Vicki Hennessy Sworn In as San Francisco's First Female Sheriff - NBC Bay Area
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Vicki Hennessy Sworn In as San Francisco's First Female Sheriff

Senator Dianne Feinstein administered the oath of office.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Vicki Hennessy, the 35th sheriff of San Francisco and the first woman to be elected to the position, was sworn into office Friday. Bob Redell reports. (Published Friday, Jan. 8, 2016)

    There's officially a new sheriff in town.

    Vicki Hennessy was sworn in as San Francisco's new sheriff Friday morning, the first time in the department's 164-year history a woman has raised her hand to take the oath of office.

    At about 9:45 a.m. Senator Dianne Feinstein, the first female mayor of San Francisco, administered the oath of office.

    "For me, as the first woman mayor, to swear in the first woman sheriff in the history of this city is…a very big thing," Feinstein said.

    Hennessy received a standing ovation from a room full of citizens, the mayor, supes, former mayors, the state attorney general and Public Defender Jeff Adachi, whose clients are usually at the other end of Hennessey's investigations.

    Adachi called Hennessy a no-nonsense woman who doesn’t come with a lot of drama to her position, a polite dig at outgoing Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, who has been at the center of plenty of political and legal firestorms.

    Hennessy, who's been with the department for nearly 40 years, the first female captain in the state, said she never thought she'd run for sheriff but did so at Feinstein's urging and ended up beating the incumbent Mirkarimi in an upset, with 61 percent of the vote.

    Mirkarimi was a controversial figure. Last year, his jail released an undocumented Mexican immigrant onto the streets instead of over to immigration agents. That immigrant was eventually charged in the shooting death of a woman on Pier 19.

    Also while in office, Mirkarimi pleaded guilty to one count of misdemeanor false imprisonment for an incident involving his wife. In 2012, Mayor Ed Lee appointed Hennessy to serve as interim sheriff after suspending Mirkarimi on official misconduct charges as a result of the allegations.

    Friday morning, Hennessy vowed to "restore leadership" and credibility to her department. "And make sure that we are balancing criminal justice and social justice values in a way that befits the people of San Francisco," she said.

    She was a member of the sheriff's department's executive management team for 25 years and has served in every division of the department, according to Hennessy's office.

    In 2008, she was appointed as director of the city's Department of Emergency Management, where she directed citywide emergency planning and 911 dispatch for police, fire and medical emergencies.

    Bay City News contributed information to this report.

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