Killeen Police Hold on No-Knock Warrants Lifted After Review
After placing a 90-day suspension on no-knock warrants back in June, the Killeen Police Department announced today that the practice will resume, but with a few changes in place.
In a document released Monday, October 5, Chief of Police Charles Kimble declared that the Killeen Police Department will not serve a narcotics-only no-knock search warrant. No-knock warrants will still be used in some cases involving murder suspects, hostage situations, suspects considered violent and dangerous, or "any exigent circumstances that meet the warrant criteria".
In the spirit of transparency, Chief Kimble will adopt the following recommendations made by a committee comprised of police and non-police citizens to improve transparency:
Adding no-knock search warrant information to the Killeen Police Department's website to inform the public and show how infrequently they're obtained and used
Including information on the department's website to educate the public about the process by which warrants are obtained and served, and to hold all parties accountable
Preparing pre-planned responses to cases in which a warrant service "goes bad"
"Our goal and our mission at the Killeen Police Department is to reduce crime, to reduce the fear of crime, and to enhance public safety," Chief Kimble wrote. "In order to do our jobs efficiently and as safe as possible for everyone, we may sometimes have to conduct a No-Knock search warrant. However, before that takes place, we want you, the community, to understand that there are updated procedures that are followed."
Those procedures, Kimble wrote, require that any detective seeking a no-knock warrant meet with Chief Kimble for approval before any such warrant can be presented to a judge.
"I understand the public perception is that we are constantly obtaining and serving No-Knock warrants," Kimble wrote. "However, that is not factually true."
According to Kimble, KPD has only obtained twenty-three search warrants since January 1, 2020, six of which were no-knocks. Of those six, Kimble wrote, only four were actually served.
Chief Kimble directed citizens to this page on the City of Killeen's website for information about the police department's procedures and efforts at transparency.
No-knock warrants became a matter of national controversy after the death of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky on March 13, 2020.
Here in Killeen, however, they've been a topic of fierce debate for some time, and that debate flared up again after James Scott Reed was killed as police served a no-knock warrant at a home on West Hallmark Avenue on February 27, 2019.
During the course of an investigation into the raid that resulted in Reed's death, it was determined that officer Anthony Custance fired two rounds into the back of the house, then tried to conceal that fact. Although police say those rounds did not strike anyone, Custance was charged with tampering with evidence and resigned from the force.