July 26, 2019

PHILADELPHIA- Sheriff Jewell Williams has promoted Deputy Sheriff Jihad Ahmed to become Staff Inspector of Public Affairs and has named Assistant to the Sheriff Karen Smith the Director of Community Outreach.

Smith and Ahmed have long been fixtures at community events throughout Philadelphia, as public liaisons for the office promoting public safety and distributing literature about the functions of the Sheriff’s Office, such as sales of tax-delinquent and foreclosed real estate, serving fugitive and civil warrants, prisoner transportation and securing courthouses including City Hall, the Juanita Kidd Stout Center for Criminal Justice, Family Court of Philadelphia, Philadelphia Parking Authority Court, Philadelphia Traffic Court, and several other locations.

“We are stepping up outreach as a response to the epidemic of violent crime in our community,” said Sheriff Williams, who praised both Ahmed and Smith. “Taking more guns off the street, helping people make their guns safe by distributing gun locks, will lessen the amount of people getting hurt and also reduce the number of people getting arrested and going through our court system,” Sheriff Williams said.

The Sheriff reminds the public that free gun locks are available in the Sheriff’s Office at 100 S. Broad Street on the 5th Floor from 8:30 to 4 p.m. weekdays.

Representatives from the Sheriff’s Office will appear at a multitude of upcoming events, such as Philadelphia’s Public Safety Awareness Month National Night Out Kick-Off Rallies including: Monday, August 5, at Fairhill Square Park at (4th and Lehigh), Target Shopping Center (7400 Bustleton Avenue) and Malcolm X Park (5100 Pine Street); Tuesday, August 6, at the Masjidullah, Inc. (7401 Limekiln Pike) and Evans Recreation Center (53rd & Parkside) and an Asian-American Gun Safety Forum on Wednesday, August 7 at 701 Porter Street.

June 7, 2019

Update: Funeral arrangements for Deputy Sheriff Dante Austin have been released:

A viewing will be held from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday, June 15, 2019 at the Church of St. Luke & The Epiphany (330 S. 13th Street) where a Celebration of Life Service will follow at Noon.

Burial will take place at Forest Hills Cemetery in Huntingdon Valley, PA.

---------------------

We are saddened by the sudden loss of Deputy Sheriff Dante Austin.

“This is a tragedy for the Sheriff’s Office, Deputy Austin’s family and the local LGBTQ community,” said Sheriff Jewell Williams.

“Dante was a person who believed in and cared about everybody,” Sheriff Williams said. “He had the highest score on the Deputy Sheriff’s exam when he was hired in November 2013. He was our first openly gay deputy sheriff and we promoted him to become our first LGBTQ community liaison in May 2017. Dante was scheduled to be promoted to Sergeant on July 1, 2019.”

Deputy Austin, who was 27, previous served in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard.

We have coordinated with the Managing Director’s Office to provide grief counselors for our employees and out of respect for Deputy Austin, the Sheriff’s Office will close at noon today.

 

Congratulations to our newest Deputy Sheriff Officers, who were sworn-in Monday by Sheriff Jewell Williams.

This class of officers is named in honor of late Sheriff’s Office Inspector Michael Saia.

These six deputies are the first of nearly 50 new officers being hired by the Sheriff’s Office this year. The next group of deputies will be sworn-in in June.

Sheriff Williams is pictured along with the new deputies as well as Chief Inspector Jennifer Algarin-Barnes and Deputy Chief Paris Washington.

Sheriff Jewell Williams displayed 70 firearms seized this week from one household when a protection from abuse order was served upon an individual in Philadelphia.

“We have taken over 70 guns out of a household where a protection from abuse order was served. We are a 24/7 operation. We protect the community by taking these weapons off the street,” said Sheriff Jewell Williams.

“I want to thank the Sheriff and the Sheriff’s Office for being great allies in getting guns off the street from dangerous offenders in Philadelphia,” said Mike Gallagher, police liaison for Women Against Abuse.

Williams and Gallagher spoke alongside a display of firearms.

This massive haul from one individual represents a fraction of the weapons the Sheriff’s Office is responsible for securing.

