Police Chief makes big changes to SWAT policy

Update: 5:00 p.m.

Columbia Police Chief Ken Burton announced some significant changes to the way his SWAT team will issue narcotic search warrants.

The changes come after the circulation of a video on the internet that shows Columbia police officers shooting and killing a pit bull during a forced entry SWAT raid.

Burton said his new SWAT policies are some of the most restrictive in the United States. Burton made changes to the way his SWAT team serves drug related search warrants after his officers received death threats from around the world. A video of Columbia police shooting and killing one dog and wounding another continues to get hundreds of thousands of views on the internet. Burton said his officers did some things wrong, and his new policies will fix that.

The public can be assured that a similar incident is not going to happen again without somebody TMs head rolling because it is now the policy," Burton said. "We know what we are going to do. We TMre telling you how we are going to handle these things.

Under the new SWAT protocol, police captains, not SWAT commanders, will decide how to serve narcotic search warrants. In most cases, SWAT teams will serve warrants within 8 hours of receipt. It took eight days to serve the warrant associated with the video. Columbia TMs SWAT team will not use forced entry if children are present, except under extreme circumstances. One thing that remains the same is the department TMs policy on the use of force against animals.

As far as dealing with a dog, they don TMt have time to do that," Burton said. "These warrants go down in a matter of seconds. The seconds they spend dealing with an animal, are seconds away and their attention is away from the true threat of somebody trying to hurt them inside of that house.

If there is a more restrictive policy for a SWAT team, Burton said he would like to see it.

Burton plans to meet with the Columbia Police Advisory Board about his changes to SWAT policy at their regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday night.

To see the Columbia Police Department's internal review of the February raid, follow the related link at the bottom of this report.

Original Story:

Police Chief Ken Burton held a press conference Monday afternoon to announce significant changes to S.W.A.T. warrant service policy and procedures.

Burton highlighted six changes to the policy. The policy changes come after a drug raid video that was posted online lead to many questions about Columbia Police Department TMs S.W.A.T. procedures. (See full story here)

One policy change states that police will not issue warrants through a dynamic, forced, entry into a home when a child is present. However, Burton said that the exception to the policy would be in extreme circumstances, like if there a small window of time for the arrest to be made.

Another policy change is that police will have to serve narcotics related warrants within 8 hours of the warrant being granted.

Burton said that there will be no change to how police deal with aggressive dogs.

More details will be available soon