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Cincinnati police change no-knock warrant policy

Cincinnati police department
Cincinnati police department
Published: Jun. 2, 2021 at 11:09 AM EDT
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CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Cincinnati police are changing their policy for no-knock warrants and eliminating their use unless someone is at risk of serious harm.

City Manager Paula Boggs-Muething recently announced the changes in a memo to City Council and Mayor John Cranley.

The Cincinnati Police Department already has taken steps to ensure that its use of warrants and no-knock warrants in particular “was judicious and prioritized the protection of life above all else,” her memo states.

The city was asked to evaluate its policies about the execution of warrants after March 2020 death of Breonna Taylor during a no-knock warrant executed by Louisville police in Kentucky that resulted in a shootout with her boyfriend.

Louisville has since banned the practice.

Many of the requests or recommendations that could be adopted here already were in place or planned, Cincinnati’s city manager says.

“However,” her memo goes on, “the community also brought valuable suggestions and perspective to the conversation. As a result of those discussions, CPD will be adding the following requirements to its written procedures:

  • Incorporate the existing standard for “no-knock” warrants from Ohio Revised Code to prohibit “no-knock” warrants unless there is probable cause of a risk of serious harm to persons and requires officers to identify and document additional circumstances that makes immediate entry necessary to avoid serious harm to persons instead of other tactics.
  • Incorporate the existing standard that probable cause required for all warrants (including no-knock warrants) not be stale.
  • Require activation of BWC (body worn camera) when officers leave their vehicles to execute a search warrant involving forced entry to a residential premises.
  • Require officers making initial forced entry to a residential premises for the execution of a search warrant have visible identification such as name or badge number and be in uniform. Standard and tactical uniforms would be permitted. Tactical vests over plain clothes would be permitted to the officers making the initial forced entry.
  • Require officers to describe and document the persons they anticipate encountering during the execution of the warrant including the age, gender, medical condition and any special conditions or circumstances that increases the risk to occupants to the extent officers can determine that information.
  • Require surveillance in the twenty-four hours preceding forced entry to a residential premises for the execution of a search warrant.

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