The year 2014 brought many positive changes to the office, including a trend of progress and technological advancements that have expanded our services and made the office as user-friendly as possible.
We made significant increases in not only the amount of writs satisfied, but the time it takes to have one processed is now down to 15 minutes—an extraordinary accomplishment thanks to our new computing system and advanced training.
Our Defendant Asset Recovery Team (D.A.R.T.) has returned close to $2 million to those owed money from property sold at a sheriff sale, and we even kicked off a radio show—“The Sheriff’s Roundup”—on WURD-AM that airs the first Saturday of every month at 1 p.m.
Our topics have ranged from informing consumers about holiday scams and illegal lockouts and evictions, to how to apply for funds that may be owed from the sheriff sale of a property.
Our presence in the community has increased to include not only workshops and seminars, but also issuing Sheriff Clean Block Certificates to Block Captains across the city in conjunction with the Philadelphia More Beautiful Committee (PMBC).
We also presented special Sheriff Clean Block Awards to the First, Second, and Third Place winners of PMBC’s annual Clean Block Contest.
In our continuing efforts to both serve and educate the public, we’ve created special brochures and handouts that explain everything from what to do when you are faced with an eviction from an apartment or residence that has been ordered sold at sheriff sale.
We also sponsored a series of stories on the changing urban landscape spurred by unprecedented amounts of gentrification that ran as a supplement in the Philadelphia Daily News. It included invaluable information on this office, as well as referrals on grants to maintain your home, modify a mortgage, and even monetary support to help you through a rough period and keep your mortgage payments current.
Towards the end of the year our Bike Unit, under the leadership of Lieutenant Michael Bastone, started a toy drive to benefit children spending their holidays being treated at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. (CHOP).
The caravan to CHOP included a Sheriff’s Van that normally transports prisoners back and forth from area prisons to court. It was literally filled from top to bottom, back to front, with donated toys.
It was a good way to end the year, and a perfect statement about the kind of commitment to community and duty in which this office has evolved.
I personally look forward to 2015 because we have set a solid foundation for the year by creating the positive momentum in 2014.