Sheriff’s Office removes itself from landlord and tenant disputes
Law enforcement officials are no longer going to be used for borrowing muscle when it comes to landlord and tenant disputes, said Kim Andree, public information officer for the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office.
“We’re just removing ourselves from being the middle man,” Andree said.
The Sheriff’s Office civil division usually schedules and conducts all civil assistance and requests when it an officer needs to be present to keep the peace between landlords and tenants, she said. But that’s no longer the case, starting July 14.
“We took a look at our call load, and the amount of calls we received for civil standbys was out of control,” she said. “We needed to put a stop to it.”
The Sheriff’s Office isn’t stopping civil standbys all together, though. There will be strict rules to follow when and if someone needs assistance, she said.
All requests must be scheduled with plenty of advanced notice, she said. The officers for the assists do not work on weekends or legal holidays, and do not begin earlier than 8 a.m.
“People were using law enforcement to prove that they were more right,” she said. “We’re not going to be used to intimidate other people. We’re removing ourselves from the situation.”
The Sheriff’s Office encourages people to use friends, family or someone else present, possibly a co-worker, to keep the peace and keep people calm during the intervention, she said.
“As a general rule, if someone calls and wants an officer to come over while the tenant is moving out, we’ll send someone over there and do a standby,” she said.
But now, the Sheriff’s Office requires advance payment of $30 per hour, with a two-hour non-refundable minimum.
If property is being picked up, the requester must provide a transport car that is of proper size to accommodate all of the items in one load, she said. Proper man-power or equipment must be provided to load all of the property in a timely manner. Time will not be spent making inventory lists.
The officer will be present only for the time necessary to accomplish this task, she said.
“We want to make sure people are safe getting their stuff but they can’t be borrowing muscle,” she said.
An officer will be present only to prevent a breach of peace, she said, and will not become involved in any dispute or decision over property, unless the court specifically says to take action. An officer can cancel the assist if there is a breach of peace, or if there isn’t proper moving equipment of even if the landlord and tenant don’t work together.
“Sometimes, a cop might be waste of time,” she said. “If someone else can keep the peace, then we encourage them to help out instead.”
However, the two-hour minimum fee applies, but time not used that has been paid for will be reimbursed, she said. The time begins when an officer arrives at the time and place of the appointment.
“We made it nice and simple,” she said.
Christine Ina Casillas can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 607 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.