Atlanta Police Chief Richard Pennington has made changes in his narcotics unit four months after an elderly woman was killed in a drug raid at her home, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. The changes include rotating members off the drug squad, increasing its size and stiffer supervisory review of search warrants. The changes came after top-ranking officers reviewed the squad’s policies and compared them with “best practices” from other departments.
In November, Atlanta resident Kathryn Johnston was killed and three narcotics agents wounded when they burst into her home hoping to find cocaine. Pennington said applications for no-knock warrants must be approved by a major or a higher-ranking officer, and search warrant applications and tactical plans must be approved by a lieutenant or above. The department will increase the narcotics unit from 16 officers to 30 and rotate them from narcotics duty every few years to prevent complacency. Training will be increased for the narcotics unit and all department officers will be drug-tested.