Internal investigation reveals actions involving OPD officers du - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Internal investigation reveals actions involving OPD officers during execution of search warrant

Odessa Police Department (Source: KWES) Odessa Police Department (Source: KWES)
ODESSA, TX (KWES) -

We are learning new details after several officers were involved in the execution of a search warrant back in January.

The review found that five officers violated standard operating procedure.

It all took place back on Jan. 29, 2017, at the America's Best Value Inn in the 3000 block of E. Highway 80.

We're told the officers involved Sgt. Caleb Lacey, Cpl. Lyle Hahn, another narcotics Sergeant and two narcotics corporals.

According to a release, the Professional Standards Unit investigation showed that during the course of a narcotics operation, officers used an unauthorized cooperating individual. But the individual did not have the required CI file and Sgt. Lacey failed to obtain approval before using the cooperating individual. 

We're told the investigation revealed that officers failed to correctly identify and confirm the location of the criminal activity in question. The report stated that when the officers arrived at the location, the officers use a "no knock" warrant to breach and enter vacant room #225. The report stated that at that time, the surveillance team called out on the radio "wrong room."

When that was discovered, the report stated that the SWAT leader believed that this meant that the room listed on the warrant hadn't been breached and the leader decided to breach room #226 where they located the suspects.

The report stated that once room #226 was breached, it was determined that the room on the warrant was actually for room #225. The report says that a protective sweep was completed at that point and the suspects and scene was held pending the production of a second search warrant and that no search of room #226 had occurred.

The investigation found that based on applicable case law, the breach of room #226 was not illegal because the conduct of the officers prior to their entry into room #226 was lawful, there was no violation or threatened violation of the Fourth Amendment, and therefore the exigent circumstance rule applied and allowed for the entry and securing of room #226.

We're told the investigation found that once room #226 was secured and before it was searched, supervisors directed personnel to obtain a new search warrant. However, according to the report, Sgt. Lacey directed Cpl. Hahn to omit the information about the prior breach of room #226 from the affidavit for the search warrant. The report stated that the warrant contained no false information. The investigation showed that although the search warrant was valid, the act of omitting this particular information was poor practice and form.

According to the report, the overall investigation revealed that there was no willful misconduct on the part of any officers. However, police said there were errors in communication and standard operating procedure while led to the improperly executed search warrant.

The report stated that Sgt. Lacey was found to be in violation of Odessa Police Department Standard Operating Procedure 2.9 – Cooperating Individuals, 2. Use of Cooperating Individuals, Odessa Police Department Standard Operating Procedure 2.9 – Cooperating Individuals, 3. Controlled purchases by a Cooperating Individual, Odessa Police Department Standard Operating Procedure 14.3 – Standards of Conduct- Conduct on Duty, 5. Accountability and Odessa Police Department Standard Operating Procedure 14.5 – Orders and Discipline, 8. Unsatisfactory Performance and has received a 1 shift suspension.

For his part in the operation Cpl. Hahn was found to be in violation of Odessa Police Department Standard Operating Procedure 5.2 – Criminal Investigations, 3. Narcotics Investigations and Odessa Police Department Standard Operating Procedure 14.5 – Orders and Discipline, 8. Unsatisfactory Performance and has received a Verbal Reprimand.

For his part in the operation the Narcotics Sergeant was found to be in violation of Odessa Police Department Standard Operating Procedure 14.3 – Standards of Conduct- Conduct on Duty, 5. Accountability and Odessa Police Department Standard Operating Procedure 14.5 – Orders and Discipline, 8. Unsatisfactory Performance and has received a Written Reprimand.

For their part in the operation the two Narcotics Corporals were found to be in violation of Odessa Police Department Standard Operating Procedure 5.1– Policy and Legal Requirements of Investigations and Odessa Police Department Standard Operating Procedure 14.5 – Orders and Discipline, 8. Unsatisfactory Performance and have each received a Written Reprimand.

The release stated that in addition to the discipline for the officers, the Odessa Police Department has used this incident to learn and grow and has made several adjustments, implemented changes and sent officers to training as a result. 

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