FRANKFORT, Ky- Law enforcement across Kentucky say they support a ban on no-knock warrants.
What You Need To Know
- Law enforcement agencies discuss police reform
- Agencies across the state support no-knock warrant bans
- Senate president questions why it is taking so long to get the attorney general final reports in Taylor case
- Other issues discussed included use of chokeholds and defunding police
Several law enforcement association spoke in front of the Interim Joint Committee on Local Government on Tuesday about possible police reform measures during the 2021 General Assembly Session.
Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, is in the process of drafting a bill that would ban no-knock warrants in Kentucky except in certain situations like a hostage situation.
The Kentucky Sheriff’s Association says this is not a practice they use.
“I did an informal survey and spoke a number of my peers across Kentucky and I could not find one who would endorse their use, not one,” said Sheriff Keith Cane, Davis County Sheriff, and past President of Kentucky Sheriff’s Association "You see in my view the risk to both officers and suspects and instant bystanders is so predictably high that it outweigh any perceived advantage of being authorized to forcibly enter a persons residence.”
The Kentucky Association of Chiefs of Police agree that no-knock warrants should rarely be used.
“We have surveyed our members and very few use the no-knock warrants they just aren’t used often,” said Shawn Butler, Executive Director, of Kentucky Association of Chiefs of Police.
The Kentucky Sheriff’s Association and KACP said in theory they support the bill Stivers is working on but will need to see the final draft first.
Stivers began drafting the bill as a result of the killing of Louisville EMT Breonna Taylor in March after Louisville Metro Police Department officers used a no-knock warrant to search her home, Stivers said without that incident it’s very likely there would be no bill.
“It is not that well known about this type of issue to the public but when you have a search warrant, and again it’s a search warrant, you are not arresting anyone, at one o’clock in the morning and ,you’ve heard the law enforcement officers, that is not good policing and it lead to a very tragic set of circumstances,” he said.
Stivers stopped short of saying whether he believes the three police officers involved in the shooting should be charged until he’s seen the final investigation but did question why it is taking so long for Attorney General Daniel Cameron to receive the final reports.
“From what I understand the attorney general just got the completed file to be able to start his investigation within the last ten days, two weeks, I want to know where the mayor’s office has been,” he said. “People are criticizing the attorney general but it seems as if the mayor’s office should have been on this when it happened."
The killing of George Floyd as a result of a chokehold in May has sparked a conversation about the use of excessive force and specifically chokeholds, KACP does not think chokeholds should be banned outright but does believe it should only used when necessary.
“There are times where an officer is fighting for his life and that is the tool available to him that it would be necessary so we have a force continuum where deadly force is the threshold where chokeholds meet,” said Chief Art Ealum, Owensboro Police Department and President of the Kentucky Associations of Chiefs of Police.
Defunding police has become a major topic of conversation across the country, including in Kentucky, Chief Ealum says he would rather see more money toward training of police officers.
“We believe that defunding the police department and putting those resources elsewhere actually takes away those communities that we serve,” said “We are here to protect and serve our communities.”
He says defunding the police would mean police departments would have to cut personnel or training if they lose funding.
KACP says they also believe systems need to be in place to allow tracking of officers who have been fired for misconduct.