BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
MONTROSE – A computer update is to blame for a delay in getting an emergency warrant issued in a police stand-off in Keokuk early Tuesday morning.
Lee County Attorney Ross Braden brought the issue to Lee County Supervisors at Tuesday’s regular meeting.
Keokuk police were dispatched to the 100 block of S. 19th Street in Keokuk shortly before 11 p.m. Monday night responding to a domestic abuse call involving a gun.
Upon arrival, the Lee County Sheriff’s Department, Iowa State Patrol and Tactical Response Units were called to the scene. Law enforcement at the scene then contacted Braden for a warrant at about 12:45 a.m. Tuesday.
Braden said he attempted to file a search warrant request using a remote access to his county files via a laptop computer. He said the warrant request had to be forwarded to Keokuk Police Department where District B Judge Clinton Boddicker was on site to review and authorize the warrant.
But Braden said his request was blocked by a restricted access message from Lee County servers. He then went to his office in Fort Madison to send the message from there.
“I thought it was a remote issue so I went to my office at 2 in the morning,” Braden said “Thinking I would surely be able to log into my computer in my office and I could get it into the hands of the Keokuk PD, the chief and the judge. Meanwhile there was an armed person who allegedly discharged a firearm in a house at or in the direction of his live-in girlfriend.
Braden said when he got to his office, he received the same message and couldn’t get access to files, so he had to go back home to West Point where he was able to piece together a warrant from some formats he had on his laptop and sent them via his personal email account to the Keokuk police department.
He said the process took about two hours to get the warrant in the right hands.
After investigating the issue Tuesday, Braden said the county server had been set to do updates from 1 a.m. to 3 a.m., and that has been corrected to allow him and select others to have access during those times.
“I think it was an oversight that was immediately remedied once the issue came up,” he said. “This is the first time since we began allowing remote access, that the issue has come up.”
Lee County Chief Deputy Will Conlee, who was on the scene, said the girl in the house was able to escape, so the warrant was needed to enter the premises and secure the weapon.
Braden said the weapon the girl described was an AK-47 assault rifle.
“We can’t have that where in the middle of the night our access is limited and our guys are out there with a gunman,” Braden said.