chief Deputy
Senior Deputy

County Jails

The 1934 San Bruno jail, which served the City and County for over 70 years, until its closure in 2006
The San Francisco Hall of Justice Complex. CJ#3 & #4 on 6th and 7th floors, respectively, and CJ#1 & #2 at 425 7th St., the rounded building to the rear.

San Francisco County operates eight jails, with approximately 55,000 people booked annually. Two of these jails are located in the Hall of Justice on Bryant Street. One of the jails is located in ward 7D/7L in San Francisco General Hospital. Two jails are located at the San Bruno Complex, located ten miles south of San Francisco.

The largest San Francisco jail complex is in an unincorporated part of San Mateo County between Pacifica and San Bruno.[3] The San Bruno complex is home to County Jail 5, a modern direct-supervision facility which was opened in 2006.

The new County Jail 5 replaced the 1934 San Bruno JaIl, which had been designated County Jail 3. Before its closure in 2006, the old San Bruno jail was the oldest operating county jail west of the Mississippi River. When opened in 1934, it replaced the outdated Ingleside jails, which dated from the late 1800s, and were located on the site of today's City College of San Francisco. The 1934 building was demolished in 2012. Just to the west of County Jail 5 is County Jail 6, which opened in 1989.

Prior to the new facility opening, the most modern San Francisco Jail was the one located near the Hall of Justice on Seventh Street. Opened in 1994, the complex is actually two jails. This main complex jail is a "direct supervision facility [that] has become a national model for program-oriented prisoner rehabilitation." The second, which acts as the main intake and release facility for the city, was praised by Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic Allan Temko as "a stunning victory for architectural freedom over bureaucratic stupidity." While in custody, prisoners are afforded the opportunity to attend various classes that can earn credit towards a high school diploma.[4]

Intake & Release

  • County Jail 1 (425 7th Street, near Hall of Justice, San Francisco)


  • County Jail 2 (425 7th Street, San Francisco)


  • County Jail 2 (425 7th Street, San Francisco)
  • County Jail 3 (Hall of Justice, 850 Bryant Street, 6th Floor, San Francisco)
  • County Jail 4 (Hall of Justice, 850 Bryant Street, 7th Floor, San Francisco)
  • County Jail 5 (1 Moreland Drive, San Bruno) (New state-of-the-art facility opened in 2006)
  • County Jail 6 (1 Moreland Drive, San Bruno)
  • County Jail 7 (Ward 7D/7L of San Francisco General Hospital)

Field Services

An SFSD Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor in October 2001.

Sheriff's Patrol Unit

The San Francisco Sheriff's Department provides patrol and law enforcement services to San Francisco General Hospital and Laguna Honda Hospital in an agreement with the Department of Public Health. In 2004 the San Francisco Sheriff's Department absorbed the personnel and police functions of the Institutional Police Department (IPD). The department fields a 60-member patrol force for the two hospitals, and several public health clinics throughout the city and county. This is a full service patrol unit that answers all calls for service within the Sheriff's Department's jurisdiction. The department is also the primary provider of law enforcement services to the Emergency Communications Dispatch Center.

Courts Division

The department provides security to the criminal and civil courts in the city and county. These deputies transport defendants to court, act as bailiffs, provide building security, and respond to emergency calls from the courts.

City Hall Security

Deputies in this unit provide security to San Francisco City Hall. City Hall houses San Francisco's governing body, including the mayor, the board of supervisors, and the Office of the Sheriff. Deputies are responsible for securing all entrances to the building, and providing emergency response to any incidents.

Hall of Justice Security

San Francisco's Hall of Justice houses many of the city and county's main offices, including the chief of police and the district attorney. In addition, the Hall of Justice is home to a district police station, the criminal courts, Central Warrants Bureau, the SFPD Inspector's Bureau, and two county jails. The deputies in this unit are responsible for the security of the building, the main public entrance, and responding to emergency calls in the building.

Transportation Unit

The deputies in this unit transport prisoners to and from court. They also transport prisoners between the various jails run by the department when prisoner housing is changed and they need to be transferred. This unit transfer inmates to varies prisons throughout California.

Investigations Unit

The San Francisco Sheriff's Department has deputy sheriffs assigned to investigate violent, narcotics and property crimes at county facilities. The investigation unit provides a complete investigation on any crime committed within the county. The investigative unit also handles internal investigations of misconduct.

Warrant Service Unit

These deputies detect and arrest people with outstanding warrants who are wanted by the city and County of San Francisco and other jurisdictions. They work in plain clothes and drive in unmarked vehicles and work in conjunction with SFPD Fugitive Recovery Enforcement Teams, San Francisco County Probation Officers, California State Parole Officers and other Peace Officers coming into San Francisco who are outside their jurisdiction.

Central Warrants Bureau

In 1998, the Sheriff's Department took control of the Central Warrants Bureau (CWB) from the police department. This unit maintains all San Francisco County felony, misdemeanor, and traffic warrants. The deputies arrest suspects with outstanding warrants, write citations, and verify warrants for arresting agencies. The unit also arrests and transports from other counties those persons with outstanding San Francisco warrants.

K-9 Unit

The department has four canine units to perform a variety of search duties for the areas under the Sheriff's control. Currently SFSD has two narcotics detecting dogs and two explosive/bomb detecting dogs.

Civil Unit

The department's Civil Unit carries out judgements of the San Francisco Civil Courts. The unit serves court orders, including restraining orders, property seizures, evictions, and civil bench warrants. The unit assists elderly, handicapped and indigent civil evictees by coordinating services with dozens of community assistance agencies throughout San Francisco. Since the program was initiated in 1980, more than 20,000 evictees and landlords have been assisted.

Emergency Services Unit

The San Francisco Sheriff's Department maintains a highly trained Emergency Services Unit (ESU). An ESU assignment is a concurrent assignment for deputy sheriffs that have qualified by passing a series of tests. (physical agility, firearms tests and an interview process) There are currently over 100 members of the ESU. The ESU performs a wide range of functions and is the San Francisco Sheriff's Department's main response unit for large special events such as protests, large city sponsored events, high-risk prisoner transport, large jail disturbances, or terrorist activity.

Special Response Team

The department also has a Special Response Team (SRT), who have been trained in special weapons and tactics. These deputies are selected from the ranks of the Emergency Services Unit after rigorous physical testing as well as showing a proficiency in firearms and problem solving while under stress. The SRT includes forward observers and snipers who have additional training in their specialty. This elite group trains for significant emergencies and events occurring in areas under the sheriff's control which are beyond the capacity of the Emergency Service Unit. Some of these duties include responding to active shooter situations, dealing with barricaded subjects, executing high risk warrants, completing high-risk transports and providing dignitary security.

See also


  1. ^ San Francisco Chronicle < Mayor says he'll suspend Mirkarimi
  2. ^ Knight, Heather and Coté, John (October 9, 2012) "Ross Mirkarimi to keep job, supes decide." San Francisco Chronicle. (Retrieved 10-9-2012.)
  3. ^
  4. ^

External links

  • San Francisco Sheriff's Department Official website
  • San Francisco Deputy Sheriffs' Association
  • San Francisco Assistant Sheriff
  • San Francisco Deputy Sheriffs
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