LEXINGTON, Ky. (WDKY) – Lexington Police Chief Lawrence Weathers is weighing in on the debate surrounding the department’s use of no-knock warrants.
Earlier this month, Councilmember James Brown introduced an ordinance that would ban the department from executing no-knock warrants. Chief Weathers says they are a tool, but agrees they should not be taken lightly.
Chief Weathers says since in the last five years, the department has only executed four no-knock warrants. He does believe some agencies use them too much, but not his department.
He says he believes there is a common misconception about how they are used, saying it’s not a situation of officers sneaking up to a door and crashing in. There is extensive training. The set practice is to use them in situations when there is a known danger. For example, a suspect who has a history of violence, or has made threats about harming officers.
“If you don’t get in there quickly and the information you’ve received is that the person might fire some shots or something like that, those could go outside and that could endanger the public. Keeping it contained is our main goal,” Chief Weathers said.
Several Black faith leaders have called for quicker action banning the warrants and are critical of a new ordinance requiring officers to wait a reasonable time before entering. They said police should wait 30 seconds. Chief Weathers believes a reasonable time is safer for everyone involved.
“I think a reasonable amount of time, that should be the standard. It should be up to the officers because once you get up to that door, situations change, and once you start adding specific times, you don’t give officers enough time to react to those situations,” Chief Weathers said.
The ordinance that would ban no-knock warrant is set to go before full council in June.