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Gualtieri Changes Pinellas Deputies' Procedures For Serving Search Warrants

Pinellas County Sheriff  Bob Gualtieri
Pinellas County Sheriff's Office

The change is intended to ensure the safety of law enforcement, citizens and offenders.

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri on Tuesday announced new procedures regarding how the department serves search warrants.

The policy, which is now part of the office's written formal orders and directives, requires that deputies obtain permission from a division commander before executing search warrants by forced entry.

Gualtieri said such entries puts deputies, suspects and anyone inside the home in danger, and need to be approved by a supervisor.

He said it is intended to ensure the safety of citizens, law enforcement officers, and offenders.

“To me, just going through the door because you can, not because you should, and because you didn’t exhaust other reasonable alternatives that would be safer, doesn’t cut it,” Gualtieri said.

Gualteri said that over the last six years, the Pinellas County Sheriff's office narcotics division has served 81 search warrants and 6 of those were by forced entry.

"No amount of drugs is worth anyone's life, whether it's a law enforcement officer or a suspect,” Gualtieri said.