Investigation finds Longmont Police wrong in controversial drug search in low income housing development

LONGMONT, Colo. - A report released Friday determined Longmont Police officers were out of line when they assisted Longmont Housing Authority search a low income housing development for drugs.

The controversial search was conducted at The Suites in Longmont. Residents were outraged, saying police entered apartments and searched without warrants.

"I refused but they said they had to come in anyway," said resident Tamika Mcclure.

Ray Appling sounded the alarm after receiving a letter that stated her apartment would be searched for drugs. The letter stated Longmont K-9 units would accompany the housing authority on the search to help with the dog's training.

"How many zeros in my bank account do I need in order to have respect or privacy? That angered me. Why are low income people treated this way? I had no idea until I moved here," said Appling,

"It's a huge invasion of privacy, it's ridiculous, it's ludicrous, it blows my mind they have to use our homes to train their dogs," said resident Mary Moore.

The Weld County Sheriff's Office reviewed the search, and determined the incident was not consistent with Longmont Police Department standards. In a YouTube video provided by the department, Chief Mike Butler said his department does not condone illegal searches.

"We regret what happened at The Suites and have already taken corrective action to ensure this never happens again," said Butler.

Some residents say there is a drug problem at the housing complex, but don't agree on how to tackle the issue.

"I'm a firm believer if you have nothing to hide, it's not a big deal," said one resident.

"I think they really took advantage of the fact that this is low income housing," said Moore. "That we would be ignorant of the fact that we have inalienable rights to not have our property seized without a warrant."

Appling said she's pleased the police department admitted fault and plans to use this incident as a learning lesson.

"I feel vindicated, I feel like I've done a public good. I'm happy they are going to take a look at themselves and re-evaluate what they are doing," said Appling.

FOX31 contacted the Longmont Housing Authority, but no one returned FOX31's request for an interview.