Heated discussions during search warrant task force meeting

The final meeting to vote on committee recommendations is scheduled for Dec. 9th.

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Sparked by a tragic death and social unrest, Kentucky’s search warrant rules have been widely discussed. For weeks, experts in law enforcement, the courts and social services have been debating possible changes, but the answers aren’t easy and the changes may boil down to simple common sense. Two hours of spirited discussion and back and forth and the state’s search warrant task force came close to finalizing months of work.

“They gave a good faith effort to make some changes and they might be incremental but they are changes that will ultimately have an impact on how Kentucky as a whole sort of views the process of executing a search warrant,” says state Attorney General Daniel Cameron.

Cameron set up the task force in January in response to the shooting death of Breonna Taylor during the execution of a no knock search warrant and criticism that Cameron didn’t do enough to protect others from future tragedies.

One of the key recommendations will be that prosecutors play more of a role in obtaining and reviewing search warrants to make sure it meets legal muster. Even that sparked some controversy.

“That practice has been going on for years and years and years and actually has worked quite well,” says a former prosecutor on the task force.

Other proposals include having social service workers involved especially when children are involved. Police officers say a “handle with care” policy already is in place in most departments when kids are involved.

“I just think that at that point, we have an obligation to make sure those children receive some type of social intervention, and wrap-around services,” says Denise Bentley, representing citizens at-large. “I think that’s very traumatic.”

The most heavily debated topic was a search warrant time frame similar to what’s used by the FBI. The committee wants to ban serving warrants between 10 P.M. and 6 A.M. Law enforcement committee members balked saying that’s too restrictive.

Cameron authored a compromise that strongly recommended limits, but didn’t specify certain hours. Other exceptions similar to the FBI also will be used. However, concerns remain.

“I believe this task force exists because there are problems in the execution of search warrants and I haven’t heard any recommendations for how they should actually be done differently and that troubles me,” says Damon Parker, public advocate.

The final search warrant task force meeting to vote on the committee recommendations is set for December 9th.

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