Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Search warrant information determined to be incorrect

MESA COUNTY, Colo - In the early hours of this morning, officers with the Grand Junction Police Department received information about a large amount of methamphetamine at a home in Clifton. The reporting party provided detailed information regarding the amount of drugs in the home and where they were located, as well as information regarding firearms in the home. The reporting party was able to provide an exact address of the home, using a GPS map.

Based on this information, surveillance was conducted on the home, while officers with the Grand Junction Police Department, the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office, and the Western Colorado Drug Task Force waited for a search warrant to be prepared and signed by a judge. Once that was obtained, officers served the search warrant early this morning.

Upon initial contact at the residence, officers received no answer at the door. As is standard protocol when probable cause has been developed that illegal or dangerous activity is occurring, and armed with the signed search warrant, officers forced entry into the home, using a breaching tool. During entry into the residence, several windows of the home were broken.

Ultimately, officers contacted the residents inside the address, and determined that they were not the suspects that officers were looking for. Further investigation determined that the suspects named by the original reporting party had lived at the address at one time, but had since moved away from the address, which was now occupied by a family with several children.

We are deeply regretful of the experience to which this family was subjected. We have met with the family, including the children, to explain in detail how such a mistake was made. We are currently in the process of replacing the windows that were broken, repairing the front door, and arranging for new carpet to be installed, as we are concerned about possible glass in the existing carpet.

Ultimately, the most important thing law enforcement can do after an incident like this is carefully evaluate what happened, and determine how we can prevent such a mistake from happening again. We will be doing just that.

We are so grateful that no one was hurt, and we want to publicly apologize to the family, and acknowledge what a frightening and disconcerting experience this must have been for them.

We are committed to being transparent in our operations, and that includes the bad, as well as the good. We appreciate the support and encouragement we receive from our community, and we remain dedicated to being worthy of your trust.