SF Elects First Female Sheriff; She Vows To Work With Whole Justice System


San Francisco elected its first female sheriff on Tuesday. She is Vicki Hennessy, a city native who pledged to work with the whole criminal justice system, including the police, the district attorney's office and federal immigration officials, to build better relationships, the New York Times reports. Hennessy will succeed Ross Mirkarimi, whose four-year term was marked by personal scandals, confrontations with Mayor Edwin Lee, and the release of an illegal immigrant in his jail who had several felonies on his record. The man is Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, had been deported to Mexico five times, and after winning freedom in San Francisco, killed a tourist named Kathryn Steinle on a pier.

The issue prompted San Francisco to re-examine and reaffirm its commitment to being a sanctuary city, one that shields immigrants from deportation. Hennessy, who was backed by the mayor, said she would take a more inclusive approach in working with federal immigration officials, reviewing on a “case-by-case basis” whether to notify them when an unauthorized immigrant with a criminal record was due for release. She said she did not have a political agenda but wanted to bring a sense of calm back to the Sheriff's Department; many of Mirkarimi's deputies had campaigned for her and against him. Hennessy, 62, joined the Sheriff’s Department in 1975; her husband is a retired San Francisco police officer.

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