Kimm notes that at the Salinas PD, depending on the circumstances, they will instead secure a perimeter, evacuate residents around the perimeter and try to negotiate the suspect out versus forcing a shoot out. DiFranza also recommends rouse and compliant entries as other options.
"The question I always ask the investigators in the case is how much dope is worth somebody getting hurt?" questions Kimm. "In my opinion, there is no amount."
Gnagey agrees the dangers to the officers must be extreme and the evidence or people to be secured endangered.
"If you need a high-risk, no-knock warrant to recover three rocks of crack cocaine to make a narcotic officer's case, then advise him to go out and work the case some more, because we are not going to risk our officers' lives and the lives of innocent bystanders for three rocks," says Gnagey.
No-knock warrants are an essential piece of the tactical arsenal, but they must be used judiciously.
"Just because the court has given you the authority to perform a no-knock doesn't mean you have to use it," says Gnagey. "If you get over zealous with these things and use them when you shouldn't, then the court may take that privilege away from everyone, and law enforcement doesn't want that."
Officers and tactical team leaders need to do what they can to make sure the next time they knock on the door, the answer to "Who's there?" is only the three-strike candidate and not the scared grandmother defending her home.