General

Sheriff Jewel Williams Wishes All a Happy, Safe, and Vigilant Holiday Season

Philadelphia is an aesthetically pleasing city throughout the year, and the holiday season between November and January makes it even more pleasing to the eyes.

Unfortunately, it is also the time of the year when the scam artists, flimflam opportunists, and generally dishonest people trying to get money illegally from honest folks also seem to come out in droves.

At the Office of the Sheriff of Philadelphia City and County, we regularly receive inquiries during the holidays from people who have been called by a creditor claiming the sheriff’s office has a warrant out for them and will come to arrest them if they don’t pay a delinquent debt.

These company’s and/or individuals usually go by official sounding names like Legal Recovery Services, which is an organization mentioned by a number of surrounding counties as being responsible for defrauding many individuals by using the “warrant” line to force you to give them money.

A common approach is to claim that someone has taken out an online loan in your name that has gone into default and you must pay up or face arrest from the sheriff.

First and foremost, if you hear that, you know it’s a lie.

The Office of the Sheriff of Philadelphia City and County does not telegraph the fact we have a warrant out for an individual, and we would never call up the individual to tell them we have a warrant. We would simply show up at the door.

Also, my office has no relationship whatsoever with creditors of any sort, especially when it comes to the enforcement of a non-court ordered debt.

Or, there are others who claim to have some special access to the sheriff’s office that allows them to get funds owed to an individual from a sheriff’s sale much faster than if the individual went through the process themselves . . . but you must pay them an often hefty upfront fee for the service.

I can assure you there is no “special access” or preferential treatment given any person making a claim on funds they feel are owed to them from a sheriff’s sale. The process is a simple one and generally not complicated if all the proper identification and paperwork is presented.

So, I encourage you to enjoy this holiday season, but also be wary of those who may be trying to become a Grinch to your good feelings by getting you to worry over something that is a lie, and pay to settle a problem that doesn’t even exist. 

Public Notice

To improve safety and efficiency of Sheriff's sales, starting with 2014 February Sheriff's Sales, the Sheriff will no longer accept cash at any mortgage foreclosure or tax sale.  Deposits on purchased properties must be paid by money order, certified bank checks, cashier's check or attorney's checks.  We will not accept personal checks.

In the event the buyer does not have the exact denomination in checks to make a deposit, the excess amount paid will be credited toward the balance due at settlement.

Any suggestions or comments regarding these regulations should be addressed to Richard Tyer of the Sheriff's Real Estate Department.

Sheriff Jewell Williams Offers a Personal Reflection on National Diabetes Awareness Month

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, and a great time to make us all more aware of this challenging disease that is closely connected to the things we eat.

Million of Americans—including me—now take on the daily routine of battling to keep our blood sugar at an acceptable level while trying to work, take care of family, make decisions and simply live a decent quality of life.

I revealed that I have diabetes earlier this month on Election Day during a radio program on WURD-AM.

The looks on the faces of several others also sitting at the interviewers table ranged from surprise, to nods of sympathy and stern looks of concern.

It is no secret that diabetes can be managed through proper medication, diet and exercise, but too often those who need such information are the ones who tend to get it least, or too late, and Latinos and African Americans bear the brunt of those afflicted with the disease

According to the American Diabetes Association, a little over 25 million Americans currently have the disease, but only 18.8 million have been diagnosed which means 7 million are walking around with a debilitating disease that has the potential to take their life.

My mother, father, and brother have already succumbed to diabetes so I personally know the importance of treating it as early as possible, and the emotional havoc it leaves behind when a loved one is taken by the disease.

This year’s Diabetes Awareness Month is themed “A Family Affair”, because the effects of diabetes are felt by family members, loved ones, and even co-workers who will have to cover for, or take over for someone who has been hospitalized because of complications from the disease.

For many, unfortunately, the loss of a working member of a household—especially if he or she is the only source of income—can be catastrophic because it starts a chain of  events that can lead to the mortgage not being paid and the home eventually lost to a sheriff’s sale.

In order to prevent such a scenario, you must pay close attention to your health and the health of those in your household. 

If you suspect you have diabetes (an estimated 79 million have Type-2 Diabetes, which is often referred to as pre-diabetes) you should see your doctor immediately and start a regimen of medication (if necessary) that also includes diet and exercise.

I would also strongly suggest you try to create a plan that will cover your mortgage should you become sick, and find as many resources as possible to provide information and referrals to help you.

A good place to start would be the American Diabetes Association (www.diabetes.org) which can steer you to local organizations that may be able to help your particular situation, as well as point you to other support services.

I also encourage you to not take this disease lightly and remember that it’s affects go way beyond one person, and can include everything from losing a home, to losing a family member.

Staff Inspector Washington participates in Cops and Kids of Color panel

Staff Inspector Paris Washington of the Office of the Philadelphia Sheriff was a participant in a panel on Cops and Kids of Color at the 120 Annual International Conference held in Philadelphia.

“The panel focused on the disproportionate number of minority youth negatively interacting with law enforcement officials that result in arrest and how to reduce it,” said Washington.

More than 13,000 attended the five-day Conference and Law Enforcement Education and Technology Exposition held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center including Police Chiefs, CEO’s, federal officials and law enforcement officials.

Staff Inspector Washington joined the Office of the Sheriff in 1992 and has since earned numerous certifications and awards and promotions.

The International Association of Chiefs of Police serves as the professional voice of law enforcement addressing cutting edge issues confronting law enforcement though advocacy, programs and research, as well as training and other professional services. IACP is a comprehensive professional organization that supports the law enforcement leaders of today and develops the leaders of tomorrow.   

Remembering Dr. Walter P. Lomax, Jr.: A Man of Vision and Purpose

In the more than 30 years I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Dr. Walter P. Lomax. Jr., I don’t recall ever seeing him without a smile and a readiness to shake your hand that was always sincere and warm.

Our pleasantries always included a hug and chat about family and mutual friends, as well as political issues and the major community concern of the moment.

His wife, Beverly, was almost always at his side, or someplace close, and I would make it a point to tip my hat (whether I had one on or not) in respect, my personal greeting for one of the most gracious people I’ve ever known.

His recent death has left a void in the leadership of Philadelphia that will never be filed with the type of honesty, perseverance, compassion, intelligence and dignity that fit Dr. Lomax like a well-tailored suit.

He was indeed a special man with the ability to make anyone he encountered feel special as well.

After purchasing WURD, a local talk radio station, and under the guidance of his daughter Sara, it too began to reflect the uniqueness of its owner by delving deep into community issues and concerns and becoming a true voice for the African American community.

I have spoken on the radio station countless times, most recently at a political gathering in West Oak Lane, and even though Dr. Lomax was not there, his presence was felt in the form of a remote set up from WURD. Like him, the discussions I had during that interview were engaging, progressive, and all about community.

Dr. Lomax die at the young age of 81.

My condolences to his family, and I thank them for sharing this great man, whose very full and unselfish life inspired many to be committed to service and improving the lives of others at every opportunity. 

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