San Francisco Sheriff’s Department

Comprised of four divisions, only two (Custody Division and Field Support and Services Division) being in-field, the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department’s primary duty is maintaining the city’s eight detention facilities.

The primary headquarters of the SFSD is situated in San Francisco’s Civic Center, located at 400 McAllister Street. On top of serving as jury duty and the civil courts, the same building also houses San Francisco’s Supreme Court.

Not to be confused with the San Francisco Police Department, the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department is its own entity. Though sworn members of both agencies attend the same academy, the role of the Sheriff’s Department is primarily court security and administration of the jails.

The SFSD is very large for a civilian agency, with over 800 sworn members who have attended a twenty week-long academy training session on top of required orientation courses. Currently the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department provides security during San Franciscan court proceedings and maintains control over an average of 2200 inmates within the county jails.

Currently, the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department is headed by Sheriff Michael Hennessey, who holds the honor of being the longest-serving sheriff in the whole state of California. Sheriff Hennessey, whose reign dates back to 1979, is noted for his work in adopting progressive jail practices that provide a safer, more cost-effective structure for the city’s more than 22,000 annually booked prisoners.

With a list of inmates including Billie Holiday, Fatty Arbuckle, and famous serial killer Richard Ramierez and a list of notable sheriffs dating back to 1850, the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department has a rich and exciting history. Currently its imposed fines bring in around seven million dollars per year for San Francisco’s general fund, money that is used to maintain the city’s programs for the poor on top of upkeep for parks and roads.

Arrest Process

Taken in by an officer of the San Francisco Police Department, an inmate is first processed in one of the city’s five police stations before being handed over to the Sheriff’s department and shipped to one of its eight jails. This process, called booking, entails mug shots, fingerprinting, and interviews.

With more than 50,000 inmates booked every year, the 800 sworn members and 50 civil employees of the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department have a very busy job. At any given time, there are at least two thousand inmates under their supervision, and those who don’t post bail may have the same officer with them from their booking until their sentencing.

If you need assistance with locating someone who has been arrested in San Francisco, or need to know additional jail information, please call Tonya Page Bail Bonds at our toll-free number 1-877-861-3761 (1-877-861-3761). We are available 365-days a year, day or night.



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Updated: 02/24/2011