Office of the Sheriff’s Holiday Toy Drive Kicks Off Today For Patients at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Philadelphia, Dec. 3—The Philadelphia Sheriff’s Bicycle Patrol Unit has put together a Holiday Toy Drive that starts today and runs through December 19th, 2014. The unit is seeking donations of new, unwrapped, infant and/or adolescent gifts for those children still hospitalized over the holidays.

 Whether it’s needles for tests, painful therapy, or simply being in a space that is not home, these children struggle daily through different illnesses and challenges, but they can still take part in the holiday spirit through the generosity of others eager to share their blessings of health, family, and home.

 “This is the time of year that usually brings smiles to the faces of children, joy to their hearts and hope for their futures,” said Jewell Williams, Sheriff of Philadelphia City and County.

“The fact the men and women of the Bike Unit have volunteered their time to collect gifts for these children does not surprise me, and, indeed, reinforces the same values of compassion and duty that is a constant throughout this office,” said Sheriff Williams.  “I salute them for their thoughtfulness.”

Gifts can be dropped off at boxes near the entrance of the following locations during regular business hours:

  • Juanita Kidd Stout Court/Criminal Justice Center - 1301 Filbert Street (toy drop off: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.)
  • Philadelphia Family Court – 1501 Arch Street (toy drop off hours:  7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. M-F)
  • Traffic Court – 8th and Spring Garden Street (toy drop off hours:  8:30 a.m. – 7 p.m.)
  • Office of Philadelphia Sheriff – 100 S. Broad Street – 5th Floor (toy drop off hours: 8:30 – 3:30 p.m.)

Suggested gifts include infant sound machines, bath toys, mobiles, and other crib toys.  Adolescent items could include model and craft kits, jewelry sets, watches, art supplies, bath items and make-up and manicure sets.

Media Contact (not for publication):  Joseph P. Blake (215) 686-3572

Sheriff's Office Increases Monies Paid to the City by 40%

Philadelphia, July 14 -- Sheriff Jewell Williams announced today that for Fiscal Year 2014 the Sheriff’s Office increased its payment of delinquent taxes and fees to the City by 40-Percent over Fiscal Year 2013.

Delinquent taxes, water and gas bills are collected through monthly Mortgage Foreclosure and Tax Sales. In FY 2013 the office collected and turned over $27,500,000. In the fiscal year ending on June 30, 2014 the office collected and sent to the City of Philadelphia $45,160,648—an increase of $18.1 million.

The Sheriff attributed the added revenue in part to increases in the number of properties put up for sale. However, the majority of the increase was due to the efficiency of the new information technology system and the hiring of staff to conduct and process sales in a timely manner. After a year of development, this new computer system first became operational for the October 2013 auctions.

 “The principal mission of the Sheriff’s Office is to transport up to five hundred prisoners a day to and from Courts and to guard and protect everyone who uses the City’s nine Court facilities. However, as agents of the Court System we carry out duties directed by Court Order. One of the most complicated is holding Foreclosure and Tax Sales,” noted Sheriff Williams.

“There are some sales in which approximately 500 new properties are put up for auction”, he continued. “Over the course of a year about 7,500 new properties and liens are put up for sale and each property has to be processed, advertised, and posted. Once sold, the delinquencies owed to the City must be paid and a deed prepared for the new owner.”


Plaque Dedicated To Fallen Deputy Sheriff Who Died Trying To Stop A Robbery

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A Deputy Sheriff who died back in 1982 trying to stop two men from robbing a bar in West Philadelphia now has a plaque dedicated in his honor, laid in the sidewalk in front of the Criminal Justice Center.

It’s the 266th Hero Plaque Dedication, but organizer James Binns notes Roy Fortson, Jr. was the first Philadelphia Deputy Sheriff to be killed in the line-of-duty, since the office was founded in 1750.

“He could have taken a pass. The law enforcement officer in him came out and he did engage them, but was shot five times and killed.”

His family is grateful for the recognition, including Fortson’s widow, Edna.

“My heart is overwhelmed. I feel the love that you showed my husband. As a servant of god, he did what he was required to do that night, not knowing that it would be his last.”

Philadelphia Sheriff Jewell Williams says laying the plaque outside the Criminal Justice Center serves as a reminder of the challenges brave officers face, and that “we will never forget a fallen officer.”

Written by Steve Tawa for CBS News on June 1, 2014.

