OPD: No ‘Willful Misconduct’ in No-Knock Search Warrant

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Five officers were reprimanded following an internal investigation regarding a no-knock search warrant that took place back in January, according to the Odessa Police Department. 

The search warrant was executed on Jan. 29 at the America’s Best Value Inn, 3023 E. Highway 80. 

Police officials say the officers involved in executing the warrant “used an unauthorized cooperating individual,” and the cooperating individual did not have the required file. 

The Professional Standards Unit Investigation also found that the officers involved failed to correctly identify and confirm the location of the criminal activity. 

During the search, officers entered room #225 which was vacant, according to previous reports. 

Officers then reportedly made a “split-second” decision and breached the next room (#226) at the hotel where suspects were located. 

When reviewing the warrant, officers realized that on the warrant room #225 had been listed, police say. 

The suspects in the room were held “pending the production of a second search warrant,” police say in a release. 

In the investigation, police determined that the breach of room #226 was “not illegal because the conduct of the officers prior to their entry into room #226 was lawful, there was no violation or threatened violation of the Fourth Amendment, and therefore the exigent circumstance rule applied and allowed for the entry and securing of room #226,” the release reads. 

Room #226 was then secured, and before it was search, police advised officers to obtain a new search warrant, police say. 

“Ultimately the (PSU) investigation revealed there was no willful misconduct on the part of any officers, however there were errors in communication and standard operating procedure which led to the improperly executed warrant,” a statement in the release reads. \

As such, five officers were reprimanded and violated a number of police policies.

The violations include:

Sgt. Caleb Lacey – 1 Shift suspension. 

  • OPD Standard Operating Procedure
  • Cooperating individuals
  • Use of cooperating individuals
  • Controlled purchases by a CI
  • Standards of conduct
  • Conduct on duty
  • Accountability
  • Orders and discipline
  • Unsatisfactory performance

Cpl. Lyle Hahn – Verbal reprimand

  • Standard operating procedures
  • Criminal investigations
  • Narcotics investigation
  • Orders and discipline
  • Unsatisfactory performance

Narcotics Sgt – Written reprimand

  • Standard operating procedures
  • standards of conduct – conduct on duty
  • Accountability 
  • Orders and Discipline
  • Unsatisfactory performance

Two Narcotics Cpls. – Written reprimand

  • OPD Standard operating procedures
  • police and legal requirements of investigations
  • Orders and discipline
  • Unsatisfactory performance. 

A statement from the department regarding the findings reads: 

“It is apparent this incident was a result of both procedural and clerical mistakes in the initial operation. In addition to the above discipline, the (OPD) has used this incident to lean and grow and has made several adjustments, implemented changes and sent officer to training as a result.”

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