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  • Dealing with reprimands

    Here's my situation. It seems that as of late I have been getting reprimands for what I consider trivial issues. The last one being that I handed in a service report with errors on it. I was told to write a memo by my sgt to him. I am guessing so that he can show progressive discipline and suspend me a single day. I work hard, get good arrests and keep my head up. But for some reason all I think about off duty is scenarios running through my head. I can't see being suspended for making typos on reports even if it isn't the first time.

    How do some of you guys deal with a sgt riding your ***? If a suspension happens, do you file the grievance or eat it? Thanks.

  • #2
    Reports are a big issue in law enforcement. I would imagine that you are not properly reviewing what you are writing and proofreading with an open mind. Have one of your partners read your reports before they are turned in. By doing that, you may find that they cam also pick up on your misspellings, poor grammar, sentence structure, etc. It will help you to keep the sergeant off your back because you can make the proper corrections before he sees them.

    If the above does not apply and you honestly feel that your are being singled out, then talk with your sergeant and find out what issues you can work on to amend the situation and iron out the problem.

    If the sergeant is not amiable to such a discussion, then file a grievance and let things get looked at from above.

    I have found it interesting how many others can see my problems when I have trouble seeing them myself.

    Strive for self improvement and you will be fine.
    Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence!

    [George Washington (1732 - 1799)]

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    • #3
      A suspension for an error???

      What kind of error(s) are we talking about? Typo?

      Seems a little extreme if it indeed is as trivial as you imply...
      All Gave Some - Some Gave All

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      • #4
        Originally posted by SgtCHP View Post
        Reports are a big issue in law enforcement. I would imagine that you are not properly reviewing what you are writing and proofreading with an open mind. Have one of your partners read your reports before they are turned in. By doing that, you may find that they cam also pick up on your misspellings, poor grammar, sentence structure, etc. It will help you to keep the sergeant off your back because you can make the proper corrections before he sees them.

        If the above does not apply and you honestly feel that your are being singled out, then talk with your sergeant and find out what issues you can work on to amend the situation and iron out the problem.

        If the sergeant is not amiable to such a discussion, then file a grievance and let things get looked at from above.

        I have found it interesting how many others can see my problems when I have trouble seeing them myself.

        Strive for self improvement and you will be fine.
        X-2, with an additional comment. Many years ago, I had any number of reports kicked back on me, by a Lt, with all the red pencil comments. Initially, I was rather P%^^$ off. Finally approached the Officer and asked what the problem(s) was. He took the time to tell me, and give me some really good pointers on writing and submitting good reports. Had very few problems after that.

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        • #5
          Thank you all for your input,esp sgtchp.
          Well it goes like this I'll get written up for typos like wrong case numbers, dates, and times, actually sometimes the numbers are intermingled because I type on a computer in my car and just run in to print them.
          It's rather silly but my last a couple of weeks ago I got a written reprimand for an incomplete report, which I asked for a supervisor to review, 2 counseling statements for the same report citing officer safety, like speaking to 2 juvenile suspects outside of a car before backup arrived and in the same meeting got a letter of commendation for making a distribution arrest.
          It could be my supervisor caught a case of the *** that day and had enough. I have to admit my weakness is that I rush a lot and can actually read over a report and miss mistakes. I don't care for paperwork I suppose, but I love the action. I have never been suspended before and might be the most active on the department. When I go to work, I'm expecting the meeting with the little piece of paper that says 1 day suspension, and further discipline yada yada yada. Funny thing is I can count all the written reprimands for reports. 1 for not turning in a service report, I went home sick,2 for not getting next of kin information on an arrest report. and 3 for the errors on a report. they're not even the same thing but they love to intertwine anything that has to do with paper to make a point. I feel like if I grieve a bull**** suspension instead of eating it I'll be on the wrong team.

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          • #6
            I had the same thing happen to me. Transfer before it's an issue. They're building a "book" on you so as to limit your transfer or promotion possibilities. I was too late on it & was told "The only way you'll leave is if you retire" So guess what........