After 50 years, N. Phila. block captain is stepping down

For Helen Clowney, working with and serving the neighbors on her neatly kept, tree-lined block in North Philadelphia has been a labor of love - one that has endured a half-century.

Looking out on the cherry blossoms that brighten the 2200 block of North Woodstock Street, Clowney speaks with pride of the street where she has lived her entire life and served as a block captain for 50 years. She is retiring this spring.

"It's a family block. It's like family. We're very close," Clowney said Thursday.

"If somebody gets sick, everybody steps in and helps," she said. "If they need something, we try to help them get it. It's just a close-knit block."

Last week, Clowney was honored by her neighbors, family, and community leaders at her church, St. Martin de Porres. More than 100 people attended.

Clowney, a widow who doesn't like to discuss her age, said she knew every person living on the block of 70 homes between Susquehanna Avenue and Dauphin Street.

"I can tell you who lives in each house," Clowney said.

And her neighbors know her for her activism, her generosity, and the whistle she blows when calling for them to participate in street cleanups several times a year.

"Miss Helen is one of the icons of this block," said neighbor Paul Richards. "She's going to be sorely missed as our block captain."

When it's time to clean up the block, "she gets out that whistle," Richards said. "She goes from the top of the block, blowing that whistle, and she has a few of the kids knocking on doors."

When the work is done, she gives everyone a treat, Richards said, usually a pretzel and water ice.

He and others said Clowney is known for organizing the street's annual Memorial Day block party.

Another neighbor, Bernice Hines, also recalled Clowney blowing her whistle to call out neighbors for projects.

"She used the whistle to say, 'All you lazy birds, get out here. You're a part of this block. Show your commitment to it,' " Hines said.

Asked what she liked about being a block captain, Clowney said, "It just makes me feel good inside. When we have affairs in the block, we never have any trouble. Everybody is just family."

Clowney noted that she has a cocaptain, Willie Mae Clark, who has worked with her for many years. "She's a very good person, and I think she should be recognized, too," Clowney said.

Clowney, a graduate of Philadelphia High School for Girls who spent her life as a stay-at-home mother with one child, said she enjoyed walking children to school and back home again.

Among her other interests, she said, she enjoys spending time at the Martin Luther King Older Adult Center on Cecil B. Moore Avenue, where she leads a poetry class.

Clowney also likes to cut a few steps doing line dances. She said she enjoys doing the electric slide and the cha-cha slide. "The Baltimore - that's my favorite. They named that one after me," she quipped. "I taught my granddaughter, my son-in-law, and my daughter."

Her son-in-law, Tony Leonard, said Clowney goes to meetings with elected officials in the community and attends monthly meetings with police at the 22d District at 17th Street and Montgomery Avenue. She describes Philadelphia Sheriff Jewell Williams and City Council President Darrell L. Clarke, who grew up in the neighborhood, as "two of my kids."

She is pleased that a neighbor, Jannette Robinson, will take over as block captain. Clowney said the street also has three junior block captains, two boys and a girl.

Clowney said she was stepping down because "I thought it was time enough for someone else to step up to the plate and take my place after 50 years."

Hines, her neighbor, stood on her front steps and looked down proudly.

"You see this block and the way it looks. It looks this way because of her," Hines said. "She has worked hard to keep it intact."

Written by Vernon Clark for the Philadelphia Inquirer on May 6, 2014.

Operation Sunrise 2014

Last week Sheriff Jewell Williams lead Operation Sunrise, a city wide sweep which brought in over a dozen fugitives with outstanding warrants.

Sheriff Williams Honors Retiring Block Captain After 50 Years of Service

Action News Profiles Sheriff's At Risk Student Art Gallery

A display of artistic expression by at-risk youth

AT-RISK YOUTH have voices too, and InLiquid Art and Design has created an exhibition that reflects those voices.

One of them belongs to Harmony Ellerbe, 14, a seventh-grader at Avery D. Harrington School in West Philadelphia.

Harmony, 14, said her art class had inspired her to write "Violence," a poem about a girl who was raped as a child, who lost her father to gun violence, whose brother was jailed and whose mother was addicted to drugs.

One little girl in a life full of violence, watched her dad get shot, seen her brother go to jail. Living in hell.

And that's just the beginning.

"The poem was about something that was going on with my friend in her life," Harmony said. "I felt bad for her and I was thinking about her.

