The task force was formed by executive order after the death of Breonna Taylor – a Louisville EMT who was killed by police in March of 2020 after they executed a no-knock warrant.Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron has charged the group with reviewing the search warrant process in Kentucky.
The task force includes members of the judiciary, legislators, law enforcement, prosecutors, the Public Advocate, local officials, a representative of the NAACP and citizen members. They are expected to develop best practices for the “effective and safe execution of search warrants in the Commonwealth with the goal of establishing Kentucky’s search warrant process as a national model,” according to his office.
“I appreciate the men and women who have agreed to join the task force and give their time and knowledge in service to the Commonwealth,” Cameron said. “My hope is that the group’s review of our search warrant process will improve public safety by ensuring that Kentucky utilizes best practices when securing and executing search warrants.”
Last month, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear signed a bill into law that sets restrictions on warrants authorizing entry without notice, more commonly known as no-knock warrants. The legislation came a little more than a year after Taylor’s death.
While there are conflicting reports from police and bystanders as to whether police announced themselves during the incident, her death spurred a national conversation about the use of this type of warrant.
The new law doesn’t outlaw no-knock warrants outright, as the city of Louisville did last summer, but it does limit the circumstances in which these warrants can be used.
Some of the most notable changes from current procedure include reserving no-knock warrants for situations that could be considered violent or an emergency, such as a kidnapping.
It does leave some room for interpretation for these scenarios, but it requires these warrants be approved by a supervisor and the highest-ranking officer in the department. Consultation with the jurisdiction’s county-level attorney is also required. And all officers must have clear identification and some type of body camera or audio-visual equipment activated during the process.
The task force will announce the date of its first meeting in the coming days.
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