Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi
Ross Mirkarimi is the thirty-fifth Sheriff of the City and County of San Francisco and was elected to office in November 2011. Ross campaigned to expand the criminal justice reforms developed by his predecessor Sheriff Mike Hennessey during 32 years of progressive leadership. During his two terms on the Board of Supervisors, Ross championed public safety reforms, and worked closely with Sheriff Hennessey to modernize rehabilitation programming for violent offenders.
As Sheriff, Ross remains committed to enhancing public safety in the jails, and in the communities to which ex-offenders return by developing and delivering programs designed to tackle the high recidivism rates. Sheriff Mirkarimi believes in evidence-based reentry programming that addresses stubborn barriers like unemployment, lack of housing, chronic substance abuse, and acute mental illness. Plans are underway to develop better exit plans for inmates that infuse access to more vocational programming, transitional and permanent housing, as well as expanded drug treatment and mental health programs. Additionally, San Francisco is piloting the state’s first dedicated “Reentry Pod,” for intensive case management.
Sheriff Mirkarimi understands the role of poverty in the revolving door of recidivism and the need for a credible systemic response to the disproportionate incarceration of people of color. Seventy-five percent of the individuals in jail are awaiting trial and cannot afford bail, losing valuable connections to family, work, and community. This situation only exacerbates the challenge of successful reentry. Elected as District 5 Supervisor in 2004, and reelected in 2008, Ross served as Chair of the Public Safety Committee, as a member of the Budget and Finance Committee for seven years, and authored over 80 ordinances and policy directives, many specializing in public safety and economic inequality, including:
- San Francisco’s first Plan for State Prisoner Realignment (AB 109)
- The creation of San Francisco’s Reentry Council, the first California city to establish a government body of this kind
- The mandate for Community Policing and Foot Patrols
- San Francisco’s first bonding program to provide a guaranty for private sector employers who hire ex-offenders
- Stricter requirements for First Source hiring of people who re side in economically distressed neighborhoods by city contractors
- The largest infusion of staffing resources into the San Francisco's Adult Probation Department since its inception
- Increased funding (Proposition A) for the prevention of crime and domestic violence in distressed and non-English speaking communities
- Commissioning the City Controller to examine expanded sworn duties for deputy sheriffs
Before his election as Supervisor, Ross worked for the San Francisco District Attorney's Office for nine years, specializing in white collar and environmental crimes. He is a graduate of the San Francisco Police Academy and was class president. Ross holds an Advanced POST certificate and was certified in Advanced Forensics at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Georgia. Ross also holds an honorable discharge from the U.S. Naval Reserves.
Prior to his employment with San Francisco city government in late 1994, Ross worked as a policy and field analyst. Immediately following the first Persian Gulf War in 1991, Ross co-led the Harvard University International Study Team’s Gulf War assessment throughout Iraq and the Kurdish provinces. This comprehensive public health and environmental assessment of a war-torn civilian infrastructure was the largest of its kind in modern history and sanctioned by a number of nongovernmental organizations including the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. Their findings were published in periodicals throughout the world and peer review journals including the New England Journal of Medicine. He returned to Iraq for a follow up investigation in 1993.
Undersheriff Federico Rocha
Retired U.S. Marshal Federico Rocha began his public service career as a member of the U.S. Army where he served for 3 ½ years, including two tours of duty in Vietnam as an Infantry platoon leader. Among his awards were medals for Valor and the Purple Heart. In addition to being one of the youngest officers in the military at age 19, Rocha was also a member of the elite Airborne Rangers. Following his military service, Rocha moved to San Francisco where he resided and graduated from the University of San Francisco earning a BA and later a Master’s degree from Golden Gate University.
Rocha joined the Oakland Police Department (OPD) in 1981. During his tenure with the OPD, Rocha worked in patrol and special operations, SWAT, narcotics, criminal investigations, and as a jail watch commander. While employed by OPD, Rocha earned both the Medal of Merit and the Medal of Valor.
In 1995, Rocha was appointed by then U.S. Attorney Michael Yamaguchi as the Law Enforcement Coordination Manager for the United States Attorney’s Office. In this capacity, Rocha participated in the planning and coordination of various joint local, state and federal law enforcement initiatives addressing gang violence, major drug trafficking and child pornography. He was responsible for expanding traditional law enforcement strategies to include community-based collaborations designed to address youth gang violence through prevention and intervention. These local collaborative efforts consisted of educating and mentoring at-risk youth, primarily ages 9-12. These efforts included U.S. Department of Justice funding which enabled nearly 200 youth, every year, to attend a weeklong camp at no expense to the families of the selected youth. Over 1000 youth had the opportunity to participate in this experience with the cooperation and assistance of the California Air and Army National Guard; they acquired new life skills and learned about self-esteem and leadership. He earned the Director’s Award from then Attorney General Janet Reno for his work in these anti-gang, anti-drug efforts.
In 2003, Rocha was appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the U.S. Marshal for the Northern California District, a position he held until his retirement in 2010. As the U.S. Marshal, Rocha had responsibility for court security, prisoner custody and transport, assisting in the Witness Protection Program and conducting fugitive task force operations.
After retiring as U.S. Marshal in 2010, Rocha was recruited by Chief Ronald Davis of the East Palo Alto Police Department (EPAPD) and asked to design and implement Operation Ceasefire as part of the department’s anti-violence strategy. Shortly thereafter, he assumed command of the Investigations Division and later the Operations Division. In addition to Operation Ceasefire, as captain of EPAPD, Rocha helped design and implement a one of a kind “Public Health Strategy to Address Crime and Gun Violence in East Palo Alto”, funded by The California Endowment. He also helped re-establish the department’s Reentry Program Day Reporting Center that assists returning formerly incarcerated community members. During his tenure with the EPAPD, he also served as Interim Chief of Police, developed a targeted enforcement Special Duty Unit to address gang violence and established an outreach strategy, which increased the number of sworn women and minority officers.