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


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.

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Tom Kenny joined ABC 36 News in June of 2001 as a General Assignment Reporter. A native of Peoria, Illinois, he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Western Illinois University. He currently anchors ABC 36 News at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm. Tom has more than three decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He is the only broadcast journalist in Lexington television history to be honored with a national Edward R. Murrow Award. Tom was recognized for reporting on a story that gave a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of the Federal Witness Protection Program. He has won an Emmy Award for anchoring and another for investigative reporting, exposing the deceit and potential danger of online diploma mills. Tom has ten other Emmy nominations to his credit for investigative and feature reporting. He has won Associated Press Awards for reporting and anchoring. He has won two Addy Awards for excellence in promotional writing. Tom was the first broadcast journalist in Lexington TV history to be awarded the Silver Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It is one of the highest honors given by NATAS. It recognizes television professionals who have performed distinguished service within the television industry for 25-years or more. Tom was honored for more than his longevity, he was recognized for making an enduring contribution to the vitality of the television industry and for setting high standards of achievement. He was also recognized for giving back to the community as a mentor, educator and volunteer. Tom also has network broadcast experience in radio and television having worked as a sports reporter for ESPN, Sportschannel, NBC Sports and the Breeders’ Cup. He was also the studio host and halftime producer for CBS Radio Sports’ College Football Game of the Week and covered the NFL for One-On-One Radio Sports. Prior to joining WTVQ-TV, Tom was Vice-President of the Houston Astros Minor League baseball team in Lexington. He was part of the original management team that brought professional baseball back to the Bluegrass after a nearly 50-year absence. Tom has lived in Lexington since 1984. In that time, he has been heavily involved with dozens of charity and civic groups, with a special emphasis on helping Veterans. He can be reached at tkenny@wtvq.com. You can also follow Tom on Facebook www.facebook.com/TomKennyABC and Twitter @TomKennyNews. Just click on the links at the top of the page.