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No-Knock Warrants? Sheriff Martinez Gives His Take On Controversial Practice

Summit County Sheriff's Office

Due to current events, a number of policing practices are being scrutinized and debated.   One of those is the no-knock warrant.

Asked about that, Summit County Sheriff Justin Martinez said he would not abolish no-knock searches.    But he says they are more the exception than the rule.  

The Sheriff said there are circumstances where a no-knock search is warranted.     

“We had a no-knock search warrant that we assisted Heber City in last year where we had three members of a Mexican cartel gang that had committed murders in California.  Very heavily armed, they were staying at a hotel.  We were asked by the Department of California, I believe is who it was, or one of the Sheriff’s officers there to serve the search warrant on them.  That’’s not a type of situation where we would want to go up and knock on the door and announce our presence.  They’re obviously on the run for committing murders, had multiple other outstanding warrants.”

However, he said they use a matrix to evaluate when a no-knock event is needed.       

“And that matrix is mandated by the government.  And if the matrix doesn’t fit the no-knock, then, no, we do not serve no-knock warrants at all.   And we don’t really generally serve em for drug warrants either.  There has to be a connection between weapons and warrants and a really bad player in connection with just drugs.   Or somebody has just a pound of marijuana, and that’s it and they have no violent tendencies, we do not use that as a reason to do a no-knock search warrant.  But yes, they do have their place, but it’s more the exception that the rule.”

Summit County Sheriff Justin Martinez.

Known for getting all the facts right, as well as his distinctive sign-off, Rick covered Summit County meetings and issues for 35 years on KPCW. He now heads the Friday Film Review team.
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