Entrance to the State Legislature of Nevada in Carson City
The Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday heard arguments for legislation that would make it a lot harder for police to get a no-knock warrant allowing them to essentially break into a defendant’s residence without warning.
Senate Bill 50 would limit no-knock warrants to just those circumstances where warning the suspect police are at the door would endanger the lives of the officers or other persons such as the victim of a domestic battery inside.
Attorney General Aaron Ford proposed an amendment to the bill that would add further requirements before such a warrant could be signed by a judge including requiring officers involved to wear body cameras and limiting officers to only that force that is reasonable and necessary to forcible entry.
Before getting that warrant, law enforcement must demonstrate that the underlying crime involves a significant and imminent threat to public safety and that giving notice would create an imminent danger to the life of the officers or others.
Ford told the committee members that no-knock warrants are seldom used in Nevada.
There was no testimony in opposition to SB50 but several groups including the ACLU of Nevada spoke in favor of the legislation and Ford’s amendment they said strengthened the bill.
The police and sheriff’s association and Nevada DA’s association testified that, while they initially supported SB50, they are neutral until reviewing the proposed amendment.
The committee took no action on SB50.