San Francisco Sheriff Paul Miyamoto was sworn into office Wednesday becoming California’s first Asian American elected to the post of sheriff.
Miyamoto, a San Francisco native, was sworn in by California State Attorney General Xavier Becerra with his wife and children by his side under the City Hall rotunda.
His inauguration ceremony was kicked off by drummers and lion dancers from the San Francisco Police Department.
During his inauguration speech, Miyamoto said his parents inspired him to become a civil servant.
“Growing up, my mother Ella was always a strong advocate supporting me and my brother when we were young. She was actively involved in our public school education. Even after we graduated, she volunteered for years at Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth and led our local parent teacher association.”
Miyamoto said his father’s side of the family came to San Francisco around the time of the 1906 earthquake and built a successful dry cleaning businesses.
But as World War II began, Miyamoto said his family was sent to an internment camp in Wyoming and lost everything.
“Did they give up? Of course not. In fact, my grandfather’s three brothers, Shig, Mitch and George, enlisted and proudly fought for the United States as part of the most decorated unit in U.S. military history, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.”
His father returned to The City and studied law, becoming an attorney and eventually an appellate judge for the state.
Miyamoto said he was inspired to civil service by his family’s resilience. He joined the sheriff’s department 23 years ago and has since worked his way up.
The newly sworn-in sheriff will have his plate full in the coming year, including a deadline set by Mayor London Breed to close the Hall of Justice county jail by July 2021.
Miyamoto will included in the conversation with other city officials about where to move inmates as The City prepares to close the seismically unsafe building.
In his speech, Miyamoto addressed the growing number of individuals incarcerated who are suffering from behavioral issues the department’s effort to set aside sheltered psychiatric living units.
He said there are also plans to roll out body-worn cameras across the department.
Miyamoto ran for sheriff in 2011 but lost to former Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi. In March last year, Sheriff Vicki Hennessy announced she would not seek re-election and Miyamoto ran uncontested in the November 2019 election.