A code enforcement officer is a sworn-in inspector and investigator employed by a county or a city and specializes in the prevention, detection, and enforcement of violations of laws.
The officer ensures that businesses and people are in compliance with public health, safety, public works, consumer protection, business activities, building standards, municipal affairs, and more.
In short, code enforcement protects the community by regulating entities that are breaking laws and city ordinances.
For example, on a daily basis, a code enforcement officer could find themselves performing inspections, carrying out routine duties in support of a city’s community compliance program, enforcing vendor permits, and responding to citizen inquiries or complaints.
Code enforcement officers are a necessity to every single city and county jurisdiction.
Not only does code enforcement protect the safety and wellbeing of the public, but they are also essential in ensuring safe working conditions at places of employment.
“Safety is another one of the primary ways that code enforcement officers positively impact communities. Communities have legislative bodies that enact ordinances for the good of the entire community. These ordinances include rules and regulations that take into consideration the safety and wellbeing of the public, such as fire codes, building codes, and general property standards.”
Illinois Association of Code Enforcement
While some people have a general idea as to what they do on a day to day basis, there are many myths about code enforcement officers.
One of the biggest myths about code enforcement officers is that they strive to hand out as many tickets as possible to make money for the city. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The department’s first action is usually a written notice of violation, allowing a reasonable amount of time to make corrections before a ticket is issued.
Another myth you may have heard is that code enforcement officers pick and choose the complaints they investigate. Every single complaint is investigated, whether driving past the location in question or making personal contact, a record is kept of the investigation, and the investigation’s outcome is documented to ensure all items are inspected.
As we understand how detrimental code enforcement officer engagement is to a community, Silver & Wright LLP’s attorneys are a great resource to strengthen a department’s enforcement action.
“Code enforcement officers are truly unsung heroes that work hard to resolve quality of issues and keep their communities safe.”
Matt Silver, Founding Partner – Silver & Wright LLP
Find out more about the types of cases we work with code enforcement on our services page.