Sometimes, in the process of pursuit of justice, the law enforcers and the various departments and agencies that deal with law enforcement, find themselves in positions, where they have to make some untoward decisions that assist them in their work. A typical case scenario occurs, where the case officers pursuing a suspect may utilize warrantless searches to acquire the evidence they would need to convict the suspect.
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In retrospect, these officers are required to follow the procedural measures, such as requesting for a warrant from a higher authority before they can go into a suspect’s house. However, at certain times, the officers may find themselves in circumstances that would require them to act fast and in a manner when the protocols of acquiring the warrant need to be ignored. One may consider a situation, where some officers or detectives act on a hunch or a leak of information that a certain suspect could be harboring drugs and they do not have time to seek for a warrant in order to search the premises of the suspect and apprehend them. In such case, a warrantless search may occur. It is the duty of the police officers and others, who are entrusted with fighting crime, to ensure that they do this without any inhibition (Bernard & Verstegen, 2011; Koper & Taylor, 2013).
Statement of the problem
According to the constitutions of many countries and especially that of the United States, a police officer is not supposed to conduct a search on the premises of a suspect without having acquired the necessary documentation to act as a search warrant from the corresponding authorities (Tang, 2011). The search is also supposed to occur in the full knowledge and sometimes, when possible, in the presence of the suspect himself/herself. However, as has been described in the introductory statement, sometimes this case does not occur because of a number of factors. These different factors and scenarios, where warrantless searches occur, form the problem statement of this proposal. The research paper that will be drawn from this proposal will embark upon analyzing the circumstances surrounding warrantless searches.
Purpose of the study
The purpose of this study is to investigate the circumstances that call for a warrantless search by the law enforcement officers in the daily conduct of their duties.
Objectives of the study
A number of objectives have been identified here and they have been outlined in the following statements. The main objective of this study is to find out how a warrantless search is executed and at what circumstances.
The specific objectives of the study are:
i. To find out the circumstances under which a warrantless search could be executed;
ii. To find out the kind and authority of the officers of law, who have the mandate and authority to execute a warrantless search;
iii. To find out the procedures and protocols that officers and other agents are supposed to follow, when conducting an ordinary search;
iv. To find out the differences between a warrantless search and an ordinary search;
v. To find out the circumstances under which a warrantless search cannot be executed in any way or form;
vi. To find out the penalties and the consequences that would befall an officer, who conducts a warrantless search without proper authorization.
A number of research questions have been formulated in line with the objectives above to enable the researcher to collect data in relation to the topic of study. These are formulated as following:
i. What are the different circumstances under which a warrantless search could be executed;
ii. What are the types and authority of the officers of law, who have the mandate and authority to execute a warrantless search;
iii. What are the procedures and protocols that officers and other agents are supposed to follow, when conducting an ordinary search;
iv. What are the differences between a warrantless search and an ordinary search;
v. What are the circumstances under which a warrantless search cannot be executed in any way or form;
vi. What are the penalties and the consequences that would befall an officer, who conducts a warrantless search without proper authorization.
Significance of the study
The proposed study will explore the extent, to which a warrantless search can be carried out, the different authorizations that are to be applied in issuing of warrants and the penalties, as well as consequences that the officers, who violate these protocols, would face.
The findings from this study will assist the policy makers in identifying the benefits of this scenario. The officers in authority, who are responsible for issuing warrants, could also find the useful information, with the help of which they could understand the scenarios, under which the warrantless searches are deemed vital in the service to the country.
Limitations of the study
The study will be limited to the two precincts that will be identified by the researcher. The researcher will cover these two precincts by following law enforcement officers in their duty conduct, as well as conducting interviews with persons in positions of authority.
Only the two precincts will be covered because of the limitations of time, finances and other logistics. Also, the opinion and interview of some of the persons in very high positions of authority would require too much time and this could be expensive.
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