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Lawmakers consider revision to no-knock search warrants

Jan 27, 2022, 9:34 PM | Updated: Dec 29, 2022, 11:47 am

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FILE: Officers line up outside the door of a home in Tooele where they are serving a search warrant for suspected sexual exploitation of a minor. Photo credit: Mike Terry, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah lawmakers are considering modifications to existing law that would require police officers with a search warrant to knock and announce themselves multiple times before forcibly entering a home. The proposed changes also raise the bar for when no-knock search warrants can be used.

A House subcommittee voted in favor of House Bill 0124 and the issue now moves to the House floor. 

A similar modification failed in the 2021 Utah Legislative Session. Bill sponsor, Rep. Matthew Gwynn says they’ve made some changes since then.

“For the most part there wasn’t really any conflict with the bill (last year) with the exception of some time issues regarding how long an entry team must wait at a door after knocking and announcing before they breach the door.”

He said most Utah police departments are already doing these things, and that the modifications ensure a standard practice statewide. He also said that the bill would make things safer for officers as well as civilians during a search warrant.

Herriman Deputy Police Chief Cody Stromberg says this bill is good for citizens and officers.

“As we work through these conversations on police reform, we believe that the codification of best practices that we’re already using will go a long way to help foster that public trust.

“It injects a level of accountability into the system that may not exist. So we support the bill,” Stromberg said.

Another aspect of the bill addresses how the officers identify themselves. It would require them to wear readily identifiable markings or clothing that clearly identify them as law enforcement.

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Lawmakers consider revision to no-knock search warrants