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Thread: Question for LEOs

  1. #1
    The Angels Have The Phone Box moonwatch178's Avatar
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    Question for LEOs

    Hi all,
    I have some questions about some of the practicalities re: execution of a search warrant. (I'm fairly familiar with the legalities, so less interested in those).

    For instance, what is a typical perimeter setup?
    What happens after the initial security sweep?
    Average time spent conducting a search?
    Is the place kept under watch until the search is complete?
    Average number of people present and detained?
    SOP for logging anything removed from the scene?

    Obviously it'll differ based on the subject of the warrant, but I could really use some information. If it helps, I'll pose two different scenarios. The first being a search warrant involving a person at a third party residence. The second being a search warrant for a small object. Thanks in advance!
    Query on my wayward son...

  2. #2
    practical experience, FTW cornflake's Avatar
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    You need more info -- where, like a big city department or a small town?

    Where like a stand-alone house, an apartment, an office building?

    What type of thing/situation? There's a big difference between executing a warrant looking for a murder weapon used in a gang killing and a warrant looking for a laptop involved in a white-collar crime.

  3. #3
    The Angels Have The Phone Box moonwatch178's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cornflake View Post
    You need more info -- where, like a big city department or a small town?

    Where like a stand-alone house, an apartment, an office building?

    What type of thing/situation? There's a big difference between executing a warrant looking for a murder weapon used in a gang killing and a warrant looking for a laptop involved in a white-collar crime.
    Right now I'm trying to look at averages in general, but for purposes of a better tailored answer.

    Stand-alone house.
    PD for a mid-sized city as opposed to county, state, or federal law enforcement. (ignoring task forces and coop agreements for the moment)

    Two thing(s) scenarios:
    Scenario One: object being a murder weapon in a killing
    Scenario Two: object being some ledgers
    Query on my wayward son...

  4. #4
    practical experience, FTW
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    First, read the warrant, and supporting affidavit. A search warrant must articulate the evidence being sought; and the conduct of the search must be reasonable in that regard (one can't look in a locked jewelry box for a stolen 65" flat screen TV). Now a search for documentation/records (papers, data files, etc.) can be extensive (one can look virtually everywhere within the named location).

    There is no "typical perimeter set-up"; circumstances vary--adjust as necessary.

    The "security sweep" removes all residents/guests from the area to be searched (for their own safety, and that of the officers on the scene). They may be held in a secure location or released, as circumstances warrant.

    Absent specific instructions within the warrant, generally there is no time factor limiting duration of the search (although reasonableness is a consideration).

    For the duration of the search, the location is secured (think manned perimeter) for safety (as described above) and to maintain the integrity of the process and the chain of custody of any evidence found.

    The number of persons present and/or detained will vary per circumstances.

    SOP for found evidence will vary per jurisdiction/agency policies. Typically, found evidence is photographed in situ, placed in an appropriate container, location/date/time recorded & signed/initialed by the finder, and secured/removed from the scene.

    At the conclusion of the execution of the search warrant, an inventory list of all evidence recovered is prepared, a copy of which is usually left on the scene (typically with a copy of the search warrant). The scene, if to be left unattended, is secured, and the search team departs.

    The search warrant is duly executed (signed by the officer in charge) and returned, with the inventory list, to the clerk of court for the official court record.

    Bear in mind this is a generic procedure typically followed by US LE agencies/ departments. Expect variations based on the diversity of jurisdictions and agency/department policies.

  5. #5
    practical experience, FTW
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    From the title, I thought this was an astrology thread.

    caw
    Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it.

    -- Terry Pratchett

  6. #6
    Benefactor Member WeaselFire's Avatar
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    Keep in mind that most warrant searches are non-violent and a simple door knock allows access. These don't make the news so you never hear about them. There are very few no-knock warrants where a SWAT team kicks in doors and drags everyone out. And most warrants are not for people but for known objects. Heck, I know a number that have been served where the suspect's attorney met the officers at the door and directed them to or handed them the objects under warrant.

    Warrant service is one of the areas that TV and movies way over glamorize. And the vast majority of warrants don't get overturned in court, they are very well researched and prepared.

    Jeff

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