San Francisco celebrates California’s first Asian-American sheriff

On Friday night, there was a celebration for San Francisco's newly elected Sheriff, Paul Miyamoto.

The event was held here at the Italian Athletic Club in the North Beach. The sheriff received an enthusiastic welcome from supporters, hundreds came to congratulate Miyamoto.

They came to offer well wishes to a man who had served in the San Francisco Sheriff's Department for more than 23 years. He's now finally at the helm.

"I want to take this energy and bottle it up for the next four years," said Miyamoto as he addressed the crowd.  

The 52-year-old is making history as the first Asian American to be elected sheriff in California. His father is Japanese and his mother is Chinese.  

"I'm representative of a community that sometimes doesn't have a voice in leadership roles, not just the sheriff's office but also in any form of government," said Miyamoto.  

He said there is an obligation to not only lead, but to set a tone for model behavior in public service.

"Make sure the community trusts the job that we do, that there's accountability and transparency in the system," said Miyamoto. 

The San Francisco native said his goals include working with another native of the city, Mayor London Breed.

Both said they will use their knowledge of the city to make improvements. 

"There's something different about growing up in the city and experiencing the city as a kid. Living in different neighborhoods and walking those neighborhoods," said Breed. 

Breed was an early supporter of Miyamoto when he ran for office. The two are looking at ways to collaborate. 

"We want to keep more police officers on the streets when we make arrests. We want to work with him possibly on the transports so we can keep officers on the streets," said Mayor Breed.

Breed and Miyamoto said they would like to see a criminal justice campus built at or near the current Hall of Justice at 850 Bryant Street to house the offices of the district attorney, public defender and the sheriff's department.

Supporters said they were with Miyamoto when he lost a previous run for San Francisco Sheriff in 2011 and that Miyamoto is ideal for the job.

The sheriff describes his management style as 'open door and approachable.'

Miyamoto said he has a passion for civil service and public safety. 

"I hope to inspire others to follow my path and really give back to the community and commit themselves to helping others." 

— Paul Miyamoto, San Francisco sheriff.

As a joke during the celebration, Miyamoto was awarded a plaque with a training wheel.

His supporters said now that his long service in the department has culminated with him becoming sheriff, the training wheels are finally off.