Recently, Act. 79, Pennsylvania House Bill 2060 went into effect which changed the rules governing the surrender of firearms and other weapons by people served with Protection from Abuse orders. More weapons will now be surrendered to law enforcement, and the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office is the primary custodian of weapons surrendered or seized.

Inventoried weapons are secured by the Sheriff’s Office and may be returned to the owner following a court order authorizing the individual to retrieve their firearms.

SHERIFF’S OFFICE HELPS DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION COLLECT UNWANTED MEDICATIONS FOR NATIONAL TAKE-BACK EVENT SAT. APRIL 27.

Deputies from the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office will be on-hand at two prescription medication collection sites from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 27, 2019.

The officers will assist the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) National Takeback Initiative, which asks people to drop off expired, or unwanted prescription medications, no questions asked, at the District Office of Council President Darrell Clarke (2815 Ridge Avenue) and at the 18th Street Apothecary Pharmacy (113 S. 18th Street.).

Proper disposal helps to avoid misuse, abuse and overdoses of these drugs often stored in home medicine cabinets. They are a leading cause of accidental poisoning for children and may also be harmful for adults. Flushed or trashed medications can end up polluting our waters. Any medications collected will be safely disposed of or destroyed by the DEA.

Image result for dea national take back 2019

Original article by Jeff Gammage can be found here: https://www.philly.com/news/ice-immigration-immigrants-courts-arrests-sheriffs-department-20190405.html

Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement authorities have agreed to halt arrests of migrants inside Philadelphia courthouses, as part of an accord that defines how agents may enter and act in the halls of justice, according to the Sheriff’s Department.

The new procedure, to take effect Monday, requires plainclothes ICE agents to identify themselves to sheriff’s deputies at the front-door security stations, to reveal whether they are armed, and to state where in the building they intend to go. Those deputies will alert their supervisors, who could contact the judge in the courtroom to which the agent is headed, said Sheriff’s Deputy Chief Paris Washington.

ICE officials said they could not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The new guidelines come five days after The Inquirer reported on a March 21 incident in which an ICE agent, dressed in a Muhammad Ali T-shirt in a Criminal Justice Center courtroom, flashed a badge at a public defender and asked the lawyer about his client.

Defender John Lopez had noticed the man in Courtroom 906 and walked over to introduce himself. The man produced a photo of Lopez’s client.

“Is this person here?” the agent asked.

“No,” Lopez answered, which was true.

Washington said the agreement seeks to eliminate that kind of incident. Agents can conduct surveillance but should not approach attorneys or have physical contact with anyone, he said.

Defender Association attorneys Robin Forrest, left, and John Lopez, pictured outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia last month.

Sheriff’s deputies provide security for all courthouses, including the Stout Center for Criminal Justice, City Hall, Family Court, Traffic Court, and Philadelphia Parking Authority Court.

“I think it’s a fantastic real step forward,” said Temple University law professor Jennifer Lee, who has worked to limit ICE presence in courts. “If there’s an actual agreement, that’s important, because there’s some recognition by ICE that they don’t need to conduct these activities in courthouses.”

ICE agents still can make arrests immediately outside Philadelphia courthouses — a vexation to immigration advocates, who say that frightens away undocumented witnesses, victims, and defendants.

Despite the local agreement, national ICE policy continues to allow agents to take action inside courthouses. In those settings, they can move against specific, targeted immigrants: those who have criminal convictions, are gang members, pose national security or public-safety threats, have been ordered removed from the United States, or have reentered the country after deportation.

Attorney Brennan Gian-Grasso, who leads the Philadelphia chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, was doubtful of the new procedures having a positive impact.

“ICE has no place inside a Philadelphia courthouse,” he said. “I don’t know how much this does to change the climate. And I don’t know how much it represents a change in ICE’s intimidation of people who are trying to participate in civil society.”

Agents can still locate someone inside the courthouse, then follow that person outside to make an arrest, he noted.

The Sheriff’s Department has asked ICE to provide advance notice of planned actions immediately around the courthouse. ICE has arrested at least three people this year as they entered or left the Criminal Justice Center in Center City.

