A Weber County drug raid that turned into a lethal gunbattle has spawned legislation that would limit when and how police can execute search warrants.
HB70, sponsored by Rep. Marc Roberts, R-Santaquin, won unanimous approval Tuesday from the House Judiciary Committee, a week after concerns from law enforcement held up the measure.
Roberts’ bill would require officers to announce they are police, unless such an announcement would likely lead to the destruction of evidence.
On Jan. 4, 2012, the Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force served a knock-and-announce warrant at Matthew David Stewart’s Ogden home. During the ensuing gunfight, Agent Jared Francom was killed and five other officers were wounded. Sixteen pot plants were found in the house after the raid.
Stewart was charged with aggravated murder and committed suicide in the Weber County jail in May 2013.
"We’ve had a number of incidences in the past that we’re aware of that have caused concern," said Rep. Brian King, D-Salt Lake City. "I, like all of my colleagues in the Legislature, appreciate the efforts of our law enforcement community and they are every day putting their lives on the line. And I want to make sure we make some adjustments in this area that both ensure their safety and ensure the safety of the public at large."
The bill now goes to the full House.
— Robert Gehrke
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