Mayor Lee Suspends Ross Mirkarimi & Appoints Law Enforcement Veteran Vicki Hennessy

3/19/12—Mayor Edwin M. Lee today announced he is suspending Sheriff Mirkarimi following his guilty plea for false imprisonment and appointing veteran law enforcement official Vicki Hennessy as Sheriff.

“Ross Mirkarimi has now pled guilty to falsely imprisoning his wife. After careful review of the City Charter and the evidence before me, I am suspending and formally charging Ross Mirkarimi with official misconduct,” said Mayor Lee. “I take this action with every conviction that I am acting on a firm legal basis and doing what is in the best interest of the people of San Francisco. I am appointing law enforcement veteran Vicki Hennessy as the Sheriff. With her nearly 35 years of experience, I have no doubt that she will get the job done, lead the Sheriff’s Department and support the good work of our Sheriff’s staff and deputies.”

Hennessy served as the Executive Director of the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management and Chief Deputy in the Sheriff's Department. Hennessy joined the Sheriff’s Department in December 1975 and quickly rose through the ranks becoming the youngest captain in California law enforcement in 1983. She became Chief Deputy in 1997. She has worked in nearly every division of the Sheriff’s Department including Captain of the old San Bruno jail, City prison, the high security jail at the Hall of Justice and the intake jail at 425 7th Street. She was at various times in charge of Training, Administration, Field Services, and the Custody Division.

In 2006, Hennessy was the Deputy Director of the San Francisco Department of Emergency Services and Homeland Security where she developed a comprehensive Citywide strategic plan for preparing for, mitigating, responding to and recovering from disasters.

In 2008, Hennessy was named the Director of Emergency Management, where she brought a level of stability to the new department, oversaw the completion of the City’s state-of-the-art Emergency Operations Center, ensured the completion of the redesign and update of the 911 Emergency Call taking center, developed the first Combined Emergency Communications Operations Manual and decreased the DEM operating budget by $11 million. Hennessy retired in 2011. She is a native San Franciscan and a Lowell High School graduate. She currently lives in San Francisco with her husband, a retired San Francisco police officer. They have two grown children.

Mayor Lee initiated official misconduct proceedings against Mirkarimi by directing the City Attorney to prepare the appropriate documents and notify the Board of Supervisors and the Ethics Commission, suspending Mirkarimi as Sheriff as early as tomorrow. After five days, the Ethics Commission will begin a process to make a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors.