Senate Passes No-Knock Warrants Bill

The Senate passed a KLC initiative Thursday afternoon that sets new standards for the execution of no-knock warrants.  The Senate voted 33-0 for Senate Bill 4, sending the measure to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Senate President Robert Stivers (R-Manchester) filed Senate Bill 4 after extensive discussion throughout the interim. KLC worked with Stivers on the language of the measure that limits the execution of no-knock warrants.

Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier in the day, Stivers explained that the legislation limits the use of no-knock warrants to cases involving violent crimes or those in which giving prior notice of entry could endanger lives or result in the loss of evidence. Additionally, the bill requires the following:

  • Officers seeking a no-knock warrant obtain approval from their supervisor;
  • Officers consult with a prosecutorial officer;
  • Officers certify that the request has not been taken to another judge and denied; and
  • A legibly printed name and signature of an authorizing judge.

Senate Bill 4 would limit the time a no-knock warrant could be executed to the hours between 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m., except in exigent circumstances. Only qualified and trained law enforcement officers equipped with body-worn cameras could execute a no-knock warrant. Body-worn cameras must record the entire event. “If you don’t have the right skill set and training to do this, you put everybody at risk,” Stivers stated.

The Senate Judiciary Committee also passed House Bill 7. KLC Executive Director/CEO J.D. Chaney testified with the bill’s sponsor, Representative Adam Bowling (R-Middlesboro). The KLC initiative establishes a recovery ready communities advisory council and certification program. Chaney noted that the bill is vital for cities as community leaders work to overcome the negative impact of the state’s substance abuse epidemic. The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.