Evictions that turned violent and sometimes deadly in the last year has prompted the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office to work with the California Apartment Association to make the eviction process safer.
The two offices worked with Fresno attorney Steve Hrdlicka on revising the “letter of instruction” that landlords are required to fill out for an eviction to be served.
The three-page document asks landlords to identify if tenants are in a gang, if they are violent, have weapons or vicious animals or if there is drug activity at the home.
The letter also alerts deputies to seniors or disabled tenants who may need special assistance out of a home.
“The information provided will help deputies assess potential risks, to help protect both deputies and the public,” Hrdlicka said. “Landlords now have an easy way to alert deputies of potential problems or situations that may be encountered during an eviction.”
At least three eviction cases caught the sheriff’s eye in the last year:
- In April, a sheriffs deputy and a locksmith were shot and killed while serving an eviction notice at a Modesto home. The man later set fire to the home and killed himself.
- In November, an unarmed animal control officer was shot and killed in Sacramento County while trying to retrieve pets from a home whose owner was evicted the previous day.
- In December, the SWAT team was called to a home in Clovis after civil enforcement deputies tried serving eviction papers to a father and son who refused to come out of the house. The daylong standoff ended with the arrest of both men.