Texas civil rights group wants changes to ‘no-knock’ policing

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas Civil Rights Project members want to change the way some law enforcement agencies execute search warrants.

The group says it should be mandatory for an officer or deputy to knock and announce themselves before entering a home. But that’s not what most departments currently do.

A deputy with Burleson County was shot and killed in December by the homeowner after entering a home without knocking.

“We’re trying to encourage everyone to develop written policies and what the standards are with the idea we can avoid these types of situations,” said Jim Harrington with the TCRP.

Right now, every department is different. Some don’t even have written policies in place when it comes to knock and announce.

One of those departments is the Travis County Sheriff’s Office. A spokesperson for the sheriff’s office says they don’t have a written policy in place because they don’t think they need one, and whether they knock and announce themselves depends on the case.

“If it’s a no-knock warrant, there has to be something in place,” said Roger Wade, Travis County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson. “Some kind of a probable cause its necessary…judge has to agree to that and approve it.”

Scenes where SWAT teams execute search warrants play out in Central Texas every day.

The sheriff’s office says everyone goes through training to do everything they can to keep everyone, including the suspect, safe.

The Austin Police Department says their department practice is to always knock and identify themselves before entering a home. But in special cases they can ask a judge to approve a no-knock order.

 

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