            Comment


            • #7
              Most folks don't realize that errors on a report can come back and bite you in the ***** years after it was written. Not siding with your management, but when a case finally comes to court and the defense attorney has your report that you've written 2, 3, or 4 years ago in his hands, questioning "how" you wrote it, you might understand why the department is harping on proper English, grammar, and structure. Defense Attorneys will jump on it because it might be the only angle to crush your credibility. I cringe when I read a report that is written in 3rd grade grammar. Case numbers, dates and times are of the essence when it comes to testifying in court.

              I'm sure if your department wanted you gone they would ignore the issues of "how perfect your reports sound". They are trying to make you a better report writer and make your cases solid for YOU to win in court.

              Take the lesson and run with it.
              I am a Native American of non-Indian decent.

              Cleaning the pool, one gene at a time.

              I'm on a 30 day diet. So far I've lost 15 days!

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              • #8
                While he may be picky, do everyone's reports get the same scrutiny? If the answer is yes, you just have to deal with it and you had better get on board his report writing bus. If the answer is no, you need to document the report writing errors of others that aren't being addressed so you have ammo when you file a grievance.

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                • #9
                  I always make mistakes on paper. It's human nature. I will read and re-read my paper before I turn it in, and it STILL comes back with issues. It's because I know what I MEANT to type, but I'm thinking 3 sentences ahead of where my fingers are on the keyboard. So, I read right over the mistakes.

                  I try to have someone proof-read my stuff. Sometimes it doesn't work out that way, and I must force myself to sit there and read every word as if I never saw the report before. It's time consuming, but my paper is better for it.

                  As far as your sergeant goes, as long as he is fair, I hope you can improve your writing. I have a mild case of ADD, so sitting there and reading what I already wrote is TOUGH! It appears you may also have a bit of the ol' ADD as well. Classic symptoms. Beyond that, you should force yourself to read every typed character on those pages, as if you are the sergeant approving the report. Slow down. A lot. You'll do better....and you won't be papered in the long run (pun intended).

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                  • #10
                    just dealt with that - a poot butt 647(j)PC arrest and booking was "kicked"-REJECTED- by L.A.city Atty's office because the "baby FTO"( very little time on the job) and his freshly arrived LAPD academy trainee didn't do the most basic police "101" in interviewing the wit and documenting it."minor mistakes",like misspellings",can be corrected- but they can also make you look "stupid" in court if they aren't.What makes me mad is half -a** reports,that leave out info,or don't accurately document what happened.DA rejects,CA. Rejects,State AG or Fed AG rejects as well as written reprimands is the least of your worries- when you get slammed for "perjury" becuase of your "mistake",there will be little sympathy coming from admin,nor from the courts-If you get writen up for a bad report,suck it up and do better in the future....

                    thyjuan Taplin V.city of Los angeles
                    "we're americans ! We don't quit because we're wrong, we just keep doing it wrong UNTIL it turns out Right"...

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by doublewhopper View Post
                      Well it goes like this I'll get written up for typos like wrong case numbers, dates, and times, actually sometimes the numbers are intermingled because I type on a computer in my car and just run in to print them. (snip)
                      I have to admit my weakness is that I rush a lot and can actually read over a report and miss mistakes. I don't care for paperwork I suppose, but I love the action.
                      Sounds like you are undisciplined and maybe a bit immature. You don't place the same value on reports as you do on the action.

                      Slow down. Your report must be one that a year or two down the road will allow someone who has no knowledge of police work and procedures to read the report and walk away with a thorough understanding of what happened, to the point where the scenario could be recreated with 100% accuracy. You will never get in trouble for too much detail, or excessive accuracy.

                      There is no excuse for things like wrong case numbers and getting dates and times wrong. Those are from lack of attention to detail. You didn't complete field training with those mistakes - there is no excuse for it now.

                      It might not happen overnight, but you should strive for perfection in your reports, as well as all of your other professional endeavors. No one else expects it of you, but if you require it of yourself, you will be a shining star who goes far beyond what the sergeant wants.
                      Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. - Ronald Reagan

                      I don't think It'll happen in the US because we don't trust our government. We are a country of skeptics, raised by skeptics, founded by skeptics. - Amaroq

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                      • #12
                        And if you think it's hard for you to catch the errors in your reports like times, case numbers, dates, etc ... imagine what it's like for a man who's not experienced the case, just reading a report ... to catch, and then imagine that any mitakes he misses and then approves of by signing off on the report (say it's your supervisor), are caught by the next level supervisor (or their secretary or designated reviewer) and that those mistakes that you made which he overlooked as a supervisor are then held against him, not you, because he signed off on them.

