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Mayor Jones signs order banning no-knock warrants in St. Louis

Mayor Tishaura Jones and interim police chief John Hayden listen in
Brian Munoz
St. Louis Public Radio
Mayor Tishaura Jones and St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief John Hayden listen as Lt. Col. Michael Sack is presented as the next interim chief for the police department during a press conference May 18 at City Hall.

Mayor Tishaura Jones signed an executive order Tuesday prohibiting the use of “no-knock” warrants in the city of St. Louis.

No-knock warrants allow police to enter a property without announcing themselves. Now, police in the city will have to audibly announce they have a search warrant at least three times before entering a residence on the basis of a warrant.

“This is a part of our commitment to reimagining and improving public safety,” Jones said. “We’re taking a look at all of our policies and procedures, and no-knock warrants was one of them.”

In 2020, the city passed legislation limiting the use of these warrants in drug cases, and in 2021, the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department didn’t use no-knock warrants at all.

The policing method has been a focus of national criminal justice reform efforts in recent years, especially after Louisville police shot and killed Breonna Taylor in her apartment in 2020 while serving a no-knock warrant.

The method has also been the subject of scrutiny in St. Louis. In 2017, a team of police officers with a no-knock warrant killed Don Clark Sr., according to a federal lawsuit the family filed against the police department. That same year, Isaiah Hammett was killed during a “no-knock raid,” according to ArchCity Defenders.

Jones said her administration is coordinating with Alderwoman Shameem Clark Hubbard to introduce a bill to strengthen the police department’s Civilian Oversight Board and pointed to the recently passed detention facilities oversight board as another way her office is working to reform public safety.

“I do think that policing is moving in the right direction in St. Louis,” Jones said. “I want to make sure that we’re deploying the right resource to the right call, and that may not always be an officer. That could be a licensed clinical social worker or other behavioral health professional or community health worker.”

Follow Kate on Twitter: @KGrumke

Kate Grumke covers higher education and the many school districts in the region for St. Louis Public Radio.

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