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Washington, D.C., Cop Board Admits: We Need Retraining In 4th Amendment

June 13, 2013 by  

The Washington D.C. Police Department’s board of police complaints issued a report Wednesday that recommends the city’s beat officers be retrained on when it’s legal to enter someone’s home without a warrant.

The report comes in response to a recent surge in the number of complaints the department’s received concerning officers illegally gaining entrance to residents’ homes without warrants or permission — a violation of 4th amendment limits on State searches and seizures.

According to The Washington Times, reports of illegal searches and entries make up 14 percent of the hundreds of complaints the D.C. police complaint board has received since 2009. It received 574 complaints in 2012 alone.

Sadly, though, the board doesn’t think the problem is systemic, saying only 12 of those complaints “raise valid concerns about unlawful entries into private homes.” Worse, Chief Cathy L. Lanier said the board’s findings, however meager, still aren’t lenient enough.

“The MPD [Metropolitan Police Department] most certainly supports all efforts to reduce incidences of police misconduct; however MPD believes the OPC [Office of Police Complaints] report inaccurately depicts a systemic problem, and that current policy and procedures are sufficient to prevent warrantless entries into private homes,” wrote Lanier in a response to the report.

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

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