JAMESTOWN – A discussion regarding the possibility of purchasing more body cameras for the Jamestown Police Department turned into talks about the idea of “no-knock” warrants during a Jamestown City Council Work Session Monday evening.
Councilman Brent Sheldon (R, Ward 1) asked Acting Police Chief Tim Jackson about certain situations that officers don’t utilize body cameras, such as the execution of “no-knock” and other various warrants. Jackson says officers wouldn’t wear them because of safety issues that they could face.
“That phrase “no-knock” warrant has really gotten people’s minds after the Breonna Taylor murder in Louisville,” Sheldon said. “That’s why I’m concerned about that because there was no body cam footage from that that I’m aware of.”
Jackson says other departments typically don’t use body cameras during such warrants.
Councilwoman Marie Carrubba (D, Ward 4) asked Jackson how many “no-knock” warrants are executed by JPD, on average. He says it ranges from 12-24 a year.
Councilwoman Vickeye James (D, Ward 3) echoed Sheldon’s sentiments while also saying she understands the reasoning behind why they aren’t worn.
“When you think about Breonna, it seemed like a lot of human error,” James said. “I would hate to see something like that happen here with human error. I’m giving you the benefit that you guys are professionals and that you make sure you have the correct information before (warrants) are executed.”
Councilman At-Large Jeff Russell (R), a retired JPD officer, says that he used to participate in “no-knock” warrants while serving on the SWAT team with Jackson. Russell says that not using “no-knock” warrants can allow people to either obtain a weapon or illegally dispose of drugs and other evidence.
The Councilman says he has the “utmost” faith in Jackson and his training.
In addition, Jackson informed the Council that JPD currently uses 44 body cameras, meaning 20 more would need to be purchased to ensure everyone has a body camera while allowing for a few spares.
Mayor Eddie Sundquist says Jackson may be able to use contingency funding or asset forfeiture money to buy the cameras.
Future discussions in multiple Council committees are expected.