Sheriff candidate Ross Mirkarimi shrugged off the landslide endorsement of an opponent Friday by the San Francisco Deputy Sheriffs’ Association, representing the department’s rank-and-file members who say they want an insider who knows the job.
Mirkarimi, a member of the Board of Supervisors, said receiving only two votes among the nearly 400 cast by the 800-member organization came as no surprise, and he noted the endorsement he received in May from current Sheriff Mike Hennessey, who has decided to step down after 32 years on the job.
“They’ve always been a little out of step with the sheriff,” said Mirkarimi, adding that Hennessey has also been known to get a cold shoulder from the deputies union. “And he’s created a template for sheriffs in the rest of the country.”
Sheriff’s Department Capt. Paul Miyamoto, one of the six candidates vying for the office, was the clear winner of the endorsement with 353 votes. Deputy Sheriff David Wong, a past president of union, received 11 votes.
Miyamoto said support from within the organization is key to success as sheriff.
“It matters, especially when you’re dealing with a public safety agency,” Miyamoto said. “It’s important to have motivated people working for you.”
Mirkarimi, a former investigator in the District Attorney’s Office and a graduate of the Police Academy, has worked with Hennessey in the past on programs aimed at reducing criminal recidivism rates. But Don Wilson, president of the Deputy Sheriffs’ Association, said even though Miyamoto is an “unknown” in the political arena, the race should be about “actual experience” and not just “popularity.”
Official results of the vote are expected to be released Monday.
Staff Writer Joshua Sabatini contributed to this report.