More than a year and a half after Breonna Taylor’s death by police, draft recommendations were submitted Monday by the Attorney General’s Search Warrant Task Force. But some members are concerned that the most meaningful changes won’t make it through. Arlo Barnette reports.
Attorney General Daniel Cameron has been meeting with the task force to review Kentucky's search warrant process since May. Recommendations now include developing a digital platform for filing search warrants and an online portal so that the public can find warrant info. Former Louisville Metro Councilwoman Denise Bentley:
"It was highly recommended that there's a graphic public interface where the public can go onto a website [to search] by county, by zip code, and look at--not anything related to addresses or locations, but simply zip codes--look at residential and business warrants as well as electronic warrants . . . It's important to keep the public informed in that process."
Another recommendation called for standardizing the threat assessment process for all police departments in the state, but the idea received some pushback. Other contentious recommendations included limiting the hours during which warrants can be served, sending social workers to scenes where children may be present, and creating new guidelines for the "staleness" of intelligence that justifies a search warrant.
Public Advocate Damon Preston said although he appreciates the months of effort made by the task force, he feels the recommendations on the table fall short.
"I'm concerned about how 'vanilla' the recommendations out of this task force may be. As Judge Cunningham said, he mentioned the Breonna Taylor case. Certainly that played an impact on this, and one thing I've been thinking over the entire time that this task force has existed is: 'if we had done this five years ago, would anything have been different?' And listening to the recommendations I don't know that a single recommendation that's being made would have made the outcome any different."
Representative Ed Massey said he sees the work as ongoing, and that means moving forward on what they can.
"So I think we have to take some of the stuff that we're recommending, and apply it, implement it, and then see several months down the road: 'is it working?'"
The Search Warrant Task Force will vote on the recommendations at their next meeting on December 9th.