Course detail: Search and Seizure in the 21st Century

Course Description:
Search warrants are a vital tool in law enforcement officers' quest to uncover criminal activity and the perpetrators thereof. A search warrant can provide officers with the legal authority to search residences and places of business, obtain samples of DNA or bodily fluids for examination, and records from businesses such as cellular telephone companies and social media companies. Because of the intrusive nature of these and other similar searches, the law demands that officers present courts with sufficient information before courts will authorize the issuance of a search warrant. This course will teach participants the legal requirements that must be satisfied before a search warrant will be issued and how they can satisfy these requirements with their application and supporting affidavit. In addition to search warrants for homes, businesses, and multi-unit residences, attention will also be given to obtaining records from cellular service providers and social media companies. 

Learning Competency: 
  • Participants will employ best practices as they investigate any crime from its beginning to its eventual disposition; either as an individual or as part of an investigatory team. 

Course Objectives:
  • Draft the search warrant application. 
  • Draft the supporting affidavit/preparing to give testimony in support of a search warrant application.
  • Draft search warrants in specific situations, including search warrants for the body of a defendant, including bodily fluids to be found therein:  Electronic communication records, such as e-mail records, cellular phone records, and text message records, Social media records (Facebook, Snapchat, etc.), Other electronically-stored records, such as Sony or Microsoft records, GPS tracking devices.
  • Draft search warrants for information/records/evidence held by out-of-state and out-of-country entities.
  • Describe the differences between writing a report or narrative and writing an affidavit.
  • List the legal requirements necessary to obtain a search warrant.
  • Articulate probable cause to a court in writing.
  • Understand the need to "describe with particularity" the place to be searched and the evidence sought and demonstrate how to do this. 
  • Organize information in an affidavit regarding completed or ongoing investigations.
Instructional Methods:
  • Lecture 
  • Guided discussions
  • Written and critiqued exercises

Who Should Attend:
  • Sworn public safety officers 
  • Volunteer law enforcement auxiliary members
  • Investigators
  • Others responsible for assisting in the investigation of criminal activity


Available sessions