Friday, July 5, 2013

Last Week Guest Speaker Was Octavia Johnson

We had a fun meeting last week with special guest speaker, Roanoke City Sheriff Octavia Johnson.

Octavia was very pleasant to speak to and said she would be willing to help us with any problems that we are having.

We talked about various issues regarding the serving of civil papers and offered some suggestions regarding possible changes to increase efficiency and some issues pertaining to papers that should be served at the last known address and end up getting returned as not found.

We will have her sergeant at a future meeting to square away some of the details. Staffing is tight for the Roanoke Sheriff's office and there are no reported funds for more deputies. We would like to develop creative solutions and put a focus on the timely serving of unlawful detainer paperwork. Landlords wait for over a month from start to end just in the serving of papers by the Sheriff's office.

We initially file our unlawful detainers and wait 2 to 3 weeks for a court date as the court wants enough time to allow for serving of the papers. Then at the end we file writs of possession which add an additional 2 to  3 weeks until we are able to meet the deputy at the house to gain real possession of the property.

If only 300 unlawful detainers are filed monthly, this comes at an extreme cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars of lost rent to Roanoke landlords each month. At an average rental amount of $700 we are losing over 200,000 per month!!! Got to stop the bleeding...

Octavia filled us in on a number of issues including the loss of a couple hundred thousand  dollars to the department a few years ago that lead her to have to cut back ground crews that keep an eye on prisoners cleaning the roadways and other things from 5 to 2 in order to continue to ensure the safety of her deputies as some have been seriously injured in the past. From what I understand the cuts were made to deputies and not administrative staff.

She in turn developed a creative solution by having a group of over 30 non violent people who chose community service rather than jail time to take place of the 3 missing ground crews.

It was a pleasure talking to Octavia and we wish to continue to work together with the city Sheriffs office to develop workable solutions for landlords within the tight budgets they are constrained by.


Brian Harris said...

Good evening, REI. This is great news to hear that the Sheriff's department has an alternative to jail, that will allow the offenders and the public, both, to benefit. I believe that a person that works, will have pride and not behave to the detriment of the community, yet towards self improvement. I will do my best to contact Ms. Johnson and see how my company can become in compliance to participate with that program. Thank you, REI. Brian K. Harris, RGCGC CEO/Executive Manager

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