2017 ANNUAL REPORT

Jewell Williams, Sheriff

Established when Pennsylvania was a colony, the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office protects both

every citizen of Philadelphia.

The Office of the Sheriff is the enforcement arm of the Philadelphia Court system. Deputy

Sheriff’s transport and guard prisoners, enforce warrants, and secure our seven Court

buildings. The Sheriff does not work at the direction of the Mayor, City Council or civil

government, but rather at the direction of Courts of Law. As such, the Sheriff is a neutral part

of the justice system. Only by Court order can the Sheriff conduct sales of mortgage and tax

delinquent property, confiscate property such as weapons, and enforce writs such as protection

from domestic abuse orders. In this capacity, the Sheriff is Philadelphia’s largest collector of

delinquent city taxes and fees. As certified law enforcement officers, Deputy Sheriffs take on

special assignments on behalf of the Government and Courts of the City and County of

Philadelphia.

PROTECTING THE COURTS AND THE PUBLIC

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87, 030 prisoners transported and protected.

4,412 Warrants served and 5,128 arrests made.

City Hall being secured by Deputies.

Sheriff’s Bicycle Patrols Expanded to 15 Units.

96,880 sandwiches served to prisoners in Court lock up unit.

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The Sheriff is responsible for transporting and guarding prisoners outside of their assigned jail

or prison. In 2017, none of the 87,030 prisoners in the Sheriff’s custody escaped. The number

of prisoners assigned to the Sheriff dropped by 6,000 from the previous year because of a

decline in crime in Philadelphia and because the State now transports its prisoners to a single

site, instead of forcing the Sheriff to go to multiple sites across the State. In 2017 Sheriff’s

Deputies traveled throughout the country to bring 165 defendants back to Philadelphia.

The Philadelphia’ Sheriff’s Office remains one of America’s best operated security and prisoner

transport systems.

At the request of the City and Court System, the Sheriff completed the assumption and

training of the forty officer warrant unit. In 2017 5,128 arrests were made by Deputies

enforcing warrants. Of 10,205 warrants issued the Sheriff sought to serve 93%. In the year

criminal 5,128 arrests were made. All 582 court orders were served. Arrests for non-payment

of child support reached 1,072 and 108 arrests for were for domestic violence.

With the Administration and the Courts, the Sheriff is establishing stronger security measures

in City Hall. The thirty four (34) City Hall courtrooms, Council facilities and other city-county

offices will be protected by Sheriff’s Deputies.

To prevent the malicious use of cell phones in criminal court rooms

Sheriff’s personnel collect and return all cell phones from visitors to the Criminal Justice

Center. Since the program started in June, no cell phones have been reported missing.

During his first year in Office in 2012, the Sheriff created a three (3) unit bicycle squad to

patrol parameters of the courts and swiftly move Deputies between trouble spots. Because of

the success of these units, the number of bicycles patrols has increased to fifteen (15) bikes.

The Sheriff created a three (3) dog K9 unit to provide protection and additional specialized

detection services. The K9 units are also assigned to special events in the City.

SERVING THE TAXPAYER

___________________________________________________________________

$61.3 million in delinquent taxes and fees collected for the City in FY 17.

$15 million in escheat funds sent to the City.

19,919 properties put into Sheriff Sales in FY 17.

5935 properties were sold in FY17.

Five Sales now held each month

Time to obtain a deed after a Sale reduced from 120 to 21 days.

36 seminars and 177 community meetings

5,200 Free gun locks distributed

$1.2 million in new deed preparation revenue generated for the City

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The Sheriff conducts five monthly public auctions of properties for non-payment of taxes or

mortgages. Initiated by the City or the lender, Sheriff Sales are conducted by Court Order so

that the bidder, the lender and the debtor, are treated fairly.

In 2017 19,919 properties were brought to foreclosure or tax sales. This was 7,800 less than in

2016 because of tighter requirements on lenders seeking foreclosure and a decrease in the

number and value of tax delinquent properties.

In 2016 the Sheriff sold 5,935 properties, turning over $61.295 million in delinquent taxes and

fees to the City and its agencies. This is more than double the $27 million collected when the

Sheriff first took office.

Funds Collected and Paid to the City

FY2017: $61,295,487

FY2016: $61,053,683

FY2015: $64,988,767

FY2014: $43,161,103

FY2013: $28,414,467

Sheriff Sales are more than devices for collecting delinquent taxes and fees, because they

convert derelict properties into tax producing homes and businesses. A deed and possession

of a sold property must be done as quickly as possible. In 2013 it took up to one hundred and

twenty (120) days or more before a sold property was deeded over to its new owner.

In 2017 the average time a purchaser waited for a deed after final payment was twenty one

(21) days.

In addition foreclosure and tax sales return delinquent properties to the City’s tax rolls. In

2017 the Sheriff analyzed sales from 2016 and 2015 to determine if properties sold by the

Sheriff stayed current on their taxes. The study showed 73% of properties sold in the 2016

sample and 67% of properties sold in the 2015 sample were current on their 2017 real estate taxes.

Unclaimed funds are held by the Sheriff for eighteen months after which they are transferred

or escheated to the City. In FY 17, $15,025,680 of these escheated funds was sent to the City.

This was not done prior to Sheriff Williams taking office.

To relieve the taxpayer of the cost of paying private companies to prepare deeds, the Sheriff’s

staff now prepares deeds for properties sold at Sheriff Sales. This provides the City $1 million

in additional revenue.

On behalf of the City, the Sheriff charges fees for various services such as writ service or

weapons confiscation. Because these fees have not been adjusted in twenty years, City Council

increased them in 2016. The increased revenue will allow thirty five Deputies to be hired to

secure City Hall.

To make the Sheriff Sale procedure open and understandable to everyone, the Sheriff

conducts seminars on how to take part in Sheriff Sales. In 2017 twenty four English and 12

Spanish language seminars were held attracting 2,424 participants.

As part of his community outreach program, the Sheriff has participated in 177 community

meetings and events. Each month the Sheriff hosts a radio program on WURD FM to discuss

Sheriff Sales, court and community issues.

To promote gun safety and prevent accidental shootings by children, the Sheriff has

distributed 5,200 free gun locks.

TECHNOLOGY

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Management system upgraded.

217,000 unique visitors used the Sheriff’s website in 2017.

1 million pages of data were reviewed.

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Effectively scheduling and managing deputies, civilian employees, and 20,000 Sheriff Sale

properties requires specialized computer operations. In 2013 the Sheriff installed a new data

management (the Judicial Enforcement Writ Execution Legal Ledger). While computer systems

are often allowed to become obsolete, the Sheriff requires a continuous upgrade of servers,

switches and firewalls as well as improved disaster recovery protection. In 2017 the website

calculator was upgraded so citizens could calculate the cost of Sheriff services.

In 2017 the Sheriffs website was visited by 217,000 unique visitors looking for information

about the Sheriff’s operations. This is an increase of 22,000 visits from the previous year. The

most popular feature is property information including maps and photographs of each listing

and the status of properties from the sale to recording the deed.

Defendants Asset Recovery Team

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$2.3 million refunded to 127 people owed money in 2017.

Over $13.5 million refunded since the Sheriff Williams took office.

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Upon taking office in 2012, the Sheriff sought out former property owners who were owed

money from a sale. Quite often a winning bid exceeds the amount of debt on a property sold

as Sheriff Sale. In the past little or no effort was made to turn the surplus proceeds over to the

previous owner. The Sheriff established the Defendants Asset Recovery Team (D.A.R.T.) to find

those owed money. In 2017 D.A.R.T. returned $2.3 million, bringing the total refunded since

2012 to over $ 13.5 million.

January 11, 2018—In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, many Philadelphians stepped forward to provide aid to the victims of the devastated island of Puerto Rico. On Martin Luther King Day, January 15, 2018, a group of these local heroes will be honored with the Martin Luther King Community Service Award at Zion Baptist Church’s annual King Day Worship service in North Philadelphia.

Read more ...

This article was written in English. To translate, please visit Google Translate and select your language.

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Sheriff’s deputies fanned out across five neighborhoods in Philadelphia to hand out 1,000 free gun safety locks, while dispensing some advice on keeping children away from them.

At the corner of 52nd and Market Streets one passerby, Symir, repeated the words of Philadelphia Sheriff Jewell Williams, “If you have a gun, you need a lock.”

“People are leaving their guns in the houses and kids find them. They’re not locked up, and kids get shot,” said Symir.

He heard about the three-year-old girl down the street who recently shot herself after finding a loaded, unlocked gun belonging to her father.

