Minneapolis police officers will face restrictions on entering a person’s home unannounced under a new policy banning most “no-knock” search warrants, the latest attempt by city leaders to reform police practices.
Starting Monday, officers must identify themselves as “police” and announce their purpose as “search warrant” before entering any domicile — regardless of whether a judge signed off on an “unannounced” or “no-knock” entry. Once inside, officers are instructed to periodically repeat those announcements in case occupants didn’t hear them. The same rules, which mirror those already in place across the river in St. Paul, also apply for arrest warrants, the Star-Tribune reports.
The practice, most often used by SWAT officers, should help maintain the element of surprise and preservation of evidence while eliminating confusion about who’s entering the building, said police spokesman John Elder.
Under new guidelines, no-knock warrants would be acceptable only in high-risk circumstances such as a hostage situation, when “giving an announcement would create an imminent threat of physical harm to victims, officers or the public.”