Frey announces new warrant and entry policy proposal

March 14, 2022

Today, Mayor Jacob Frey joined City leadership and external experts to announce his new standards for the Minneapolis Police Department’s (MPD) warrant and entry policy. The new policy will prohibit the application for, and execution of, all no-knock (unannounced) search warrants within the City of Minneapolis. Under the new policy, MPD will no longer request or respond to requests on behalf of other jurisdictions. The new restrictions will make Minneapolis’ policy among the most forward-looking and extensive in the nation.

The proposed policy makes significant changes and restrictions for both the application for and execution of search warrants, while adding additional layers of accountability to the review process following issuance of a search warrant. The new proposed policy:

  • Prohibits the application for and execution of all no-knock search warrants by the Minneapolis Police Department
  • Requires that officers must continuously knock and announce their presence and purpose prior to entry and implements a minimum wait time of 20 seconds for any warrant and 30 seconds for warrants executed during nighttime hours (8 p.m. until 7 a.m., as defined by state statute)
  • Creates a new risk classification and evaluation system for knock-and-announce search warrants
  • Introduces new, safer entry tactics to deploy when entering a home
  • Enacts a more robust and thorough internal review and accountability process

“Minneapolis has an opportunity to be a leader in warrant and entry policy and best practices nationwide,” said Frey. “We’ve consulted with national experts, listened to community members, and from that feedback we’ve made impactful changes that will help keep both our residents and officers safe. The overarching goal is preservation of life during the execution of search warrants – and this policy moves us in that direction.”

“We hear our community members voicing their need for immediate change and accountability,” said Council President Andrea Jenkins. “This proposed warrant and entry policy is an important step in the right direction to create an opportunity for our police department to make sure they keep our residents safe and rebuild community trust. We all want the same outcomes, and we are working together to make sure we get there.”

“This proposed warrant and entry policy outlines important measures to keep both the public and officers safe,” said Interim Chief Amelia Huffman. “Protecting the sanctity of life is our highest value and I have been working to support the creation of this new direction in partnership with MPD leadership. I look forward to working with Mayor Frey’s staff to finalize the official policy and begin rolling out the new safety measures and additional layers of review and accountability.”

Over the past several weeks, Mayor Frey has convened internal and external reviewers and met with MPD leadership to inform the creation of this new policy proposal. The mayor also received input during engagement sessions with a range of community members who provided valuable feedback on the contours of the policy. Interim Civil Rights Director Alberder Gillespie led a preliminary internal review conducted by the Office of Police Conduct Review. DeRay McKesson and Katie Ryan of Campaign Zero provided feedback and shared data and best practices from other states that have enacted similar policies.

“Good policy is always evolving based on new information,” said Interim Civil Rights Director Alberder Gillespie. “We will continue to review the data around the effectiveness of no-knock warrants – and all warrants – to advise Mayor Frey’s policy decisions. I appreciate the mayor's commitment to a data-informed approach when creating policies like this one.”  

“Over the past 20 years, no-knock raids have hurt and killed far too many black and brown people in this country, including Amir Locke – we are grateful to be supporting Mayor Frey and City leadership in developing one of the most progressive policies in the country to end this deadly practice,” said DeRay McKesson, executive director of Campaign Zero. “The progress being made in Minneapolis demonstrates an appetite for real change, and it is only a start. We will continue to work with community advocates and policymakers around the country to further ban no knock raids everywhere. Today's announcement is a substantial step in the right direction – the search warrant data analysis provided by the Mayor's office is unprecedented and should serve as a model for cities nationwide."

The mayor hosted community conversations with a variety of constituent groups, including representatives from the faith-based community.

“After the tragic killings of George Floyd and more recently Amir Locke by Minneapolis Police, we in the faith community have been calling for the transformation of policing,” said Reverend Curtiss DeYoung, CEO of Minnesota Council of Churches. “We do this out of a sense of justice and because we find ourselves enmeshed in the grief and rage that emerges in families and community. The mayor’s formation of the public safety workgroup and now the reform of no-knock warrants are important steps in the right direction. The prophet Isaiah’s words must guide us, ‘Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed.’”

Knock and Announce Time Requirements

Under the proposed policy, officers must continuously knock and announce presence and purpose for a minimum of 20 seconds prior to entry for all search warrants executed. For warrants served during nighttime hours – defined as 8 p.m. through 7 a.m. by state statute – officers will be required to knock and announce for a minimum of 30 seconds prior to entry. Additionally, any nighttime search warrant for a private residence or business not already under control of officers must be reviewed and approved by the Deputy Chief of Investigations or someone at or above the rank of Deputy Chief.

As provided in state law, officers may still legally enter premises immediately or sooner than 20 seconds if there are exigent circumstances present that indicate imminent harm to a person. This proposed policy would further restrict what specific exigent circumstances are for the City of Minneapolis.

The exigent circumstances include:

  • To prevent imminent harm or to provide emergency aid
  • To prevent imminent destruction or removal of evidence (excluding narcotics)
  • When in hot pursuit
  • To prevent the imminent escape of a suspect

Going forward, if exigent circumstances arise that necessitate immediate entry or entry prior to the expiration of the required time of knocking and announcing, officers must thoroughly document the factors underlying that exigency.

System of Classification and Approvals

The proposed policy creates a new classification and evaluation system for knock-and-announce search warrants that will dictate what type of warrant is executed and what type of methodology is used – the classifications are low-risk, intermediate-risk, and high-risk. For low-risk warrants, forced entries shall not be used, unless dangerous exigent circumstances are present. For intermediate-risk warrants, two supervisors must approve the warrant in advance and for high-risk warrants, a Commander or above must approve the warrant in advance. For high-risk, nighttime warrants must be approved by the Deputy Chief of Investigations or someone at or above the rank of Deputy Chief. Only SWAT will execute high-risk warrants.

Safer Entry Tactics

In all circumstances, new methodology for personnel and technology resources will be used. For example, instead of continuing to enter into the premises after reaching the minimum time of knocking an announcing, MPD personnel will attempt to safely gain control by means of establishing containment of the location, verbally contacting any occupants to elicit cooperation, or directing occupants to a secured area. New tactics will focus on the use of specialized equipment, technology, and trained personnel to navigate potentially dangerous situations effectively and safely. In addition, officers executing search warrants will be required to be readily visually identifiable as police. These new tactics and resources prioritize the safety of the warrant subject, community members, and officers by limiting physical contact and increasing opportunities for peaceful resolution.

Improved Review and Accountability

The City will build a public-facing, online dashboard to track forced entries executed by MPD. Non-sworn roles will review high-risk and nighttime warrants immediately following the execution of the warrant and a longer-term audit plan will ensure all policies and procedures are effective and in line with best practices.

As the policy rolls out, Mayor Frey is also exploring the addition of a new mechanism to proactively return property seized that is not used in a criminal case, as well as new expedited processes for repairing physical damages sustained.

The proposed policy direction will be sent immediately to MPD to begin crafting an official policy. Public rollout and a comment period will follow. The City intends to implement the policy within the next month. Until then, the prohibition on all no-knock or unannounced entry warrants will remain in place.