I am a property owner in the town of Brownville. My land is clearly and properly posted “No Trespassing.”
On Jan. 5, while walking my dogs on my posted land, I encountered fresh four wheeler tracks in the snow. I called the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department for assistance. I also called my property line neighbors to advise them and confirm that the tracks were not theirs.
A deputy responded. I showed him the tracks and my posted signs. He acknowledged that my land was properly and clearly marked “Posted.” Together, we tracked the four wheeler across four property owners’ lands, through two electric fences, to where the tracks clearly disappeared into a garage in a residence several houses further down my road.
The deputy confronted the occupants (separate from me) and later advised me that they had admitted to being on my land with their four wheeler. However, he advised me that I would not be allowed to press charges because “they had a reason”. They told him a story in which they claimed the son got stuck, and the father got “lost” while “carefully” unsticking him.
The officer, albeit professionally and politely, advised me that he would not file a report or press charges despite my repeated requests to do so (I have had trespassing issues with these same people before). Despite the fact that my land is clearly and properly marked posted and their four wheeler clearly was driven directly past those signs and onto my land, he said the four wheeler was clearly tracked back to a garage at their residence and they admitted it was theirs and that they had been driving it when it trespassed onto my land (as well as several of my neighbors’ lands). Because they had a “reason” for trespassing, the case would “never stand up in court.”
How does that work? “Your honor, this guy robbed the bank, but Jefferson County is not pressing charges because he had a good reason.”
The deputy advised me that in order to enforce a trespassing charge, officers had to physically “catch them in the act.” Apparently in Jefferson County, property owners have but one right: Pay taxes.
We just paid our countywide property taxes to the tune of more than $2,000.
Aside from road plowing services, if we’re not allowed to enforce our rights as property owners, exactly what are we paying for?