“We don’t want any friendly-fire incidents,” Washington said, citing concern inside and outside city courthouses that sheriff’s deputies might not realize ICE was making an arrest — only that an armed man seemed to be threatening someone.

A lone "Occupy ICE" demonstrator faces off against Philadelphia police on Broad Street last summer, his back to City Hall. Other protesters massed to the side.

Washington, who runs the operations division, said the agreement came out of a Thursday meeting between Sheriff’s Department, Homeland Security, and Philadelphia ICE officials.

The new guidelines come too late for Jesus Sical, 45, an undocumented Guatemalan immigrant who was arrested inside the CJC on March 29 as he tried to attend his preliminary hearing on domestic-assault charges, according to his attorney and other lawyers.

He now is being held by ICE at the Pike County Correctional Facility in Lords Valley, pending deportation.

Municipal Court Judge Karen Simmons, who was ready to hear Sical’s case, was upset that ICE short-circuited the justice system. Defense lawyers pointed out that while Sical has a 12-year-old drunken-driving conviction, on the day of his arrest he stood legally innocent of assault, with no court having ruled. ICE says it moved against Sical after Mayor Jim Kenney’s administration, as is its policy, refused the agency’s request to keep him in a city jail for pickup.

When Sical was arrested, he was not hiding or on the run. He was free on bail and preparing for his trial, accused of a vicious attack on his stepdaughter.

Simmons said she learned about Sical’s arrest only when his attorney phoned her chambers. “I don’t understand, nor do I believe it was appropriate, to not allow the person to come into the courtroom [and] handle his case,” the judge said.

She has told the Defender Association and the District Attorney’s Office that their attorneys are to alert her immediately if they notice ICE agents in her courtroom.

According to ICE, it’s safer for agents, offenders, and the public when arrests take place in courthouses, because everyone entering the building has been screened for weapons. And, officials say, courthouse arrests can be necessary in places that refuse to let agents enter their prisons and jails to take immigrants into custody.

ICE says it doesn’t know when or where Sical entered the United States.

On May 28, 2007, court records show, Sical was pulled over in the 7900 block of Bustleton Avenue by police officers, who charged him with drunken driving. His blood-alcohol content was 0.184 percent, far above the legal 0.08 definition. Sical was convicted in 2008 and sentenced to three to six days in jail, six months’ probation, and participation in drug-and-alcohol treatment programs.

That would not be his last time in trouble. Shortly before 2 a.m. on Jan. 30, 2019, police were called to a home in the 1800 block of Faunce Street in Rhawnhurst. They found Sical’s stepdaughter, Jennifer Dayana Garcia, with bruises on her neck, scratches on her face, and cuts and bruises on both hands.

She told police that Sical, angry that she had sent money to her mother in Guatemala, threatened her, “I could assault you in ways that your mother would never know. … I could grab you and have sex with you and no one would ever know.”

He fixed her in a headlock, then began strangling her, Garcia told police. She got free and started to scream, but Sical clamped his hands over her mouth, cutting off her breathing.

She broke loose, ran out of the house and called police, Garcia said.

Police charged Sical with assault, strangulation, and making terroristic threats. After ICE arrested him, the charges were withdrawn.

Nos entristece reconocer y lamentar el fallecimiento de dos miembros de la familia de la Oficina del Sheriff. Saludamos su compromiso con el más alto nivel de servicio y dedicación a sus deberes.

Sargento Michael Jesus, que prestó servicios en la Unidad de Garantías, ha sido un oficial del alguacil adjunto desde 1997. Michael alcanzó el rango de Sargento en 2016 y es un oficial de la ley de segunda generación; su padre, José Jesús también sirvió en la Unidad de Garantías del Sheriff antes que él.

La DSO Saberta Campbell se retiró recientemente de la oficina del Alguacil, y se desempeñó como diputada en el Centro de Justicia Penal Juanita Kidd Stout durante los últimos 23 años. Antes de su nombramiento como Oficial Adjunto del Alguacil, la Sra. Campbell se enorgullecía de desempeñarse como Oficial Correccional del Departamento de Prisiones de Filadelfia.