Neighborhood Watch learns about search warrants



MONTE VISTA— Neighborhood Watch 365 met on the evening of Monday, March 18. This month’s program was presented by Monte Vista Police Chief John Rosecrans and Corporal Heath Hart who gave an overview of search warrants and how their use has helped to take some drugs and illegal weapons off the streets of Monte Vista.
Rosecrans began by stating that the efforts of Neighborhood Watch participants had truly come to fruition last weekend. He spoke more in depth about a federal search warrant that was used on Saturday, March 9 and of others that were issued over the course of the month. The efforts of the Monte Vista Police Department, Rio Grande Sheriff’s Office and federal and state agencies led to bad things being taken off the streets. This was helped by citizens who spoke up when they saw something, reported suspicious activity and assisted by providing surveillance.
“Generally speaking there were 10 weapons, two of which were stolen, two of which were sawed off shotguns, one a silent AR, and the others were pistols in the possession of felons. They were mostly illegal in every sense of the word. In addition over two pounds of methamphetamines were found, under an ounce of heroin, stolen property and eight total arrests. Other charges included child abuse, to code enforcement violations. No one was hurt. In one operation there was 41 officers involved. There was some pretty bad folks. Out of these I believe there will be many decades’ long sentences, especially for the federal involved charges which were pretty significant,” said Rosecrans.
Rosecrans and Hart then gave a presentation on how search warrants come into being, and showed examples of previous searches and the results they yielded. The examples shown and described were not related to incidents on March 9 or within the last few months.
Rosecrans stated that for a search warrant to be issued there needed to be probable cause that a crime had been committed by a certain individual or in a specific location. To build this evidence needs to be presented. He illustrated by saying if a neighbor calls to report that someone in the neighborhood is selling drugs to build a case there needs to be proof such as photographs, video, license plate numbers, descriptions of vehicles, observances of high traffic volume and suspicious activity. If officers have a significant amount of these items then they can petition a judge for a search warrant based on probable cause that something illegal is occurring.
Hart who is also part of a K-9 unit and the leader of the Monte Vista SWAT team, came with items used in a house raid such as the vests officers wear and a ram used to open doors. The audience had the opportunity to view and hold some of these law enforcement tools. He showed pictures of a team lineup and also of drugs such as heroin and drug paraphernalia that had been found in houses or in cars. Rosecrans explained that during a raid officers usually move swiftly and aggressively to reduce danger due to the nature of the individuals they are dealing with.
They ended the presentation by again reinforcing the mantra if you see something suspicious to report it to your local authorities and say something. Monte Vista Neighborhood Watch 365 generally meets on the third Monday of every month at the Monte Vista Information Center.

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