PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. – The Pinellas County Sheriff says deputies will officially no longer serve no-knock or dynamic entry search warrants unless in rare circumstances that require supervisor approval.
What You Need To Know
- Written policy doesn’t allow “no-knock” or dynamic entry warrants
- Sheriff says practice was informally put in place years ago
- “No amount of drugs is worth anyone’s life,” sheriff says
Sheriff Bob Gualtieri announced on Monday a written and formal change to the agency’s search warrant policy.
That new policy states the preservation of life is a paramount consideration when serving a warrant. No-knock warrants are often used in drug cases nationwide.
“Simply put, in my view, no amount of drugs is worth anyone’s life, whether it’s a law enforcement officer or a suspect,” Gualtieri said.
The sheriff says that means “no-knock” or “dynamic entry” warrants will not be served unless authorized by a division commander.
That’s the same kind of warrant that was used by Louisville police this past March when they burst into Breonna Taylor’s apartment.
Fearing it was a home invasion, her boyfriend fired one shot.
Police responded by firing more than 20 shots and killed Taylor.
The case has gotten nationwide attention as a symbol of racial injustice and police impunity.
“What it did for me, without a doubt, is to absolutely re-enforce for me that what we’re doing is the right thing. That what we’re doing is the best practice,” Gualtieri said.
The sheriff pointed out the official policy is not a reaction to the Taylor case, because it’s something the agency informally put into place eight years ago.
Monday’s move just made it official.
In July, the sheriff announced that most Pinellas law enforcement agencies will no longer investigate themselves when an officer uses deadly force.