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San Francisco Measure D: Sheriff's Department Oversight

Deputies of the San Francisco Sheriff's Department in 2006

This is a 2-minute summary of what’s on the ballot. Click here to listen to them all.  


EDITOR'S NOTE: Since the story was originally published, San Francisco's Office of the Controllerincreased the estimated annual cost of creating the Inspector General's Office from $1.4-$1.8 million up to $2-$2.5 million.

Earlier this year, George Floyd’s killing while in police custody prompted greater focus on police oversight and accountability nationwide. Here in San Francisco, Measure D aims to investigate misconduct within the Sheriff’s Department. 

If it passes, San Francisco would create an independent Sheriff’s Department Oversight Board and an Office of Inspector General. The newly created board would appoint the Inspector General and review uses of force by the Sheriff’s Department, among other things. The sheriff must consider the board’s recommendations, but would not be required to make changes.

So, what’s the role of the Inspector General? Their duties would involve investigating deaths of people in custody and the conditions in which they’re held. The Inspector General will have a staff of investigators — one investigator for every 100 Sheriff’s Department employees to be exact. Neither the Inspector’s office nor the Oversight Board will include anyone who has previously worked in law enforcement. 

And what’s the total annual cost? It’d be about $400,000 to fund the Oversight Board and $2 to $2.5 million for the Inspector General’s Office. 

San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors unanimously backs Measure D, saying it will provide public transparency into investigations of misconduct and abuse. 

The opposing argument points out that the Sheriff’s Department already has an Internal Affairs Unit. The San Francisco Taxpayers Association opposes the measure’s additional cost.

So, if you want San Francisco to create an Oversight Board for the Sheriff’s Department vote yes. If not, vote no.

Joshua Sirotiak is an environment reporter for KALW in San Francisco. He's a working musician, father and self-proclaimed nerd who has previously produced audio journalism for NBC News and Chicago Public Media.