SAN FRANCISCO – The first Asian American sheriff of a large California county walks over to a closet inside his City Hall office to stow some equipment, then takes a seat behind a large desk. He extends his arms, fingers interlaced.
“So,” Sheriff Paul Miyamoto says casually as if to imply that he isn’t sure what all the fuss is about. “What would you like to know?”
On the one hand, as the son of a Japanese American father and a Chinese American mother and the husband of a Filipino American wife, Miyamoto is well aware his election represents is likely to prove inspirational to a new generation of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, a broad group often referred to by the acronym AAPI.
On the other, as a 23-year department veteran who was sworn in last month as San Francisco County’s 37th sheriff in 150 years, Miyamoto sees his rise through the ranks simply as a result of hard work in his beloved profession.
“Being the first sheriff of my heritage (in San Francisco County) is humbling, and it gives me a sense of responsibility to be a role model,” he says. “But what I’d really like is for us to never have any more firsts. I’d like us to be on an equal footing. Hopefully, I’m a step on that path.”