BUNCOMBE COUNTY, N.C. (WSPA) – Buncombe County Sheriff Quentin Miller banned the use of no-knock warrants in a new policy revealed on Tuesday.
The policy, titled “Searches/Search Warrants,” will go into effect following an internal review that includes supervisors within the sheriff’s office.
“This ban on no-knock warrants is both an officer safety and public safety measure,” Sheriff Miller stated in a release. “Entering a residence or business without giving notification is a high-risk endeavor for our personnel and all involved, that level of risk is not warranted.”
The 21-page policy reads, in part:
“Before entering, deputies must knock and give appropriate notice of their identity and purpose to the person in apparent control of the premises to be entered. After announcing their identity and purpose, and if the deputies believe that admittance is being denied or unreasonably delayed, the force necessary to complete the entry may be used.”
7News spoke with the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office after the policy was released Tuesday.
“The sheriff believes everyone is at risk when there’s a no-knock entry,” said Chief Deputy Herbert Blake.
Blake said the sheriff’s office has not executed a no-knock search warrant since Sheriff Miller took office.
“They’re supposed to be surprising,” explained Blake. “That’s why it’s a no-knock warrant. It’s usually executed in the middle of the night, in darkness, and too many things can go wrong quickly. That’s why Sheriff Miller has made this a policy not just a practice.”
No-knock search warrants have been scrutinized for years. 26-year-old Breonna Taylor was fatally shot in 2020 when Louisville Metro Police executed a warrant at her apartment while she was sleeping. In February, 22-year-old Amir Locke was killed when a Minneapolis SWAT Team officer shot him in the apartment where he was staying.
“The warrants were good,” said Blake. “But, the people who died didn’t have to die. They were not on the warrants.”
The Greenville and Anderson County Sheriff’s Offices told 7News they do not execute no-knock search warrants, citing a South Carolina Supreme Court moratorium. In 2020, the court temporarily banned the warrants from being issued in the state.