“Yeah man, if they were locked up, the little girl couldn’t have shot herself. Facts, facts, they need to first speak to the child and let them know don’t touch it, and why they shouldn’t touch it,” Symir said.

Deputy Sheriff Derrick Murphy says their aim is to help adults secure and safely store their firearms.

“We give them a little class on how to use it, and secure their weapon,” said Murphy.

The sheriff’s department estimates one in three handguns are kept loaded and unlocked in homes, and most kids know where their parents keep guns.

Find the article here: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2017/12/15/gun-safety-locks-philly/

(This was written in English. For a full translation, visit http://translate.google.com and select your language.)

Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office Conducts Holiday Gunlock Giveaway

Deputies distribute safety locks to prevent children from being wounded and/or killed in accidental shootings involving unsecured firearms

WHAT:   Citywide Holiday Gunlock Giveaways

WHO:   Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office Deputies

WHEN:   December 15th 2017 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

WHERE:            Broad & Chestnut Streets

52nd & Market Streets

22nd Street & Lehigh Avenue

Bridge & Pratt Streets

Broad Street & Olney Avenue

24th Street & Oregon Avenue

Background

Sheriff’s deputies will fan out across the city to pass out gun safety locks to Philadelphia residents and gun safety pledge cards to children to make them aware of the danger of firearms in general, and specifically unsecured firearms.   The gunlocks are free. 

Guns kill nearly 1300 American children every year.  In West Philadelphia, a three-year old girl shot herself in November after finding a loaded, unlocked gun belonging to her father.  It was the third accidental shooting involving children in the previous three months, including a three year old boy who accidently shot his uncle after finding a gun in the family car in Center City, and an 11 year old boy shot himself in the face in South Philadelphia.  

A 2014 report from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute cites the US General Accounting Office estimate that 31% of accidental firearms deaths could be prevented if gun owners used two devices:  a gunlock and a loading indicator.

“We know that some of these tragic events could have been prevented by making sure these firearms are secured and stored safely,” said Philadelphia Sheriff Jewell Williams. “If you have a gun, you need a lock”.

The facts are: 

  •      1 in 3 homes with kids have guns
  •      In 2014, 2,549 children died by gunshot; 13.6 million were injured
  •      For children, 89% of unintentional shooting deaths occur in the home--most from playing with loaded guns in their parents absence
  •      1 in 3 handguns is kept loaded and unlocked and most kids know where their parents keep guns
  •      More than 75% of 1st and 2nd graders know where parents keep their guns and 36% admit they have handled the firearms. 
  •      80% of guns used in youth suicide attempts were kept in the homes of parents, relatives or friends. 

(Statistics from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Center for Injury Research and Prevention.  For full report, go to

https://injury.research.chop.edu/violence-prevention-initiative/types-violence-involving-youth/gun-violence/gun-violence-facts-and#.WifpC0yZPdQ )

The Sheriff’s Office, in conjunction with City Council President Darrell Clarke, have been giving away free gunlocks throughout 2016 and 2017.  No questions asked.  No ID required.  Philadelphia residents can pick up free gunlocks at the Sheriff’s Office any weekday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., 100 S. Broad Street on the 5th floor.

For more information call 215-686-3572 or visit www.phillysheriff.com.

2016 ANNUAL REPORT

The Office of the Sheriff is the enforcement agency of the Philadelphia Court system. The Sheriff transports and guards prisoners, enforces warrants, and secures seven Court buildings and everyone who uses those facilities. The Sheriff also conducts judicial sales of property as ordered by the Courts. In this capacity, the Sheriff is the largest collector of delinquent city taxes and fees. Court orders concerning the confiscation of weapons, protection from domestic abuse and orders concerning property and human rights are executed by the Sheriff‘s Deputies. Finally as fully certified law enforcement officers, Deputy Sheriffs take on special assignments on behalf of the City and County of Philadelphia.

PROTECTING THE COURTS AND THE PUBLIC

  • 93,750 prisoners transported and protected.
  • Warrant Unit Deputies now certified by the State.
  • 4,412 Warrants served and arrests made.
  • Plan to Secure City Hall
  • Sheriff’s Bicycle Patrols Expanded to 14 Units

The Sheriff is responsible for transporting and guarding prisoners outside of their assigned jail or prison. In 2016, none of 93,750 prisoners in the Sheriff’s custody escaped. The Philadelphia’ Sheriff’s Office remains one of America’s best operated security and prisoner transport systems.

