PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. -- Law enforcement from across Tampa Bay tell Spectrum Bay News 9 that "no-knock" search warrants are not used by their agencies.
"When we serve search warrants, we make every effort to serve that search warrant in the safest way possible to mitigate the risk of harm to others," Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri told reporters after it was announced that a former police officer involved in the shooting of Taylor will face wanton endangerment charges, but no charges involving the actual shooting of Taylor.
What You Need To Know
- Pinellas County's sheriff announced earlier this month deputies won't execute "no-knock" warrants except in rare circumstances
- Pasco Sheriff's Office updated policy this month to better reflect stance against no-knock warrants
- Citrus County Sheriff's Office doesn't prohibit this type of warrant, but says it would only be used in an effort to save lives
Gualtieri announced earlier this month that deputies will no longer serve no-knock, or dynamic, warrants except in rare circumstances that will require a supervisor's approval. He said his office has worked for years to reduce the risks that come with executing search warrants.
"That includes a lot of pre-surveillance, knowing who's there and who's not, and trying to take the person off while they're not in that house," Gualtieri said.
A spokesperson for the Pasco County Sheriff's Office said that agency's policy was updated just this month to better reflect its stance against no-knock warrants.
Part of the policy that addresses service of the search warrant states,"The entry team will knock and announce their purpose and identify themselves as law enforcement officers before entering the structure or premises to be searched. If entry is made under exigent circumstances, such as imminent danger of bodily injury or imminent destruction of evidence, the reason must be clearly articulated in the report or other required documentation."
A spokesperson said that means if deputies arrived to serve a warrant and heard someone inside yelling for help, they could enter. Otherwise, they have to thoroughly announce their presence before entering.
While the Citrus County Sheriff's Office doesn't have a policy restricting no-knock warrants, a spokesperson said deputies have never used this option, which would require approval through the judicial process.
"We do not prohibit the use of no-knock warrants because they are allowed by Florida State Statute and may be the only way to preserve life in extreme cases," CCSO Sgt. Lee Carey said via e-mail.
Carey said these types of warrants would only be used in an effort to save lives, such as in terrorism or hostage situations.
Bradenton, St. Petersburg, and Tampa Police, along with sheriff's offices in Hillsborough and Hernando Counties, told Spectrum Bay News 9 they do not use no-knock warrants.