IMPD announces end to no-knock warrants

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INDIANAPOLIS – No-knock warrants will no longer be authorized for Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officers. IMPD Chief Randal Taylor made the announcement on Wednesday.

The police chief explained that eliminating no-knock warrants was a simple risk versus reward decision. The dangers outweighed the benefits.

For years, when serving some search warrants looking for drugs or illegal guns, IMPD had the option to use a no-knock approach. In other words, heavily armed officers would break down doors without knocking. It’s a practice many found troubling.

“Information came from officers and community leaders that didn’t like no-knock,” said IMPD Chief Randal Taylor.

Chief Taylor explained the no-knock approach was often used in drug cases to avoid giving suspects time to flush evidence down the toilet, but admits not knocking at times led to violence.

“We don’t want to put our officers in jeopardy. We don’t want the community to be concerned, so we’re going to announce our presence,” said Taylor.

A procedural notice sent to the entire department details that officers must knock and announce their presence, crossing out a line that allowed for exceptions to the rule.

“It should put both sides at ease. I’m always concerned about officers’ safety and also perceptions from the public, and we will listen to things,” said Taylor.

For their part, officials with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) praised the chief’s decision.

“No-knock warrants have played a dangerous role in the militarization of policing. It has been used to harm police officers and innocent civilians. So we’re excited IMPD listened to the community and will no longer use no-knock warrants,” said Katie Blair with ACLU.

Rick Snyder, president of the local Fraternal Order of Police, added, “Indy’s law enforcement officers, especially those in our specialty units, continue to seek ways to remain effective in addressing crime and violence while being able to return safely to their families each night.”

If IMPD is asked to assist other agencies performing a no-knock search, officers will be there in support, but won’t enter the building.

Protesters have been calling for police to ban no-knock warrants nationwide. Breonna Taylor was killed by Lousiville police back in March when officers served a no-knock warrant.

According to IMPD, a no-knock warrant is an order issued by a judge that authorizes law enforcement officers to enter certain premises without first knocking and announcing the officers’ presence and purpose in situations where an announcement prior to entry would lead to the destruction of evidence or safety concerns.

“Our continued dialogue with residents has allowed us to better understand what they expect of us as a police department and make changes that benefit all in our community,” said Chief Taylor. “Ending the authorization of no-knock warrants is a significant step for IMPD, one that has been championed by the men and women of this agency, as well as the neighbors they serve.”

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