I’m the constable serving all of Ahwatukee as well as parts of Tempe and Guadalupe. I serve Kyrene’s post of justice with Justice of the Peace Sharron Sauls.
Constables are elected peace officers who enforce civil/criminal court orders arising from legal action, as well as other courts and government agencies. We sign subpoenas, subpoenas, protective orders, notices, harassment injunctions, writs of restitution (evictions), warrants, and more.
The tasks we are most often given are the writ of restitution (an eviction order), subpoenas and protective orders.
During this series of columns, I will mainly refer to evictions, as this is the bulk of the orders coming from the Kyrene Court of Justice. I can receive more than 50 or more per week. I also receive many summonses from many courts as well as protective orders.
There are many reasons for eviction, such as non-payment of rent, health and safety, threatening behavior, and protective orders forcing a party out of their home.
Each scenario is as diverse as the individuals I meet.
The tenant has already evacuated a significant percentage of evictions. I arrive and the unit is empty.
These evictions are unfortunate and unnecessary as the tenant could have avoided eviction had they just returned the keys to management and relinquished possession of the property. Judgment would stand, but eviction would be avoided.
A judgment can be paid at any time; an eviction stays with a person for seven long years. Anyone who finds themselves in this troubled situation should return the keys. If there is one important thing I could insist on, it would be this.
Many evictions show signs of people still living in the house, but not home when I arrive with the housekeeping staff to enforce the writ and change the locks. These situations are undoubtedly stressful for tenants. When they return home, the key does not work and they have to contact the management of the establishment to gain access to their belongings.
If the office is closed for the day, they have to wait until the next day. I am very aware of pets that get caught up in the eviction process. I always document the presence of pets and make sure they have food and water. I also confirm that management is aware and that animal control is called within 24 hours if the renter has not returned to pick them up.
The toughest evictions happen when the tenant is at home. Even more difficult with children, pets and no car. Children and pets are the double whammy, as both are innocent victims in a situation that threatens their very safety. I work with property management in these situations to find a win-win solution. I always have resources available to tenants and will call the case management of the cities concerned according to the conditions.
In my next column, I will discuss evictions for health and safety reasons as well as evictions that come with protective orders. As we go along, I will include different situations that I have encountered as a Constable.
I will be at the Nosh at Warner Road and 48th Street at 9 a.m. on September 3 and at 9 a.m. on September 10 at the Brick Road Coffee at Rural Road and US 60. I will also have Save Our School petitions to sign.