Birmingham Police Revise Policies To Disallow No-Knock Warrants

Mayor Randall Woodfin with Birmingham Police Chief Patrick Smith at a press conference

The City of Birmingham's Facebook Page

Birmingham police will no longer use no-knock warrants such as the one that led to the death of Breonna Taylor in Louisville last year.

Mayor Randall L. Woodfin, Police Chief Patrick Smith and Thomas Beavers, senior pastor of The Star Church, announced that and several other revisions to police policies and procedures during an event Tuesday. The revisions are part of an ongoing review of police procedures begun because of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Changes to the BPD’s search warrant application and service policy include language stating that the department does not authorize no-knock search warrants, according to a statement released by Woodfin’s office. With a no-knock warrant, police may enter a home or other location without announcing themselves first.

The changes were designed to centralize search warrants and to create a process to ensure those who secure the warrant provide the information needed by those who serve the warrant, according to the statement. The new policy also requires a risk assessment before a warrant can be served. It disallows devices such as “flash bangs” unless the risk assessment specifies their use or extreme circumstances call for their use. And it calls for a debriefing report from personnel involved within 48 hours of a warrant being served.

“This new process protects citizens, and it protects police,” Woodfin said in the statement.

“This has been an ongoing evolution of updating policy and procedure,” said Chief Smith. “We are going to work to reevaluate all of our policy to make sure we are implementing best practices in law enforcement while keeping the community safe and our officers safe.”

Beavers, who is part of a group of faith leaders who have met regularly with Smith about policing policies, praised the announcement.

“I have had the opportunity with various churches from throughout Birmingham to have a series of meetings with the police chief over the last six or seven months concerning police reform,” Beavers said. “We understand the power and historical capital we have in Birmingham in order to bring change especially in police reform.”


You’re Right, It Has Been Raining More Than Usual This Summer In Birmingham

Rainfall was higher than normal this summer across much of Central Alabama.

Gulf State Schools Had Mask Mandates Last Fall. That Isn’t The Case This Year.

The coronavirus pandemic’s fourth wave has not changed state-wide back-to-school plans in the Gulf South, where cases are rising and mask use is voluntary.

ACLU Of Alabama’s Director Looks To The ‘Next Iteration Of The Civil Rights Movement’

JaTaune Bosby, the first Black woman to lead the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama, took the job during a tumultuous time in the country with the pandemic and last year’s summer of racial reckoning.

Jefferson County Commissioners Look For Ways To Stop Illegal Dumping

The amount of illegal dumping of trash in Jefferson County is "concerning," says county commissioners. They say more needs to be done to address the problem, which could include more stringent penalties.

More Extreme Weather In Gulf States Means More Power Outages. Are Energy Companies Ready For It?

The 2021 Atlantic hurricane season is likely to be as active as last year’s, when thousands in the Gulf South were without power for weeks after hurricanes Laura, Zeta, Cristobal and Delta. With that increased activity comes a bigger threat to the region’s power grid. How prepared are Gulf States’ energy companies for the threat to come?

Alabama Sees ‘Unprecedented’ Surge In COVID-19 Hospitalizations

Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said the increase is linked to the more contagious Delta variant, coupled with Alabama’s low vaccination rate.

More BirminghamWatch Coverage