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Raid Error Prompts South Gate Policy Change

October 27, 1985|MIRNA ALFONSO | Times Staff Writer

SOUTH GATE — The Police Department has tightened policies for operations by outside law enforcement agencies here following an incident in which Sheriff's Department narcotics officers raided the wrong house while attempting to serve a search warrant.

Police Capt. Gary Kennedy said that, while outside agencies have traditionally informed the department of their operations as a matter of courtesy, the South Gate department will begin asking them for specifics.

"We want to be a little more curious now, we want to know what type of operation it is. We're asking more questions," Kennedy said.

A police spokesman said the policy changes follow an Aug. 28 incident in which sheriff's deputies entered an Iowa Avenue house, reportedly looking for drugs and a dealer named "Javier," who was alleged to be selling cocaine by the kilo.

The city's chief administrative officer, Bruce C. Spragg, said in a report to the City Council that deputies did not find the drug dealer and, in fact, raided the wrong house. In the process of getting in, Spragg said, deputies broke a door and several windows.

A spokesman for the Sheriff's Department said that investigators went to the address that was on the search warrant but later realized that their information had been incorrect.

Police Chief Norman Phillips said he did not know about the raid "until a few days later when a story appeared in a local paper."

Spragg said that under the new policy, the police will obtain the name of the law enforcement agency, unit and supervisor; the type of warrant being served or investigation under way, and how many officers will be involved.

The police are also to be notified of the outcome of any operation, said Spragg, who also recommended that a follow up should be made by South Gate police.

Phillips said he knows of no other city that has such a policy. "As a matter of fact, I mentioned it at a gathering of police chiefs from 27 cities within the county, and none of them indicated that they had such a policy."

The policy became effective on Oct. 8, Kennedy said. A spokesman for the Sheriff's Department said it had not received the new policy and therefore could not comment.

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