San Francisco sheriff addresses need for more deputies, not department cuts

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) —With the city of San Francisco facing more drastic budget cuts and the mayor asking for 10% spending cuts from city departments, San Francisco’s sheriff says he’s trying to hire more deputies.

Sheriff Paul Miyamoto went before the San Francisco Board of Supervisors on Tuesday and showed them why his department needs more help, not more cuts.

Sheriff Miyamoto addressed the San Francisco Board of Supervisors about the recent violence at the jails and the growing inmate population.

“Over the course of a year, we’ve seen a 36% increase,” said Sheriff Miyamoto.

In April, San Francisco’s main jail in its facility in San Bruno were put on lockdown while authorities investigated recent inmate attacks on deputies.

The sheriff says deputes suffered broken bones, eye injuries, and bite wounds.

MORE: 2 San Francisco Co. jails locked down due to series of inmate attacks on deputies and staff

Mayor London Breed is asking all city departments to consider a 10% spending cut for the next fiscal year.

But Sheriff Miyamoto says his department is already critically short-staffed with vacancies for 195 sworn deputies.

“We’ve made continuous efforts to hire staff,” said the Sheriff.

Some deputies say they are mentally and physically exhausted and that fights, drug use and assaults on staff have increased.

“This is why we are getting consistent lockdowns,” said Ken Lomba, president of the San Francisco Deputy Sheriff’s Association at the Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday.

Lomba went onto say, “We are short-staffed in our jails. We are short-staffed on our streets.”

MORE: SF sheriff deputy saves lives of overdose victims one Narcan at a time

He pointed out that the sheriff had an increase of 40% in incarcerated people and the sheriff’s department staffing had dropped 16.48% by March 2024.

According to statistics Lomba shared, in March 2024, the Sheriff’s Department had 619 deputies. He said that number is down by 175 deputies.

“I think the sheriff needs to prioritize increasing staffing because that’s what prevents the lockdowns. That’s what reduces and deters fights. Prisoner on prisoner fights. That’s what prevents our deputies from being attacked,” said Lomba during a zoom interview earlier in the day.

“I would agree with the sheriff’s department that they don’t necessarily need to provide the same level of reductions as the police department, most certainly the police department’s budget is over-bloated and there things we need to do around public safety that just don’t involve law enforcement,” said Shamann Walton, San Francisco Supervisor.

The mayor wasn’t available for comment on this Tuesday.

But her office says public safety remains a top priority in this next budget cycle and that more details will be shared when the budget is ready at the end of this month.

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