Is It A Police Public Service To Wake Sleepers In Unlocked Home?


Troy Molde marched into Lakeville, Mn., City Hall yesterday to defend his rights, says the St. Paul Pioneer Press. He said police violated them last month when officers barged into his unlocked home at 3 a.m., waking him to warn him to keep his doors closed and locked. He wants the city to consider amending Lakeville Police Department policies on when officers should enter a home without a search warrant. “The police don’t have a clue what our rights are,” said Molde, 34.

The surprise visit by police was part of a public service campaign. Officers fanned out across Lakeville early on the morning of June 19, leaving notices on doors reminding residents to prevent crime by keeping garage doors closed and doors and windows locked. Molde awoke to police flashlights shining in his face and two uniformed officers in his bedroom, knocking on the wall. The officers also woke his two sons, ages 5 and 7, and 5-year-old twin nephews who were having a sleepover in the living room. The officers told Molde his garage door was open, the TV was on, keys to his truck were in the ignition and the door to his house was ajar. The intrusion was justified because the officers’ door knocks went unanswered, Sgt. Jim Puncochar said. Police went inside to check if anything was wrong. City Administrator Steve Mielke said the officers’ actions were appropriate because they were investigating a potentially dangerous situation. “From my perspective, their intentions were good and their actions were justified,” he said.


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