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Tuesday November 3, 2020 — California General Election
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County

City and County of San Francisco
Proposition D - Majority Approval Required

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Election Results

Passing

276,685 votes yes (66.9%)

136,896 votes no (33.1%)

Shall the City amend the Charter 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?

What is this proposal?

Pros & Cons — Unbiased explanation with arguments for and against

Information provided by League of Women Voters of San Francisco

The Question

Shall the City amend the Charter to create the Sheriff’s Department Oversight Board to advise and report findings and recommendations to the Sheriff and the Board of Supervisors regarding Sheriff’s Department operations, and to 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?

Note: This Pro/Con information is also available in Chinese and Spanish.

The Situation

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

 

The Sheriff’s Bureau of Internal Affairs investigates employee misconduct in the Sheriff’s Department. Findings and recommendations from the Bureau of Internal Affairs are submitted to the Sheriff who is responsible for determining any disciplinary action. 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. The Sheriff’s Department also has a policy that governs the use of force by its sworn employees.

 

Under state law, the Board of Supervisors may supervise the conduct of the Sheriff but not interfere with the Sheriff’s duties as an investigator and prosecutor. There is currently no City department, board or commission dedicated to the oversight of the Sheriff or Sheriff’s Department.

The Proposal

Proposition D is a Charter amendment that 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. 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, advice, and recommendations to the Sheriff and Board of Supervisors.

 

Subject to certain limitations, the OIG would have the power to investigate 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 Sheriff’s Department use of force policy; monitor sheriff’s operations; and refer cases to the District Attorney or the City Ethics Commission as appropriate.

 

The Sheriff’s Department 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.

 

Based on the OIG’s information and its own processes, the Oversight Board would make at least four reports per year to the Sheriff and the Board of Supervisors. The Oversight Board would be responsible for an annual report to the Sheriff and the Board of Supervisors about the activities of the OIG and the Oversight Board.

 

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.

 

Neither the Oversight Board nor the OIG would have the authority to hire, fire, or discipline Sheriff’s Department personnel, or set policy for the Sheriff’s Department.

Fiscal effect

Controller’s Statement: sfelections.sfgov.org/sites/default/files/Documents/candidates/2020Nov/Nov2020PropDControllerStatementUPDATED08312020.pdf

Supporters say

 Lawsuits against the Sheriff’s Department have cost the City millions in settlement and resources. Having the Office of Inspector General and Sheriff’s Department Oversight Board establishes transparency, oversight, and accountability for the Sheriff’s Department.

 This measure will establish true public oversight and transparency over the Sheriff’s department. It creates a mechanism for the public and those in custody to provide information about misconduct and use of force.

 The OIG would recommend a use of force policy and internal review process for the use of force and critical incidents for the Sheriff’s Department.

Opponents say

Creating more positions and boards adds yet more bureaucracy to the City, we should be using existing oversight mechanisms instead.

This measure would overlap functions already provided by the Sheriff’s Bureau of Internal Affairs, District Attorney, and the Department office of Police Accountability, with no guarantee that lawsuits will not be filed in the future.

The estimated annual cost for the Oversight Board and OIG, including new staff, office space, materials, and supplies is $2 million to $3 million, an increased strain on the City’s budget.

Details — Official information

YES vote means

A "YES" Vote Means: If you vote "yes," you want to amend the City Charter 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

NO vote means

A "NO" Vote Means: If you vote "no," you do not want to make these changes.

Summary

Ballot Simplification Committee

The Way It Is Now: The Sheriff is elected by San Francisco voters. In San Francisco, the Sheriff’s primary duties are managing and operating City jails, being responsible for people in custody, and preserving the peace.

The San Francisco Sheriff directs about 800 sworn employees. The Sheriff’s Bureau of Internal Affairs investigates employee misconduct in the Sheriff’s Department. 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. 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.

The Proposal: Proposition D is a Charter amendment that 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. 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 could 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 Office of Inspector General; and

• Seek input from the public and people in custody regarding the Sheriff’s Department operations and jail conditions.

Based on information from the OIG and its own processes, the Oversight Board would make at least four reports a year to the Sheriff and the Board of Supervisors. The Oversight Board would be responsible for an annual report to the Sheriff and the Board of Supervisors about the activities of the OIG and the Oversight Board.

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.

Financial effect

City Controller Ben Rosenfield

Should the proposed Charter amendment be approved by the voters, in my opinion, it would have a significant impact on the cost of government.

The proposed Charter amendment would create a new seven-member Sheriff’s Department Oversight Board (SDOB) and a new Sheriff’s Department Office of Inspector General (OIG), separate from the Sheriff’s Department. The SDOB would appoint an Inspector General and would evaluate the work of OIG. The OIG would receive, review and investigate complaints against the Sheriff’s Department, its employees and contractors, and other City employees serving persons in custody, and investigate in-custody deaths. The OIG would also recommend a use of force policy and internal review process for use of force and critical incidents for the Sheriff’s Department. The OIG would take over some investigative functions currently performed by the Whistleblower unit of the Controller’s Office.

The estimated annual cost for the SDOB, including staff and material costs for commissioners, board secretary and analytical staff is $400,000. The amendment specifies staffing for the OIG as follows: the Inspector General, one Attorney, and one Investigator per 100 sworn Sheriff’s Department staff. The estimated annual cost for the OIG, including 13 staff, office space and materials/supplies costs is $2 million to $2.5 million.

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against

More information

News (2)

Proposition D - November 3, 2020 — October 6, 2020 San Francisco Public Press
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Who supports or opposes this measure?

Yes on Proposition D

Organizations (5)

Elected & Appointed Officials (0)
No on Proposition D
Organizations (0)
Elected & Appointed Officials (0)

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