The Office of the Sheriff, City and County of Philadelphia, is an independently elected position whose stated mission is “protecting the lives, property, and rights of city residents; providing safety to those who enter courtrooms; and managing sheriff sales.”

The Sheriff’s Office is responsible for providing safety and security to all who enter Philadelphia courtrooms including judges, juries, defendants, witnesses, courtroom personnel and the public.

The Office of Sheriff is also responsible for managing all First Judicial Court ordered foreclosures of property. Foreclosures of property include executing mortgage and tax sales, often called “sheriff sales.”

In addition, the Civil Division of the Sheriff’s Office enforces a variety of court orders / judicial process documents which originate from the courts, governmental agencies and private attorneys including:

  • Writs of Executions
  • Writs of Possession
  • Service of Process
  • Complaints, Summons and Subpoenas
  • Tax Liens
  • Protection from Abuse Orders
  • Court orders on behalf of other Sheriff’s Offices

The Sheriff’s Office in Philadelphia has been fraught with scandals and management problems, across multiple administrations. While some have advocated for the elimination of the Sheriff’s Office altogether (by Home Rule Charter change and integrating those duties within other governmental entities), the Sheriff remains an independently elected office in Philadelphia City Government.