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Baltimore sheriff pauses December evictions to implement new policies, train staff

Baltimore Sheriff Sam Cogen said he is pausing evictions for the remainder of December as his office implements new policies and his staff undergoes training on proper eviction procedures.

The December evictions are being rescheduled, not canceled, Cogen said, and some evictions might continue this month on a case-by-case basis if there are public safety concerns or other issues. Cogen said he expects 64 evictions to be rescheduled.

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There are just 16 working days left in the month, Cogen said, and evictions typically slow around the holidays.

“We’re going to use this time to restructure the office and again make sure everybody’s on the same page,” Cogen said.

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Cogen was sworn into office last week after defeating Sheriff John Anderson, who held the position for 33 years. Cogen said his office is undergoing several changes to make sure they are complying with the law.

“You can’t change the tire on a car if the car is running down the street at a hundred miles an hour,” he said.

In one of his first acts as sheriff, Cogen ended a long-standing policy of posting eviction notices on shared or exterior doors to apartment buildings when sheriff’s deputies are unable to get inside.

Another change Cogen said he plans to implement is giving tenants more information about a pending eviction. He wants tenants to be able to call the sheriff’s office and know when an eviction is going to take place, though Cogen said the office is still working to set up a system that protects privacy rights.

Cogen said these procedural changes also will benefit landlords, who will know that an eviction is less likely to be reversed because the sheriff’s office handled it improperly.

“It’s not an amnesty by any means,” Cogen said of the pause. “As we’re talking about putting people out of their homes, we want to make sure they’re getting the best notice possible.”


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