SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — In the latest effort by the City and County of San Francisco to crack down on SF’s out of control fentanyl crisis, San Francisco Sheriff Paul Miyamoto announced plans to deploy the SF Sheriff’s Emergency Services Unit (ESU). The six-month deployment would be aimed at tackling open-air drug dealing, specifically in areas where “open-air drug dealing and drug use runs rampant,” according to the sheriff.

“Fighting the fentanyl crisis and tackling flagrant drug use on our streets requires a head-on, tough love approach,” said Sheriff Paul Miyamoto. “The sad truth of drug addiction is that individuals rarely want to get help they need until they hit rock bottom, which for many involved in this crisis, is incarceration. Those suffering from drug addiction are slowly dying on our streets because they have not reason to get clean and drug dealers are profiting off their pain.”

Deputies assigned to the ESU have special training to handle situations requiring intervention for destructive or criminal behavior, the sheriff’s office said. The operation, which is set to launch at the end of June, will be not be aimed at arresting people suffering from substance use disorders, mental illness, or homelessness, but rather to “disrupt the cycle of self-harm,” the sheriff’s office stated.

“I would like to thank Sheriff Miyamoto for his leadership and commitment to providing additional resources to combat open-air drug markets and improve public safety,” said SF District Attorney Brooke Jenkins.

The six-month operation will have the following objectives:

  • Decrease open-air drug use by arresting dealers and compelling those suffering from addiction into programs and services
  • Increase feelings of public safety with an enhanced law enforcement presence in areas most impacted by the fentanyl epidemic

There are 130 deputies assigned to the ESU, according to the sheriff’s office. In this operation, ESU deputies will operate as a mobile unit intended to contribute to “the reduction of emergency response times across the City.” ESU deputies will also assist the San Francisco Police Department in arresting people engaged in criminal activity.