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S.F. Sheriff's Department reassigns hospital security staff

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Mike Koozmin/The S.F. Examiner
Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi

Three San Francisco sheriff's deputies and a dispatcher who all worked at San Francisco General Hospital have been reassigned without explanation only two days after Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi released a detailed timeline of his department's failed search for a missing patient who was later found dead.

“We are making reassignments to augment the staff …and providing additional personnel and transferring some out,” said Kathy Gorwood, a department spokeswoman.

The department's hospital unit oversaw the failed search for Lynne Spalding, 57, who went missing Sept. 21 and whose body was discovered Oct. 8 in a rarely used stairwell.

At one point during that time frame, the department's findings show that the security on duty were searching for a black woman. Spalding was white.

The names of the four reassigned individuals were not given, but their job titles were: one dispatcher, two senior deputies and one sergeant.

The dispatcher and one senior deputy will be reassigned to field operations, while the other senior deputy and sergeant are being transferred to custody.

The transfer letters were issued Thursday and effective for the dispatcher that day. For the two deputies the transfer will be effective Nov. 23. For the sheriff's sergeant it went into effect last week.

All four will be replaced and three additional staff will be assigned to the hospital to increase security, said Gorwood.

No indication was given that the transferred staff had anything to do with the botched search for Spalding, or whether they face any discipline.

But Gorwood did detail the discipline process in general.

Staff are first reassigned from their current duties and receive a notice of potential discipline pending investigation. The sworn staff member then has a right to a hearing in which they can defend themselves. The sheriff makes the final call on whether discipline is warranted and what it will be. Sworn employees finally have the right to appeal that decision to binding arbitration.

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