If police in the Whitaker Borough want a search warrant, they’ll need the approval of the Allegheny County district attorney’s office.
This decision comes in response to the 2012 arrest of Whitaker Borough police officer William Davis, who was charged in April with two counts of false swearing, unsworn falsification to authorities and official oppression, and one count of perjury for using a warrant to get access to a private residence.
District Attorney Stephen Zappala said the department will be under a microscope.
“Because there are good people in that department,” Zappala said, “I’m looking at this as a step transaction and to better monitor their ability to engage in investigations and certainly to obtain warrants, to search or obtain access to somebody’s house.”
Zappala and his team also executed a search of the department’s evidence locker. He said the conditions were well below standard.
“The manner in which evidence is being handled, or was being handled up until that point was just horrendous, and I’m not going to have missing drugs, missing guns and missing moneys,” Zappala said.
According to information provided by the district attorney, 42 percent of the 93 arrests made by the department between 2011 and 2013 did not make it past a preliminary hearing due to officers’ failure to attend.
Zappala said the district attorney’s approval for search warrants is typically reserved for major crimes like homicide or sexual assault.