                        How much patience should he have for the same mistakes over and over made by you due to your desire to get it done in a hurry so you can go generate more? How much would you show in the same situation?

                        It's all in the attempt to preserve an accurate archive of events.

                        Slow down and concentrate on one thing at a time, they pay you just as well to write accurate, concise, detailed, and clear reports as they do to wage war on crime and save damsels in distress.

                        "That's right man, we've got mills here that'll blow that heap of your's right off the road."

                        "Beautiful Daughter of the Stars."(it's my home now)

                        >>>>> A Time for Choosing <<<<<

                        Retired @ 31yr 2mo as of 0000 hrs. 01-01-10. Yeah, all in all, it was good.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Not all of police work is the action..it is the ability to write accurate reports as to what happened. You should care about your report writing as much, if not more, as the job you do. Remember, the DA is not there during the incident and you have to tell the story of what happened. If there are errors...the case might not be charged.

                          If you are proud of the job you do..take as much time to prepare an accurate report..because your name is attached to it. You don't want to be a name on the wall of shame. Oh it's so and so's report......what a piece of crap, I'm not going to even look at it. Or better yet, so and so has a history of writing good reports, I'll browse the report and charge.

                          Accuracy is important when you go to court. Believe me...you and your report will be picked to death.

                          Time off is pretty harsh...never heard of that. But if it hits you in the pocketbook then perhaps you'll be more careful next time. Your sgt is just trying to make you be a better cop.
                          This profession is not for people looking for positive reinforcement from the public. Very often it can be a thankless job and you can't desire accolades, because those are not usually forthcoming. Just do your job to the best of your ability and live with the decisions you've made.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Doublewhopper, I hate to say this, but from reading your post, you are the problem. I have had plenty of guys like you and I fixed some and some no longer work in this profession. In reading your posts, you described everything to a tee. You hate paperwork, you love action, you are the most active cop on the dept. Well, all that is contributing to your subsequent demise. The supervisor sounds like he knows what he is doing and is, from what you described, doing his job. I will agree with Ateamer's response 100%. I'm going to give you a piece of advice, pay attention to detail and proofread your reports. Forget about the "grievence", if you continue down that familiar path, you will be terminated. Believe me, I know. I have seen plenty of cops, just exactly like you described yourself, get fired and have no recourse. Your Sergeant will help you if you put in the time and effort. I don't want you to think that this is a bashing, it is constructive criticism. I hope you heed the advice, because things could get ugly for you. Good luck.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I don't mean to kick you when you're down, but.....

                              Reading between the lines, I see more than poor report writing. Some of the issues you mentioned also reflect an inattention to detail, not just in your paperwork, but in your overall work habits. This can be a real job killer. Most of that inattention shows up in what you document (or fail to document) in your reports. If a lieutenant spot checks reports (as most do) he will no doubt jump down the throat of your sergeant for signing off on your sub-standard documents and for accepting sub-standard performance from you. Expecting your sergeant to take this kind of punishment because you do not want to do satisfactory work is not reasonable on your part.

                              Your comment that you love the action but don't care for paperwork (which is an essential part of the job), suggests that you are not yet willing to fulfill all the duties of your position. The fact that your sergeant has started documenting this suggests that he is tired of getting his behind chewed by his lieutenant because of you, and has reached the point where he believes you can no longer be saved. So now, he is going about documenting your performance in anticipation of possible termination. To his credit, he is also documenting your good works. Nonetheless, you need to clean up you act. Don't be afraid to use spell check. Have co-workers double check your reports before you turn them in, not only for spelling and grammar, but for tactical errors, procedural errors, format errors, legal errors, missing crime elements, lack of a full story, too much information, things that contradict each other, and anything else that can screw things up.

                              While you don't care for paperwork, clearly you need to make it near and dear to your heart if you want to keep your job.
                              Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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