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ASK THE SHERIFF: How does law enforcement handle property disputes?

Question: What is the process for law enforcement when dealing with two neighbors having a property line dispute?

Answer: Your sheriff's office deals with this on a regular basis. Sometimes we are able to make both sides happy; sometimes we end up with only one party being satisfied, and at times, we come away with neither party being happy.

Each property owner typically feels that they know what they own and exactly where their property lines are. But who is the deputy sheriff supposed to believe? There are just too many factors that come into play with these land disputes. The accuracy of an old survey, agreements by previous owners, easements and adverse possession issues all can muddy the waters for an officer.

If two opposing attorneys, each making $200 per hour, can't agree after spending months on the case, how can we expect a deputy sheriff making $25 per hour to figure it out after being on the case for 10 minutes?

Unfortunately, it ends up with the officer having no choice but to walk away and advise both sides that no decision can be made and that they need to get along until they are ready to resolve the issue properly.

These are typically issues that a judge must decide in civil court. That takes money and time, but it is the only way to get this type of issue resolved.

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