Last week I had the pleasure of visiting the John F. Hartranft Elementary School to sponsor a Read-A-Thon with Kindergarten to 3rdgraders as part of the Right Books Campaign for the Philadelphia School System.

I was joined by several Deputy Sheriffs and non-uniformed employees who believe as I do that reading is one of the most important literacy tools in our arsenal. Protecting our children and educating them are two of their basic and deserved rights.

Reading not only allows our young people to compete in the classroom and years beyond but can help them explore worlds unknown. Through books they can discover fantasy, experience travel, and insights about the people that have made history in the worlds of science, space exploration, sports and music.

The three R’s was the mantra when I was growing up. I remember we had lots of books to select from. Today too many of our classrooms and schools have no libraries or books which is what brought us to Hartranft School.

We want to see a library in each K thru 3 grade classroom in Philly schools with properly trained comprehensive literacy trained teachers to make sure our kids get that boost when they need it most. And I encourage every parent, grandparent, older sister or brother, caretaker or special person to pick up a book and sit and share the magic of words with your loved little ones.

Wishing you a safe Memorial Day Holiday and let it be the beginning of a Summer of Peace,

The Office of the Philadelphia Sheriff is proud to launch a redesign of our very popular website. The site hosts on average about 800 visitors every day, with a total of 370,000 unique users since the site was launched in 2013. Users are able to get detailed information about properties sold at Sheriff Sale, sign up for seminars to learn how the Sheriff Sale process works, determine if a deed has been filed on a property, and calculate the legal fees necessary to have a Deputy Sheriff serve a court order. We have even provided a video about how to purchase a property at a Sheriff Sale that has been viewed by almost 17,000 people in the past 18 months.

Responsive Design

Today we are proud to re-launch our website designed in a way to make it even easier for citizens to get the information they are seeking. The site has been redesigned with a responsive format to provide a seamless experience across all devices, making it easier and more fun to explore on a smartphone, tablet or desktop computer.

Comprehensive Search

We have also added a comprehensive search engine to the site to more easily find content throughout the site. The site is offered in English and Spanish (the two most used languages by our users according to online analytics).

New Web App Features

We are excited to add new features to our most popular section of the site: The Sheriff Sale App, which allows users to easily search for information about properties being sold as Sheriff Sale. The new features will allow a user to:

  • Search for properties by zip code or ward
  • View a sale history for each property to see which auctions it has been listed on in the past, and whether it is scheduled to be sold in the future
  • View a list of liabilities owed on the property to get a better understanding of the outstanding obligations due on the property
  • Download even more information as a spreadsheet, including the liabilities, to perform custom analysis
  • More easily use the app on a handheld devise like a tablet or smartphone
  • Keep track of the properties already viewed by changing the color of the pin icon representing each property
  • View additional information about the result of an auction, including the sale date a property has been postponed too

More to Come!

The Office of the Philadelphia Sheriff is committed to providing full transparency by offering as much information as possible online in a way that is easy to access. We look forward to continuing to innovate the way we communicate with the public online.

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Sheriff Jewell Williams attends first City Council meeting of 2016 called to order by City Council President Darrell Clarke. Deputies from the Office of the Philadelphia Sheriff are on duty guarding all attending the Council meetings.

Philadelphia Sheriff Jewell Williams takes the Pledge against Domestic Violence at the 8th Annual iPLEDGE press conference on Thursday, October 8 in Love Park hosted by Women Against Abuse.

"I Pledge to raise my voice against violence," said Pennsylvania Senator Vincent Hughes (center at podium) and Sheriff Jewell Williams (to right of Hughes) along with hundreds of participants.

Also participating:  Councilwoman Marion Tasco (right of Williams), Councilwoman Maria Quinones Sanchez (left of Senator Hughes) and newly elected State Represenative Jooanna McClinton to right of Quinones Sanchez.

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The Office of the Sheriff announced today a change to the Monthly Foreclosure Sales held in the First District Plaza Building at 3801 Market Street in Philadelphia.

Starting January 5, 2016, "ALL SALES" will start at 9AM.

This will allow us to accomodate the increase in properties being brought to sale and provide us the oppurtunity to close out the sale process by the end of the business day.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A Latino has reached the rank of captain for the first time in the 300-year history of the Philadelphia Sheriff's Office.

Capt. Michael Bastone was among five men promoted by Sheriff Jewell Williams.

The office says Bastone scored the second highest of those who took the test. He's been with the sheriff's office for 25 years.

Bastone said in a statement that he was humbled.


Published in the New Jersey Herald on May 27, 2015

PHILADELPHIA, PA---The office of the Sheriff of Philadelphia City and County is urging individuals in the city AND surrounding counties to be aware of people trying to extort money by claiming they represent the sheriff’s office and/or the court, or Jury Commission Office.

“We are also supporting efforts by Philadelphia City Councilman Curtis Jones, Jr., the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, and the First Judicial District in getting the word out about these scam artists and the despicable ways they are preying on innocent people,” said Sheriff Jewell Williams.

“I need to make it absolutely clear,” said Sheriff Williams, “we NEVER call ANYONE about a debt.  We SERVE a court-executed warrant”.

Among those who have been victimized are a number of constituents in Councilman Jones’ 4th District who have complained of people calling and threatening them with arrest and/or a heavy fine because they have either failed to appear for Jury Duty, or have not paid a specific debt, usually from a “quick loan” organization or a credit card debt.

Examples of the methodology used by the scammers include:

A 67-year-old woman being told she needed to pay a fine because she failed to respond to a jury notice.  The man said his name was Mike Sapp and represented the Office of the Sheriff of Philadelphia.  After the woman informed him she was going to call both the police and the court, he hung up.

  • A man being told there was a “warrant out for his arrest for theft by deception” because he failed to pay money owed on a credit card.  The female caller said she also represented the sheriff’s office and he could either turn himself in or call a certain number to pay the debt.   The caller even said it was okay to use a PayPal Account.  Unfortunately, the man wound up paying $300 to an organization called United Financial Resource.
  • Another woman was told she had to pay a fine because she missed grand jury duty and there was an outstanding warrant for her arrest.  The man who called her identified himself as Deputy Sheriff Strong.  The woman was literally on her way to pay the fine, but contacted Councilman Jones’ office first, which intervened and uncovered the scam.  Also, no such “Deputy Sheriff Strong” works at the Office of the Sheriff of Philadelphia City and County.

“As the Chairman of the Public Safety Committee, I am deeply concerned about this scam especially since it seems like they are targeting constituents in the 4th District,” said Jones. “I urge anybody contacted by these scammers to contact the proper authorities immediately."

Richard T. McSorley, Deputy Court Administrator, Criminal Trial Division for the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania, has issued the following:  “A jury summons is an official court order requiring jury duty. Failure to respond to your jury notice can result in legal consequences including contempt. However, no fines, costs or warrants of arrest are ever issued without notice of a court hearing that would be held in the Stout Center for Criminal Justice at 1301 Filbert street. No phone calls are ever made to those who fail to appear for jury duty”.

If you suspect you are being scammed or are suspicious of anyone claiming to be from the sheriff’s office or the court, please call any of the following numbers for verification and/or clarity:

  • Office of the Sheriff of Philadelphia City and County: 215-686-3530
  • Jury Commission Office: 215-683-7190.
  • District Attorney’s Office: 215-686-9900