FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ~ July 31st, 2023
~ Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office ~
On July 23, 2023, Max Marin and Ryan Briggs of the Philadelphia Inquirer published an article entitled, Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office seizes firearms in just 13% of domestic-abuse cases. Victims say it’s unacceptable regarding the protection from Abuse Orders (“PFA”) in Philadelphia County that included false statements, false data, and a fabricated story about The Sheriff’s Office. It is clear Ryan Briggs and Max Marin are not objective journalists, but in fact, have a personal vendetta against the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office or its personnel. If they didn’t, they would conduct a real investigation, or simply try telling the truth to the public.
A question one can ask is, how can investigative journalists provide inaccurate information to the public? Simple, have a personal agenda with a subjective opinion, and call it an investigation.
To begin, Marin’s article referenced Whitney Brown’s case. Ms. Brown filed a PFA petition in 2021 and was granted a temporary order that did not require a weapon relinquishment, nor did the order include the defendant’s full address (“Washington Ave Philadelphia PA 19143”). (See Exhibit A). Upon obtaining a final order in 2023 (which required relinquishment), the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office no longer had jurisdiction to serve the PFA because the defendant’s correct address was outside of Philadelphia County. (See Exhibit B). Office records show that our deputies ran a weapons registration report, which indicated that the defendant did not have a registered firearm. (See Exhibit C). Subsequently, they faxed Ms. Brown’s final PFA order to the appropriate County for service and received a confirmation receipt. (See Exhibit E; see also Exhibits D & F for additional records).
Next, Marin’s article falsely states that the Sheriff’s Office received 10,028 PFAs that required weapon relinquishment in 2020-2023. However, according to PFAD between 2019-2023, our Office received 3,245 PFA cases that required weapon relinquishment. Currently, there are only 42 cases pending law enforcement action.
Lastly, the article also states, “A state police spokesperson said sheriffs sometimes disable the daily pings if a suspect was noncompliant with the request and the relinquishment case requires further investigation.” The question Mr. Briggs, what “sheriffs” are you referring to? Your statement is not only false, but it doesn’t apply to the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office. In fact, it dangerously creates a narrative that our deputies are careless in their responsibility to victims of domestic violence. Our deputies receive a notification for every new case and existing cases that are still open (meaning service attempts were not successful). These notifications sometimes double or triple, as deputies get them daily for pending and new cases.
To remedy the issue of overlapping notifications, the State agreed that our deputies should disable notifications for three reasons:
- PFAD allows deputies to disable and enable specific cases and enter notes to keep track of their caseload. This feature helps deputies be more efficient in carrying out the PFA process by making notes for new cases, cases where service attempts were made, or cases that have a bad address for the defendant, etc.
- Deputies run a weekly report in PFAD for possible outstanding weapon relinquishment cases.
- The State follows up and informs our Office of any outstanding cases that require immediate attention, or those that are still awaiting service.
As you can see, this situation has nothing to do with noncompliance in weapon relinquishment cases that require further investigation.
For more information about the Sheriff’s Office PFA service in Philadelphia County visit our website: https://phillysheriff.com/civil-division/protection-from-abuse-service-in-philadelphia-county/
Download Referenced Exhibits Here:
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