Proposition D

San Francisco Sheriff Oversight

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Would amend the Charter to create the Sheriff's Department Oversight Board and create the Sheriff's Department Office of Inspector General to investigate complaints of non-criminal misconduct by employees and contractors of the Sheriff's Department and in-custody deaths, develop policy recommendations, and report quarterly its findings. Proposition D requires a simple majority (50% + 1) to pass.

Fiscal Impact: Estimated cost for the new seven-member Sheriff’s Department Oversight Board (SDOB) is $400,000 and the estimated annual cost for the new Sheriff’s Department Office of Inspector General (OIG) is $2 million to $2.5 million.

Next San Francisco County Measure: Proposition E

Details

Pro/Con
Pro: 

Proponents of Proposition D argue that sheriff oversight will establish true public transparency, oversight, and accountability of the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department. They argue that lawsuits against the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department have cost the city millions in settlements and having a Sheriff’s Department Oversight Board and an Inspector General will provide public transparency when investigating these incidences of misconduct, mistreatment, and abuse.

A YES vote on this measure means: The City Charter would be amended to create a Sheriff’s Department Office of Inspector General and a Sheriff’s Department Oversight Board that would make recommendations to the Sheriff and the Board of Supervisors about the operations of the Sheriff’s Department.

Con: 

Opponents of Proposition D argue that the Sheriff’s Department already has an Internal Affairs Unit to conduct administrative investigations and a Training Unit to train sworn personnel. They argue that the measure would add more administration, bureaucracy, and overhead, but no guarantee of meaningful oversight.

A NO vote on this measure means: The City Charter would not be amended to create a Sheriff’s Department Office of Inspector General and a Sheriff’s Department Oversight Board.

In Depth
Background

The Sheriff is elected by San Francisco voters, and directs about 800 sworn employees. The Sheriff’s primary duties are managing and operating City jails, being responsible for people in custody, and preserving the peace.

The Sheriff’s Bureau of Internal Affairs investigates employee misconduct in the Sheriff’s Department, and the District Attorney investigates and prosecutes criminal misconduct by the Sheriff and Sheriff’s Department employees. The City Ethics Commission investigates violations of ethics laws, and the Sheriff’s Department also has a policy that governs the use of force by its sworn employees. There is no City department, board, or commission dedicated to the oversight of the Sheriff or Sheriff’s Department.

Proposition D Proposal

Proposition D would create the Sheriff’s Department Office of Inspector General (OIG) and the Sheriff’s Department Oversight Board (Oversight Board). The OIG would be a City department independent of the Sheriff’s Department, and an Inspector General would head the OIG. The OIG would have at least one investigator for every 100 sworn employees of the Sheriff’s Department. The OIG would report to the Oversight Board and provide information and recommendations to the Sheriff.

  • Subject to certain limitations, the OIG would have the power to:
  • Investigate certain complaints regarding Sheriff’s Department employees and contractors;
  • Investigate in-custody deaths, unless that investigation would interfere with a criminal investigation;
  • Recommend the Sheriff take disciplinary action when the OIG determines an employee violated law or Sheriff’s Department policy;
  • Make recommendations regarding the Sheriff's Department use of force policy;
  • Monitor Sheriff’s Department operations; and
  • Refer cases to the District Attorney or the City Ethics Commission.

The Sheriff’s Bureau of Internal Affairs would maintain its ability to investigate in-custody deaths, employee misconduct, and violations of department policies. Criminal misconduct would still be referred to the District Attorney.

The Oversight Board would consist of seven members, four appointed by the Board of Supervisors and three appointed by the Mayor. One of the Board of Supervisors’ appointees must be a person with experience representing labor unions. Subject to certain limitations, the Oversight Board would have the power to:

  • Appoint, evaluate, renew, and remove the Inspector General;
  • Evaluate the performance of the OIG; and
  • Seek input from the public and people in custody regarding the Sheriff’s Department operations and jail conditions.

Subject to certain limitations, both the OIG and the Oversight Board would have the power to hold hearings and subpoena witnesses. Proposition D would not prohibit or limit the Sheriff from investigating the conduct of an employee or contractor or taking disciplinary or corrective action.

Source: Legal Text of Proposition D and League of Women Voters of San Francisco Nonpartisan Analysis of Proposition D

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