Lexington Police add to ‘No-Knock’ search warrant policy

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News 12 Now

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – The Lexington Police Department has added another level of supervision to its ‘No-Knock’ search warrant policy.

Police Chief Lawrence Weathers or a designated assistant chief must now approve use of a no-knock search warrant before being presented to a judge for consideration, according to the police department. This adds a fourth level of approval.

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Once a no-knock search warrant is authorized by a judge, its execution is the responsibility of the Lexington Police Department’s specially-trained Emergency Response Unit (ERU).  Even when a no-knock warrant is authorized by a judge, it’s possible the ERU could use a different approach based on the factors known at that time.

No-knock warrants are used when there is a risk of physical injury to suspects, victims, officers or bystanders. Once inside, uniformed officers must continually announce that they are the police officers and that they have a search warrant.

The Lexington Police Department says no-knock search warrants are used on a very limited basis and only in extreme circumstances. The department says it hasn’t executed a no-knock search warrant in the past 12-months.

The department has been questioned about its use of the no-knock warrant in recent days following the controversy in Louisville.

In March, Louisville EMT Breonna Taylor and her boyfriend were in bed when a trio of armed men smashed through her apartment door. Shots rang out, and Taylor was shot several times and killed.

The three men turned out to be plainclothes police detectives, one of whom was wounded in the exchange of gunfire with Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, who says he thought the police were intruders.

He was initially charged in the case for shooting one of the detectives in the leg, but the charges were later dropped.

Taylor’s death led to protests and a review of how Louisville Police use ‘no-knock search warrants.

Civil rights advocates are calling for a permanent ban.  Oregon and Florida are the only states that have outlawed such warrants.

The three narcotics detectives were investigating an accused drug dealer named Jamarcus Glover, who investigators say was arrested elsewhere the same day.

Police say Glover was using Taylor’s address to receive packages they believed could be drugs. Records show no drugs were found at her apartment.

The Lexington Police Department says it continually reviews its policies for possible improvement and welcomes questions and suggestions from the public.