SAN FRANCISCO — Paul M. Miyamoto was officially sworn in Jan. 8 as the 37th sheriff of San Francisco, becoming the first Asian American elected to the office of sheriff in the state of California.
In his inaugural address, Miyamoto shared his father’s family story of resilience after being forcibly relocated to an internment camp during World War II. The Miyamotos lost everything but later “became the change they wanted to be,” he said.
His father, Phil, practiced law and later became an appellate judge for the state of California.
The family’s experiences informed Miyamoto’s decision to join the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department over 23 years ago. He has served at every rank in the department, up to assistant sheriff.
A native of San Francisco, Miyamoto is only the second sheriff in the department’s 169-year history to rise from the ranks and be elected sheriff.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra swore in Miyamoto, whose family, including wife LeeAnn and their five children, accompanied him at the podium.
In his inaugural speech, Miyamoto addressed the issues that face the department, including an increase in the number of people in jail who suffer from behavioral health issues. “This has challenged our infrastructure and our staff,” he said. “We share these challenges across all our city agencies and with our justice and public safety partners. We collaborate to build and nurture relationships and trust and to provide services to everyone.”
In response to the changing jail population, Miyamoto said that the Sheriff’s Department has created psychiatric sheltered living units, which provide consistent care and structure.
“Our behavioral health assistance teams are supporting people in jail collaborating and coordinating care and individual treatment plans for people housed in these units,” he said. “And it’s making a positive difference in their lives, creating new hope for their successful re-entry into the community.”
The Sheriff’s Department serves the people of San Francisco by administering the county jails, providing security for the Superior Court and other high-profile public buildings, and performing civil court orders. It employs more than 850 sworn staff and almost 200 non-sworn employees.