2.9.21 – WOFL-TV – ORLANDO, Fla.
Every time law enforcement officers walk up to a suspect’s door to serve a warrant, they take a risk.
“There’s so many tangibles you have to look at. Are there children in the house? How close are the neighbors? What time of day is the service going to be? What is the criminal history of the suspect?” asked Lt. Ralph McDuffie, Lake County Sheriff’s Office Tactical Commander.
McDuffie runs the Lake County Sheriff’s office SWAT team. Like many first responders, he mourns for the FBI agents killed and wounded in south Florida, when a suspect shot them through the door while they approached his house. That suspect spotted the agents with a doorbell camera.
Mina said they have tools and tactics they use, too. “Our tactics are usually to surround, use an amplified sound device, and call the people out in order to end the situation peacefully.”
In some situations, McDuffie said they use more advanced technology.
“We can hail them through the door with a robot. There are many, many solutions, and those are just a couple that are out there. We have drones. Quite frankly, we can fly a drone to the front door.”
McDuffie said careful planning goes into serving search warrants.
“We do a pre-planned mission threat assessment. That’s a documented assessment form that looks at all that stuff.”
The way law enforcement delivers warrants has been under scrutiny since police shot bystander Breonna Taylor to death during a botched drug investigation.
Florida law prohibits so-called “no-knock warrants,” with very few exceptions,” like when someone’s life could be in danger, or the suspect starts destroying evidence.