Each week, Scottsbluff Police Cpl. Krisa Brass will answer questions submitted by Star-Herald readers.
Send questions for consideration to firstname.lastname@example.org or by leaving your question at 308-632-9057.
Can businesses trespass people for no reason? And how do they enforce it?
Businesses have a right to trespass anyone from their store for any reason, really. Each business has its own set of rules/policies to abide by. Often times, the trespass is a result of something like shoplifting or some kind of disorderly behavior.
Each business is a little different but most local businesses will inform the person they are trespassed and ask them to sign a form acknowledging they are aware they can no longer return. Some businesses will contact law enforcement and ask for a trespass warning to be issued by an officer.
A record is kept of each trespass warning that is issued. So if a business requests the trespass and that person returns to the store, the employees are supposed to contact law enforcement. Officers are able to refer to the log and verify whether or not that person has already been given a warning for that business. If the person is on the log, they will likely be issued a citation. If the problem is recurring or if the person refuses to leave when law enforcement arrives, they may be arrested.
The same goes for residents. If there is someone you would like to be issued a trespass warning from your home, you can contact law enforcement and request a warning be issued so long as the person is not privileged to be there.
Can law enforcement take action in civil matters or evictions?
This is a pretty broad question and the answer is really going to be dependent on the entire circumstance. As far as evictions go, municipal departments do not generally play a role, however, sheriff’s departments do.
Once the person(s) have been served the eviction notice and the allotted time has expired, a member of the Sheriff’s Department will contact the person if they have not followed the order. It seems a majority of people will vacate within the specified time without issue. For those who refuse to leave, they will be removed from the property, which may also result in an arrest, depending on the situation.
As far as civil matters are concerned, generally, law enforcement only plays the role of keeping the peace. Officers tend to get called to civil matters specifically regarding the removal or division of property.
Let’s say you and your significant other split up and you want to remove your belongings from the house, but feel like there may be some kind of conflict while doing so. You can request law enforcement to stand by while you remove your belongings with the goal of keeping the peace and preventing the situation from escalating.
Regarding the division of property, there are some items you are obviously entitled to such as your clothing, toiletries, and other personal items. If there is joint property items the two parties cannot agree on, law enforcement cannot force one person to give the items to another.