In 2016, the Sheriff’s Office finished absorbing and training the forty (40) person Warrant Unit. At the request of the City and Court System, the Sheriff took over the unit in 2015, and a year later 4,412 arrests were made by Deputies and Warrant Officers enforcing warrants. Arrests for non-payment of child support reached 908 and 640 arrests for protection of abuse cases were made.

Under the Sheriff, warrant officers are now being certified by the State at Penn State University. The Sheriff intends for the Warrant Officers to be a potential pool of experienced applicants as Deputy Sheriff positions open up.

With the support of the Administration and the Courts, the Sheriff initiated stronger security measures in City Hall. Currently the thirty four (34) City Hall courtrooms, Council facilities and other city-county offices are protected by a small private guard service. City Hall and the people who use it require better protection.

Fully securing City Hall will require thirty five (35) additional Deputy Sheriffs. These positions were added to the current operating budget with a plan to pay for them without using tax money. The Sheriff proposed, and the Mayor and Council agreed to raise fees for Sheriff’s services. These fees have not been adjusted in over twenty years. A discussion of the status of this effort is continued below.

During his first year in Office in 2012, the Sheriff created a three (3) unit bicycle squad to patrol parameters of the courts and swiftly move Deputies between trouble spots. Because of the success of these units, the number of bicycles has increased to fourteen (14) bikes.

Also 2013 the Sheriff created a three (3) dog K9 unit to provide protection and additional specialized detection services. The K9 units are also successful and their operations have been extended to special events in the City.

The Sheriff’s Office was fully involved with the security surrounding Pope Francis’ visit to the City and the Democratic Convention. In addition to protecting City court facilities, Sheriff’s Deputies provided crowd control and arrestee transport.

Deputies were ordered to provide peace keeping patrols during two labor disputes during the past year. Because participants in such disputes are responsible for the cost of the Sheriff’s service, this activity generated $454,000 in additional revenue to the City.

In 2016 the Philadelphia Bar Association awarded the Sheriff’s Office the Hank Czajkowski Award for its professionalism and outstanding contribution to the administration of justice.

SERVING THE TAXPAYER

  • $64 million in delinquent taxes and fees collected for the City.
  • 27800 properties put in Sheriff Sales
  • 7026 properties sold
  • Five Sales now held each month
  • Time to obtain a deed after a Sale reduced from 120 to as little as 15 days.
  • 35 seminars and 177 community meetings
  • 2,500 Free gun locks distributed
  • $1.2 million in new deed preparation revenue generated for the City

The Sheriff conducts five monthly auctions of properties for non-payment of taxes or mortgages. Initiated by the City or the lender, Sheriff Sales are conducted by Court Order so that the bidder, the lender and the debtor, are fairly treated.

In 2016 the Sheriff sold 7,026 properties, returning $64 million in delinquent taxes and fees to the City and its agencies. This is an increase of $37 million since the Sheriff assumed office, when in 2012 only $27 million was collected and transferred to the City.

Sheriff Sales do more than collect delinquent taxes and fees for the City, since they convert unproductive properties into tax producing homes and businesses. The time required to sell a property and prepare a new deed is important to the buyer. In 2013 it took up to one hundred and twenty (120) days or more before a sold property was deeded over to its new owner.

In 2016 the average time a purchaser waited for a deed after final payment was fifteen (15) days.

To reduce the backlog of properties scheduled for delinquent and tax sale, the Sheriff has added an additional monthly tax delinquency sale, bringing the total to five a month.

To relieve burdening the taxpayer with the cost of preparing Sales, the Sheriff’s staff now prepares deeds of properties sold at Sheriffs Sales. Instead of paying a private title company to prepare the deeds, over $1 million in deed preparation costs is paid to the City.

On behalf of the City, the Sheriff charges fees for various services such as writ service or weapons confiscation. Because these fees have not been adjusted in twenty years, City Council increased them in 2016. The increased revenue will go toward hiring thirty five Deputies to secure City Hall. However as noted above, the City Law Department opposed the increase and refused to defend the City against any challenge to the increase.

The Sheriff is prepared to implement the new fees and secure City Hall as soon as the dispute with the Law Department is resolved.

To make the Sheriff’s Sale procedure open to everyone, the Sheriff conducted twenty four English and eleven Spanish language seminars on how to take part in Sheriff Sales.

