SAN FRANCISCO — Undersheriff of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Paul Tanaka has endorsed Sheriff’s Capt. Paul Miyamoto for San Francisco sheriff.
If elected on Nov. 8, Miyamoto, who is of Japanese and Chinese descent, would be San Francisco’s first Asian American sheriff.
Miyamoto is running against city Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, former Undersheriff Chris Cunnie, and former Deputy Sheriff David Wong to succeed Sheriff Michael Hennessey, who is retiring after eight terms. The race between Miyamoto, Mirkarimi and Cunnie has been called too close to call.
Miyamoto emphasizes that he is the only candidate currently serving in law enforcement.
Tanaka is a 26-year veteran of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and mayor of Gardena. He was recently named second-in-command to Sheriff Lee Baca.
“Tanaka’s extensive background in law enforcement and politics makes him acutely perceptive in recognizing qualified candidates for sheriff,” Miyamoto’s campaign said in a statement.
“It is a great honor and very exciting to have the support of the undersheriff of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, Paul Tanaka,” said Miyamoto. “My plan as sheriff is to expand the outreach of the department to communities to help deal with the new challenges facing San Francisco, as well as observe and learn from the efforts of those across the state.”
Miyamoto has garnered several endorsements from the law enforcement community, including former San Francisco Chief of Police Tony Ribera, Deputy Sheriffs’ Association of Alameda County, Northern Alliance for Law Enforcement, Officers for Justice, Peace Officers Research Association of California, San Francisco Asian Peace Officers Association, San Francisco Deputy Sheriff’s Association, San Francisco Sheriff’s Managers and Supervisors Association, and San Mateo Deputy Sheriffs’ Association.
Current and former elected officials backing Miyamoto include Assembly Speaker Pro Tem Fiona Ma (D-San Francisco); San Francisco Supervisors Carmen Chu, Malia Cohen, Sean Elsbernd and Mark Farrell; former Supervisors Bevan Dufty, Tony Hall and Matt Gonzalez; and San Francisco Board of Education member Sandra Lee Fewer.
The San Francisco Chronicle has endorsed Cunnie, while Hennessey has endorsed Mirkarimi to be his successor.
For the first time, ranked-choice voting will be used for the mayor’s, sheriff’s and district attorney’s races. Voters can choose up to three candidates in order of preference, and many individuals and organizations are endorsing more than one candidate. The system is designed to eliminate the need for a runoff election.
During his 15 years with the Sheriff’s Department, Miyamoto has run San Francisco’s toughest maximum-security jail, served as commander of the Institutional Patrol Unit and Investigative Services Unit (Criminal and Internal Affairs), and served as commander of the Special Response Team.
Miyamoto says he has worked to keep San Francisco residents safe and decrease the recidivism rate by holding management roles in each of San Francisco’s six jails.
A graduate of Lowell High School and UC Davis and class president at the San Francisco Police Academy, he lives in San Francisco with his wife Leann and their five children.