"In art class we talked about violence, and it just came to me."

She read "Violence" to classmates and other artists at a preview of the exhibition yesterday.

The Traveling Youth Art Exhibition - on display until April 30 at Family Court, on Vine Street near 18th - features art by more than 25 girls and boys, each portraying a vision of community and home.

"Art is a really necessary way of expressing yourself, both positively and negatively," said Rachel Zimmerman, executive director of InLiquid, a nonprofit organization on American Street near Master, North Philadelphia.

The exhibition contains work by students at Edison High School, the Philadelphia Mural Arts Guild, the Harrington School and a program of Moore College of Art. Each visual or poetic artist has experienced the criminal-justice system, spent time in detention or been affected by it.

"I do a lot of social-justice art with my students. It gives students a voice," said Leila Lindo, an art teacher at Harrington on, Baltimore Avenue near 53rd Street.

"I like them to do art about topics that are important to them, and a lot of the time the things that are important to them have to do with social justice and their rights."

Lindo said that Harmony's poem shows how art can be therapeutic. The school's display, "My Neighborhood, My Community and Me," features collages that show boys and girls in their communities.

"It gives students the opportunity to open up and lets them know that they don't have to suppress how they feel and show people their artistic abilities," Harmony said of the exhibition.

The Sheriff's Office is sponsoring the exhibition, to support innovative programs that provide second chances to young people, some of whom have been in detention. InLiquid is putting on the exhibition in partnership with the Juvenile Law Center.

"The vast majority of these young people are from neighborhoods with known gangs, high crime rates and urban blight; they need creative options - including art programs, education and job opportunities," Sheriff Jewell Williams said. "I'd rather see the youth packing pens, paintbrushes, paper, notebooks and computers than packing pistols, shotguns or gang tattoos."

The exhibition can be seen from 2 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. It will travel regionally after April.

Written by Ashley Kuhn for the Philadelphia Daily News on April 1, 2014.

Press Release

Contact:  Airika Brunson
Phone:  215-686-3572

Philadelphia juveniles paint their way to a second chance

At-risk student art exhibit opens at Family Court Division

Philadelphia, March 25—In partnership with INLIQUID Art and Design, the Office of the Sheriff of the City and County Of Philadelphia, invites the public to view the Traveling Youth Art Exhibition starting on Tuesday, April 1 through April 30, 2014 between the hours of 2pm and 5pm at the Philadelphia Family Division of Juvenile Court, 1801 Vine Street.  The Art Exhibition is an opportunity to celebrate and honor the talents, creativity and determination of local public school students who were once affected by the juvenile justice system—in some cases due to circumstances beyond their control.  Their artwork portrays their vision of their communities and homes.

The Office of the Sheriff is sponsoring the art exhibit to support innovative programs that provide second chances to youth, some of whom have been in detention.  In 2013, the Sheriff's Office delivered 7,177 juvenile inmates to court and sentencing hearings.

“The vast majority of these young people are from neighborhoods with known gang, high crime rates and urban blight; they need creative options–including art programs, education and job opportunities,” said Sheriff Jewell Williams.  “I'd rather see the youth packing pens, paint brushes, paper, notebooks and computers than packing pistols, shot guns, or gang tattoos.”

"I would like to see more of these art programs throughout the city, especially if they result in fewer juveniles visiting my court house," says Judge Kevin Dougherty, Administrative Judge of the Family Division of Juvenile Court.  “Since 2009, the number of juvenile arrests have been decreased by nearly 3,000, we want to continue that trend.” 

The Traveling Youth Art Exhibit collectioncontains works fromstudents at Edison High School, The Philadelphia Mural Arts Guild, Harrington Elementary School, and Moore College of Arts Learning through Photography Program.  More than 30 pieces are on exhibit, representing students from all grade levels.The students were chosen from arts education programs; each has had experience in the criminal justice system or spent time in detention.

These youth artists were involved in art-making and engaged in creative outlets through their schools or through community organizations that prioritized access to the arts. The Traveling Art Show proves that all children and youth in Philadelphia need and deserve to have access to these same kinds of programs and opportunities.  The artists from the Mural Arts Guild program are former dropouts who have returned to earn their high school diplomas.

The exhibit is one of INLIQUID’s Juvenile In Justice programs which include a Youth Ambassador Program and the first free juvenile record expungement clinic in Philadelphia.  The clinic is a partnership with Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity (PLSE).  The Youth Art Show is traveling regionally throughout 2014.  

