By Bob Katzen
The House 83-76, approved an amendment to a section of the bill which sets the rules under which a judge can issue a “no-knock warrant” that does not require a law enforcement officer to knock and announce his or her presence and purpose before forcibly entering a residence. The measure requires the request for the warrant to establish probable cause that if the law enforcement officer announces their presence, then their life or the lives of others will be endangered.
The amendment would require that the police officer filing the affidavit swear that he or she has no reason to believe that minor children or adults over the age of 65 are in the home.
Amendment supporters said the amendment would wisely limit the use of no-knock warrants. They cited cases in which young children and senior citizens were accidentally shot by police executing a no-knock warrant.
“The bill already limits the scope surrounding issuance of no-knock warrants to matters where weapons are present, and for life-safety concerns,” said Rep. Whelan. “The amendment further restricts the issuance of no-knock warrants, even when weapons and firearms are believed to be present and compromises the safety of the police officers serving these warrants in highly dangerous situations.”
(A “Yes” vote is for requiring that the filing officer swear that he or she has no reason to believe that minor children or adults over the age of 65 are in the home. A “No” vote is against requiring it.)