Ogden police to make changes in warrant service after mistaken identity

Posted at 4:57 PM, Jan 22, 2013

OGDEN -- The police department will make some changes in how it serves warrants after serving a warrant in the middle of the night at the wrong house, terrifying a family.

An internal investigation released Tuesday led Ogden Police Chief Mike Ashment and Mayor Mike Caldwell to recommend the changes.

Last month, Eric Hill and his family were awakened in the middle of the night by a knocking at the door.He said he did not know it was the police and grabbed a baseball bat to protect his family. He opened the door to find officers with guns pointed at his face. Hill said he was handcuffed until police could verify he was not the suspect they were looking for, a U.S. Army deserter.

The incident led to public criticism of the police force. Dozens packed a city council meeting to demand more scrutiny of the police department.

In their internal investigation released Tuesday, police concluded they did not break state law in serving the warrant. Nor did they find that officers serving the arrest warrant acted unprofessionally. They did, however, recommend changes in how police serve the warrants going forward.

Caldwell said in an interview with FOX 13 on Tuesday that police have agreed to place greater scrutiny on warrants served overnight, including more research on who lives in a home and whether or not the suspect poses a threat to the community.

"We think in the future we can do a better job of... after 10 p.m., measuring the warrant, its risk to the person that's being served and to the community and making better considerations," said Caldwell. "Anytime after 10, my personal opinion is it's not going to be the UPS guy or the Fed Ex guy and neighbors aren't bringing cookies. So there's got to be some careful consideration in serving warrants after 10."

Hill told FOX 13 on Tuesday he felt the changes were a positive step.

"I think technically and morally they did a lot of things wrong," he said. "But for them to go ahead and start making changes, that's a good step in the right direction. Hopefully, they take it even further than that."

Caldwell said police and city officials have publicly apologized to Hill, but he said it is too little, too late. He said he has lost confidence in Ogden police.

"I feel like all they're doing is covering up what they did," he said.