“Arts education plays an essential role in providing young people with tools to understand the world and to express themselves,” according to Rachael Zimmerman, President of INLIQUID. “By having them address issues related to both personal hardships and the justice system through art, we are able to learn from them and gain crucial insights from the perspectives of youth in our community, allowing us to better engage them and provide support.”

The Exhibit opens to the public on Tuesday, April 1, 2014 and runs thru April 30, 2014, 2:00 pm-5:00 pm Monday thru Friday.

About the Office of the Philadelphia Sheriff

The Office of the Sheriff, City and County of Philadelphia is committed to serving and protecting the lives, property and rights of all within a framework of high ethical standards and professional conduct at all time.  The Office is responsible to provide safety to all that enter Philadelphia courtrooms including, judges, juries, defendants, witnesses, courtroom personnel and the public.  It is also responsible to manage all First Judicial Court ordered foreclosures of property - that includes mortgage and tax sales, in an ethical, honest, transparent and respectful manner while offering dignity to all involved in the procedure.


InLiquid is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to creating opportunities and exposure for visual artists while serving as a free, online public hub for arts information in the Philadelphia area. By providing the public with immediate access to view the portfolios and credentials of over 280 artists and designers via the internet; through meaningful partnerships with other cultural organizations; through community-based activities and exhibitions; and through an extensive online body of timely art information, InLiquid brings to light the richness of our region’s art activity, broadens audiences, and heightens appreciation for all forms of visual culture.

Oficina del Alguacil en Filadelfia esta en "necesidad grave" para mano de obra adicional

Tribunales nuevos que integran delincuencia juvenil del Primer Distrito Judicial y los casos domesticos que abrirán sus puertas el próximo Junio.

Pero en un presupuesto audiencia hoy ante el Concejo Municipal, el Alguacil Jewell Williams dijo que no tiene los recursos humanos de personal para el edificio - o incluso para cumplir adecuadamente los derechos existentes de su oficina.

Es por eso que él está pidiendo $ 4,1 millones en fondos adicionales para contratar a 100 diputados adicionales, junto con varios miembros del personal de apoyo.

"Si tenemos que desplegar 40 personas a ese edificio, no será suficiente para asegurar que la construcción de la forma en que debe ser", dijo Williams.

"Lo podemos hacer si tenemos que hacerlo, pero va a ser un riesgo. Sólo espero que la víctima de que el riesgo no es un ciudadano de cumplir con su deber cívico o alguien con lo que su nieto a visitar a un padre que tiene un problema en la cancha ".

Dijo que la Oficina del Sheriff ha llegado a un "punto crítico" y está en "una urgente necesidad" de mano de obra adicional.

"Quiero decir que en el expediente si no se contrata a los diputados adicionales, se le abre un tribunal próximo mes de junio con profesionales entrenados", dijo.

Williams señaló que los incidentes más violentos del tribunal - como el reciente tiroteo en New Castle, Delaware - han tenido lugar en los tribunales nacionales, a menudo en relación con los casos de las visitas o la manutención de los hijos.

Esos son los mismos cortes que se encuentran en Philadelphia actualmente integrada por empresas de seguridad privada.

"Tenemos algunos cortes en la línea del frente está el personal de seguridad, no los agentes del alguacil capacitados que van a la escuela en busca de ciertos tipos de armas, ciertos tipos de armas que dispersan proyectiles. Estamos entrenados para eso ".

Williams dijo que los trabajadores de seguridad privada no están sujetos a los mismos programas educativos estandarizados y sesiones de reciclaje como agentes del alguacil.

"No lo recomiendo a la gente que no tienen la capacitación sobre cómo reconocer una bomba - No me gustaría poner a las personas en la corte", dijo.

"Porque si usted no tiene el entrenamiento, usted puede costar la vida de alguien."

Él dijo que su personal "son más entrenado que te puedas imaginar", hasta el punto de que "no podía imaginar pagar a alguien $ 8 la hora de una empresa de seguridad" para hacer el mismo trabajo.

Viaja a entrenar?

El proceso de formación de ayudantes del sheriff es otro tema Williams levantó - el único programa autorizado por el estado se ofrece actualmente a través de la Universidad de Penn State en State College, un viaje de dos a tres horas para la mayoría de Filadelfia.

