A Columbus Police officer has been accused by a Columbus resident of entering her home without a warrant in violation of the fourth amendment.
According to Nacy J. Wemhoener, Officer Andrew Estrada allegedly entered her home at 417 W. Maple on Dec. 16. She said he said he was searching for a suspect, Jason Adams who has an outstanding warrant for failure to pay child support.
According to Wemhoener, she had just come home when she heard a noise and her dogs barking.
“I saw Officer Estrada standing in the hallway,” Wemhoener said. “My son’s bedroom door was open.”
Wemhoener described how her son always shuts his door before he leaves.
She allegedly questioned Estrada as to why he was there. He in turn, allegedly questioned her as to the whereabouts of the suspect and asked to speak to her landlord.
“I was very upset he entered my home without being invited,” she said. “I will not tolerate the police violating me like this.”
Wemhoener has since been to see the Police Chief, Mayor and City Administrator to complain.
Columbus Police Chief Chuck Sharp told the Advocate he had referred the matter to the City Attorney. City Attorney Robert Meyers said he could not comment on personnel matters.
“The door was unlocked when Officer Estrada came,” she said.
Wemhoener said she also contacted Cherokee County Sheriff David Groves who referred her to the Kansas Commission on Peace Officers‘ Standards and Training.
The Advocate has obtained a copy of her complaint to KS-CPOST and KS-CPOST has declined comment on her specific charges pending legal advice.
KS-CPOST did say police at times may be able to enter a resident’s home without a warrant.
“It depends on the circumstances,” said Steve Culp of KS-CPOST. “It also depends on the legal authority of the local jurisdiction and how they interpret it.”
No official police reports have been released, pending the outcome of the investigation. The Advocate has requested comment from the city and county attorneys, the Kansas Attorney General’s Office and the American Civil Liberties Union.
All declined to comment because the investigation was ongoing. The ACLU has said they will comment next week.