The San Francisco Sheriff has been getting a lot of press lately. Sadly, it isn’t for anything awesome. Unless you consider smacking your wife around in front of your 2 year old child to be awesome, which we don’t. Since Sheriff Ross has plead guilty to a misdemeanor, I guess the department’s new motto could be “Do the crime, avoid the time.”
But all this hoopla about the Sheriff has gotten me to wondering… “Why Exactly Do We Even Have a Sheriff?” I understand that plenty of San Franciscans have a uniform fetish, but seeing as we already have a police department, couldn’t we perhaps consolidate, or something? In that spirit, I visited the department’s website in an attempt to find out what they do, only to discover that according to the department’s website, our current sheriff is:
From which we can learn that when the Sheriff is preoccupied with defending himself on domestic abuse charges, no one in the department really feels like updating the department’s website. Which is unfortunate, if their webmaster had a sense of humor they could have used his booking photo…
So now that we’ve discovered that the sheriff’s deparment is too embarrassed to admit that Ross Mirkarimi is indeed the Sheriff, I’ve also discovered that the Sheriff’s department does actually have some responsibilities. They include:
Running the Jail(s): So, ok, here’s the thing. According to their website, SF has six jails that the Sheriff is responsible for. But jails #1, #2, #3, and #4 are all in the same building, so quite frankly it feels to me like someone’s trying to fluff their resume. Jail #5 and #6 are in San Bruno, but on the contact page jail #6 has been “closed until further notice” and shared the same address as jail #5 (although a different PO Box). So I’m sorry Sheriff Hennessey, er Sheriff Mirkarimi, but by my count you run two jails.
They guard stuff: Specifically, city hall and the courts.
Arresting Parolees: Why the police can’t just do this is beyond me…
Doing what they are told to do by the Civil Courts, for example: Receiving monies due the prevailing parties of civil law suits, then disbursing funds as directed by court order. Attaching, maintaining custody of and selling personal and real property. Collecting fees in advance for services performed by the Sheriff’s Department. Serving civil bench warrants, subpoenas and other court papers. Performing evictions and garnishments. Providing assistance to evictees.
While I’m excited to know that the Sheriff department really does do stuff, I still don’t understand why we can’t just merge it with the police department. Anyone out there care to explain?