DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The Dayton Police Department conducted 52 no-knock warrants from 2017 through June 24, 2020, according to a statement from the department. The statement was in response to a query sent by WDTN.com earlier this week to multiple law enforcement agencies in the Miami Valley about the use of no-knock warrants.
“The Dayton Police Department and the City of Dayton require an extensive review of all search warrants prior to a judge being asked to review and approve (the warrant),” the Dayton PD statement read.
NO-KNOCK WARRANTS: Policies of other area law enforcement agencies
No-knock warrants have come under heavy criticism following the death of Breonna Taylor in March. Taylor was in an apartment with her boyfriend when the Louisville Police Department performed a no-knock warrant in response to a drug violation. Taylor was shot eight times. The officer who shot her was fired as well as the Louisville Police Chief. No drugs were found in the apartment after the raid.
While most agencies in the area told WDTN.com they rarely used no-knock warrants, or only request one if a life was in danger, the Dayton PD SWAT team has served at least 10 every year going back to 2017.
In its statement to WDTN.com, Dayton PD classified no-knock warrants as high-risk warrants. When serving any high-risk warrant, the Dayton PD deploys its SWAT team.
|Year||Number of High-Risk Warrants Served|
|2020||10 (as of June 24)|
Information from Dayton Police Department
The statement provided information from Ohio Revised Code 2933.231, which is the law police must follow when asking for a judge to waive the requirement for the statutory precondition for nonconsensual entry, which is the legal term that requires officers to knock and announce themselves when serving the warrant.
The Dayton PD provided guidelines in the statement that must be met for all of its search warrants, as well as a separate list of guidelines that must be meant for high-risk warrants, such as no-knock warrants. The list included approval from a judge.
The statement said approval steps for all warrants conducted by the Dayton Police Department begin with a case detective. It then moves up the department’s chain of command. The author of the warrant, usually a case detective (referred to as an affiant), must testify under oath to that the affidavit to request a warrant is true and accurate. If the approval is going to be for a no-knock search warrant, the judge has to approve that condition as stated in the Ohio Revised Code 2933.231 and it will be listed on the warrant.
Approval for high-risk warrants and no-knock warrants, which require the use of the Dayton SWAT, follow a similar process through the SWAT Commander, the Incident Commander (Major) and the Assistant Chief of Police/Chief of Operations, for final approval. The DPD statement said at each of the multiple steps in the process, “the facts of the investigation are examined to ensure it meets our criteria for high-risk search warrant service.” Dayton PD said even if some high-risk warrants are listed as a no-knock warrant, they will still announce themselves prior to entry. Sometimes the Hostage Negotiation Team will announce over a PA system that a warrant is being served at a particular address.
“The SWAT team is the only unit that will serve a high-risk search warrant,” the statement read. “The purose of serving the warrant as a high-risk warrant is to ensure the safety of citizens and officers that will likely be encountered during the service of the warrant by utilizing highly-trained SWAT team members.”
Major Chris Malson, Incident Commander for the Dayton PD, said he couldn’t recall any injuries during the last four years in the service of a SWAT warrant or a warrant served at the wrong location.
“In the last 15 years, I have been involved with the SWAT team, we have not served a SWAT warrant at the wrong address,” Malson stated.
Malson said the department reviews every warrant served by the SWAT team.
“For all SWAT operations, including search warrants, we do a thorough debrief on everybody’s actions involed in the operation after the operation is over,” Malson said. “
The Dayton City Commission is currently looking over suggested reforms for law enforcement following the death of George Floyd, the Minneapolis man who died on May 25 while being arrested. Floyd’s death set off thousands of protests across the country and has led to calls for law enforcement reform. The Commission is supposed to announce members of five teams to led by Mayor Nan Whaley and the four commission members to look over proposed law enforcement reforms suggested by national and local groups, as well as local citizens.
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