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Topeka City Council approves ban of no knock warrants

Published: Jul. 21, 2020 at 10:30 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Topeka police policy against no-knock search warrants is now city ordinance. The practice has been part of national discussions over police reforms.

After Tuesday's city council meeting-- Topeka judges will no longer be able to order a no knock warrant.

“It’s when a warrant is signed and it is executed when law enforcement goes to the house or the building or whatever and there is no knock or announcement, it’s basically a forced unannounced entry to serve a warrant.”

Topeka Police Chief Bill Cochran says the department has not executed a no knock search in years.

“You know we don’t practice that we knock and announce on our warrants and it is something we’ve done for a long time in the city of Topeka so it’s just a practice we don’t do and a lot of that has to do with it being a public safety hazard to all involved.”

Councilman Spencer Duncan introduced the proposal, he said he was aware that Topeka Police didn’t practice the tactic-- but he didn’t want to leave it as an option for future leaders.

“It’s always nice when you get to work on council members that closely on something. There were some wording changes that he didn’t like, there were some wording changes that myself and the deputy chief didn’t like and then there was some wording changes that the council didn’t like.”

After taking a week to re-construct the language of the proposal the council voted to approve it, 8 to 1.

Christina Valdivia Alcala voted no, because of some of the changes.

“It’s really neat how all of the parties came together and at the end of the day we got what was initially accomplished which we put in to effect that no knock warrants won’t be executed or even asked for by the Topeka Police Department.”

The Council also approved changing a building's classification and the creation of an infrastructure review group.

The AT& T Building in downtown Topeka, recently purchased by 220 SE 6th Street, will be removed from the Dynamic Core Redevelopment District. This removal will make the building eligible for a 10-year tax exemption the company requested last month to help with repairs and improvements.

The Council also authorized the establishment of a Public Infrastructure Review committee, which will review public infrastructure projects and make recommendations to the governing body.

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