Kentucky warrant task force begins discussion on reform

Updated: May. 24, 2021 at 9:21 PM EDT
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The Attorney General announced the formation of the panel earlier this month.
The Attorney General announced the formation of the panel earlier this month.(WAVE 3 News)
The task force held its first meeting Monday.
The task force held its first meeting Monday.(WAVE 3 News)

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WAVE) - A new panel created after the death of Breonna Taylor set out Monday to look into how the process of serving search warrants could be transformed across Kentucky.

Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced the panel’s creation this month.

Taylor was never specifically mentioned during the meeting Monday, but an executive order laying out the formation of the search warrant task force detailed how her death helped set it in motion.

The executive order states Taylor’s death and other recent events have brought up questions concerning the way search warrants are secured, reviewed, and executed. Taylor was shot and killed by Louisville Metro Police Department officers who were serving a warrant at her home last year.

The group is made up of 18 members.

The task force will be divided into three subcommittees specifically focused on those potential areas of concern, including securing, reviewing and the serving of warrants.

It will meet once a month through December and arrange meetings in different locations across Kentucky.

Potential recommendations for change are expected near the end of the year.

“I’m really hopeful that this process will allow people to have a stronger confidence in the process,” Cameron said. “We’re not here to cast aspersions on anyone, but I do think it’s important periodically for the AG’s office to lead a constructive conversation.”

The first meeting primarily included introductions and a presentation on the origins of warrants in America by a UofL law professor.

Potential goals already discussed by members include the desire to do a top-to-bottom review of how warrant processes work in different jurisdictions in Kentucky and elsewhere; to look into technology and strategies that could help track the process; and to educate the public, and gain its trust.

Some members though noted the composition of the board, largely made up of legal and law enforcement backgrounds, was dwarfing voices from ordinary people or those working on behalf of people who are having warrants executed against them.

Denise Bentley, a former Democrat Louisville Metro Councilwoman who is representing citizens at-large on the panel, asked for reassignment of her sub-committee with that thought in mind Monday.

“I’m not sure it’s a concern,” Bentley said. “I just believe things need to balanced. I felt from the beginning with the composition of the taskforce, which I think is a great group of people, that I’m the non-law law enforcement person. I think ‘securing’ is where the rubber meets the road when we have problems with search warrants.”

Several members of the panel are state lawmakers. Some potential recommendations from the task force could fall into the hands of the legislature in 2022.

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