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No-knock warrants now limited in Kentucky

Gov. Beshear signed the bill on Friday
Published: Apr. 9, 2021 at 11:01 PM CDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WFIE) - No-knock warrants are being limited in Kentucky.

Gov. Andy Beshear signed Senate Bill 4, which is a justice reform measure aimed at protecting both police and the public. At least one local law enforcement agency already decided to strike out this strategy.

The bill is one of three signed Friday by Gov. Beshear. The first two focus on education and economic development. The third comes down to policing and public safety.

This bill was brought about following Breonna Taylor’s death.

The state law puts a partial ban on no-knock warrants, and only allows them if there is clear and convincing evidence of a violent crime.

“Thank you for being willing to give voice in tragedy, and I hope you view today as a homage to your daughter and also to your relentlessness in making sure she’s not forgotten,” Gov. Beshear said.

The bill states that approved no-knock warrants must be carried out by a specially-trained response team, wearing body cameras and clearly identifying insignia. Counties with fewer than 90,000 people can be given an exception to some of these rules with court approval.

“But, since we don’t use them anyway and it’s an officer safety issue, we decided to go ahead and ban no-knock search warrants or even the ability for our officers to even apply for a no-knock search warrant,” Madisonville Police Department Major Andy Rush shared.

Madisonville Police changed its policy, effective last November, to take this option off the table. The previous policy did allow for no-knocks, but only with a judge’s approval, with an on-scene supervisor.

Officers were required to immediately announce their presence after entry. It is no longer an option and hasn’t been for months.

“There’s no amount of evidence, or anything else, that is worth an officer’s life or the life of a citizen within the residence or building we’re serving a warrant on,” Rush added.

Approved no-knock warrants must now have an EMT on site should there be a need for medical help.

They can only happen between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. unless the court says otherwise.

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