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Central Kentucky police departments say no-knock warrants rarely used

Posted at 8:29 PM, May 29, 2020

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer has suspended the use of no-knock warrants after the shooting death of Breonna Taylor.

In Lexington, the use of no-knock warrants, which are warrants issued by a judge to allow officers to enter a property unannounced, is still being used.

Lexington Police Chief Lawrence Weathers said requesting a no-knock warrant involves heavy vetting by “several different supervisory levels” before the paperwork ever reaches a judge. When they are approved, officers have standard protocol they need to follow and are supervised, according to Weathers.

“If our officers do a no-knock warrant, they’re clearly marked as police, there are probably uniformed police officers with them [and] there’s definitely going to be a supervisor there.”

“Once inside, officers will continually announce that they are police officers and that they have a search warrant. These are requested to potentially reduce the risk of physical injury to suspects, officers, and uninvolved members of the public,” said police later.

There is also an Emergency Response Unit, which is the only unit in the department that executes the warrants, according to Weathers.

Lexington hasn’t executed a no-knock warrant in the past 12 months, according to police.

Meanwhile, Frankfort Police Department Assistant Chief Lynn Aubrey said no-knock warrants are rare in her agency.

“In order for a no-knock order to be issued by our agency, we would have to show that the situation was going to be extremely dangerous for our officers. That there were some extenuating circumstances,” said Aubrey.

Officials in both Lexington and Frankfort said department policies are constantly being reevaluated, but there have been no changes made to their use of no-knock warrants.