As part of his community outreach program, the Sheriff has participated in 177 community meetings. Each month the Sheriff hosts a radio program on WURD FM to discuss court and community issues. The estimated audience is over 6,500.

To promote gun safety and prevent accidental shootings by children, the Sheriff has distributed 2,500 free gun locks.

TECHNOLOGY

  • Management system upgraded.
  • 195,000 access Sheriff’s website.

Effectively scheduling and managing three hundred (300) deputies, fortyeight civilian employees, and 26,000 Sheriff Sale properties requires specialized computer operations. In 2013 the Sheriff installed a new computer system (the Judicial Enforcement Writ Execution Legal Ledger) that has been enhanced each year. J.E.W.E.L.L may be the most productive computer system in Philadelphia government.

In 2016, to schedule the forty (40) person warrant unit, a special module was added to the system, to monitor and schedule the warrant officers as they work throughout the city. The new module tracked over 6,600 warrants in 2016.

While computer systems are often allowed to age in place, the Sheriff has required a continuous upgrade of servers, switches and firewalls as well as improved disaster recovery protection.

In 2016 the Sheriffs website was visited by 195,000 visitors looking for information about the Sheriff’s operations. The Sheriff’s website provides detailed information and costs about each property. The most popular feature is information including maps and photographs on each listing and the status of properties as they complete the sales process up to deed recording.

DEFENDANTS ASSET RECOVERY TEAM

  • $2.2 million refunded to people owed money in 2016.
  • Over $10 million refunded since the Sheriff’s effort began.

Upon taking office, the Sheriff sought out former property owners who were owed money from the sale. Quite often a winning bid exceeded the amount of debt on a property sold as Sheriff Sale. In the past no effort was made to turn the extra proceeds over to the previous owner. The Sheriff established the Defendants Asset Recovery Team (D.A.R.T.) to find those owed money. In 2016 D.A.R.T. returned $2.2 million, bringing the total refunded since 2012 to over $10 million.

This article was written in English. To translate, please visit http://translate.google.com.

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The sendoff is strong. The connection to the mission is even stronger.

For 21 days, four men from the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office will be in Puerto Rico helping with disaster relief.

Inspector Michael Bastone, Sergeant Joshua Perez, and Deputy Sheriff Officers Alessandro Carrasquillo and Enrique Marin each have ties to Puerto Rico.

“Words cannot explain the devastation,” Bastone said.

From Philadelphia, they watched helplessly as Hurricane Maria ravaged the island and have still been unable to reach some family members there.

After seeing that footage, Bastone, the office’s highest ranking Hispanic deputy, went directly to Sheriff Jewell Williams, who immediately gave the green light to send a team.

“These deputies’ input can save a life,” Williams said, “and that’s what this is about.”

With no place to stay and essential services like water and electricity scarce at best, Bastone says they have no idea what to expect.

“It’s definitely going to be a hardship for all of us,” he said. “It’s something we’ve never experienced. But we’re going out there and we’re going to do the best we can for our people.”

All four men have commercial driver’s licenses and were told they will be running essential supplies to hard hit, hard to reach locations.

“There will be days without bathing. There will be days without eating. We need to prepare with protein bars, with enough under clothes for the whole 21 days we’ll be out there deployed,” Bastone said. “And all this packing has to be in one bag, so you can only imagine how much we’re trying to get out there to survive.”

The group leaves on Sunday. Sergeant Joshua Perez is also making the trip to the city of Rio Piedras.

“It’s almost to the point where you have to question yourself whether or not you’re going into a safe environment, into a safe condition. But you have to look at the bigger picture. There are people who need our help. These are our people, these are American citizens that need us,” Perez said. “Medical supplies are very scarce. A lot of the barrios and a lot of the areas aren’t receiving the aid that they need.”

And though they’ll leave comfort behind, they hope to bring much healing and hope.

“Three weeks later we get to come home. But they still have to live there and deal with all of the devastation of the hurricane,” Perez said. “For me, it’s very heartfelt. I can’t even put into words how I feel. I just feel like it’s meant to be and I feel obligated to help my people as much as possible.”

Deputies Alessandro Carrasquillo and Enrique Marin are also making the trip.

http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2017/10/14/4-philly-sheriffs-deputies-heading-to-puerto-rico-for-hurricane-relief-effort