"Uno de los mayores problemas con tener que es cuando el Sheriff invita a alguien a unirse a la Oficina del Sheriff y el Sheriff les informa que tienen que pasar por 20 semanas para Penn State, muchos declive porque significa 20 semanas lejos de sus familias", dijo.

Dijo que está abogando por un cambio en las leyes, sino que requeriría la acción del Estado.

"Es muy difícil a causa de la estructura de poder republicano en Harrisburg pero estamos trabajando muy duro para ver si podemos tener que la legislación modificada", dijo.

Dire Straits

Williams dijo que también necesita más equipo de la Oficina del Sheriff.

"Tenemos diputados que tienen chalecos antibalas y el reloj no se detiene, se terminará", dijo.

"Cuando usted usa chalecos durante un cierto período de tiempo, el material Kevlar o prueba de balas en el chaleco se debilita por su cuerpo sudor. No han cambiado los chalecos en más de cinco años, por lo que es otro incidente que ocurra. "

Dijo que también le gustaría tener el personal para poder confiscar todos los teléfonos móviles y las cámaras de cada juzgado y devolverlos cuando dejan los visitantes.

"Si tuviera la mano de obra, yo recoger todas las cámaras y cada teléfono que viene dentro de ese palacio de justicia", dijo.

"Pero tengo que elegir entre la protección de la amenaza inmediata o la amenaza de que pueda ocurrir más adelante y tengo que usarla para proteger a los jueces en ese tribunal."

"Por otra parte", añadió, "Esa foto va a otro lugar. Es por eso que necesitamos diputados adicionales ".

Retrasos judiciales

Algunos miembros del Consejo criticaron que los tribunales de Filadelfia no pueden simplemente ser ejecutados de manera eficiente lo suficiente como para utilizar mejor los servicios de Williams.

Williams dijo que los prisioneros son escoltados a la corte una media de cinco veces antes de que realmente ven un juez debido a los retrasos en los procedimientos.

Dijo que la estancia hacia y desde las cárceles por sí sola también es mucho tiempo.

"Hay un retardo de unir a las personas en la mañana en el 95", dijo.

"Si tuviéramos un carril de la carretera dedicada, que podríamos llevar a la gente más rápido hasta el Centro de Justicia Penal y, asimismo, que vuelvan rápidamente a la cárcel por la noche."

Dijo que el sistema judicial está obstruido - y el retraso es sólo va a continuar.

"El problema es que los tribunales están abrumados", dijo.

"Estamos recibiendo más presos todos los días. Los tribunales de menores [son] descolgado. Hay un número creciente de jóvenes siendo arrestados y cuando mira el lado adulto, tenemos más casos de varios demandados que requieren más diputados en el tribunal ".


Williams dijo que la oficina del alguacil a menudo se deja fuera del debate público sobre la seguridad pública, pero juega un papel clave en la protección de jueces, testigos y personal de los tribunales, así como asistir a otras agencias del orden público en sus funciones.

Relató que la Policía de Filadelfia tuvo que solicitar la ayuda de su oficina durante "Flash mob" incidente de la semana pasada en el 15 y de la castaña.

"Somos una parte integral de la aplicación de la ley, pero una gran parte del tiempo tenemos minimizado porque no tenemos la mano de obra que nos merecemos", dijo.

"Permítanme decir que una vez más - que merecen tener más diputados para proteger al público. Gracias a Dios no hemos tenido ningún incidente importante en nuestros tribunales, pero estamos estirada muy fina ".

Dijo que a la luz de las recientes tragedias, es el momento de "prepararse para lo desconocido."

"No puedo decir lo suficiente", dijo.

"La Oficina del Sheriff está en la necesidad desesperada de los diputados. Dios no lo quiera, si tuvimos un incidente grave, no podríamos ayudar a todas las personas que nos quieren ayudar. Y a menos que conseguir esos cuerpos adicionales - Tengo que poner esto en aviso público - que sería un incidente muy desastroso si no tenemos los cuerpos y el personal capacitado ".

Pero en cuanto a elevar las tasas judiciales que pagar por su aumento de personal propuesta, Williams dijo que no es una cosa que está dispuesto a luchar.

"Les puedo decir como un disidente político - no se habla honorarios al Ayuntamiento", dijo. "Voy a ser de apoyo, pero no voy a hacer las recomendaciones."

Escrito por Alex Wigglesworth para el Metro el 17 de abril de 2013.

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