Search Warrants

Search Warrants

Policy Center Resource

The search warrant is one of the more powerful and valuable tools in the law enforcement arsenal. While the process of applying for and obtaining a search warrant should be familiar to most officers, there are many technical and legal pitfalls that can invalidate a search warrant, lead to the suppression of evidence or dismissal of cases, and have liability implications for involved officers. Therefore, agencies should ensure that all officers have a sound knowledge of the legal requirements associated with obtaining a search warrant in order to prevent suppression of evidence, support the Constitutional rights of citizens and to maintain public confidence in this agency’s mandate to carry out the police function in an ethical and legal manner.

Law enforcement agencies should identify techniques to accomplish a thorough and legal search; respect the constitutional rights of the person(s) the warrant is being served upon; minimize the level of intrusion experienced by those who are having their premises searched; provide for the safety for all persons concerned; and establish a record of the warrant execution process. 

These documents provide guidelines for obtaining and executing a search warrant. 

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