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  • #16
    You say you don't like the paper work. let me tell you something, good, well written police reports are what convicts bad guys and put them in jail. In my opinion if you don't like writing good reports then find a job where you don't have to write. Police work is writing reports and it always will be.
    Retired LASD

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    • #17
      One thing that helps me proof read reports is read them outloud to yourself after you have written them. I was amazed at what I found in errors when reading it outloud, opposed to reading it silently. Might seem a little foolish to read a report outloud, especially if other officers are near you, but I havnt had a report kicked back to me since January, and I only got a year on the job so Id say Im not doing too bad.

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      • #18
        I don't know the size of your department, (meaning you file a complaint against your sergeant and you could be screwed the rest of your career) but if you become a detective, you damn well better write "a complete" error free report. Do you realize the number of people who have access to police reports, i.e., the victim, insurance companies, attorneys, the news media, etc. If you can't take a basic report on the street, without sounding like someone with a ninth grade education, you better never consider being a detective. Those investigative case reports go to the prosecutor, grand jury, and will be read aloud during a court case. I've seen defense attorney's simply read the case facts from the report and knew they were in trouble from the start. Others would say, 'who was the rookie that wrote this crap'? I know for someone full of **** and vinegar, and would rather be involved in a foot case than write a report, can be difficult. We've all been there. But, welcome to the boring side of the job. I'm sure someone told you most of police work is done on paper.
        The views/opinions expressed here are solely mine. I'm retired and I don't care. I truly do not want to offend anyone, but if you are thin skinned and have no sense of humor, you better find another line of work. Therefore, I don't have to be politically correct and I will exercise my freedom of speech, until it's taken away. May God bless all retirees. We've done our duty and earned our peace.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by IMachU View Post
          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.

          .
          That is my exact problem. My brain goes way to fast and i dont catch mistakes because i know what i meant to write and i see that word.

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          • #20
            What concerns me is you have been an officer for five years now. Did this JUST come up or have you been doing this all along? Is this only a problem with you or fellow officers?

            Whatever the case maybe..like someone already mentioned, I hope you take all of this as constructive criticism.
            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.

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            • #21
              Wow, you guys have given me some excellent insight. I actually feel better about my situation. The kicker is when it comes to big jobs like investigations and big arrests my supervisor is there all the way, even to a fault. I run into trouble on nonsense like squad calls. "person feeling sick, squad arrived and took them to hospital, nothing further". Its only been a couple of times and months/years in between each occurance, thats why I just couldn't understand the blowup. I do understand where he is coming from though, if he wants to take it to the next level in progressive discipline. I just feel like its so meaningless. For christ sake this is the same guy I hunt with and do dip with.
              When people talk of termination for simple mistakes on reports I feel a little bit of disbelief. I have never heard of that. And it scares me a bit. Especially when I see the crazy verbage that they put on their disciplinary documents. I guess there is always tommorow to do a better job.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by deputy x 2 View Post
                What concerns me is you have been an officer for five years now. Did this JUST come up or have you been doing this all along? Is this only a problem with you or fellow officers?

                Whatever the case maybe..like someone already mentioned, I hope you take all of this as constructive criticism.

                Interestingly, I was a pretty low key cop in the begining, relying on traffic summons and calls for service. Somewhere along the way I got bored and started taking it up a notch. Being more proactive and pushing the envelope. That brought the attention of a lot of people. They couldn't argue with numbers and arrests, but it brought scrutiny in the form of tape reviews and supervisors coming on my car stops. Some times they love me and other times they don't want to deal with me. I am begining to find what I like and don't like to do on the job, and right now I don't want to sit on my *** and count the days until my vacations. I don't really know what happens with other guys as they keep the discipline a secret. Most of the time I feel "they" run things on fear, and isolationism. As long as I keep coming in with a smile on my face and bringing in good numbers and don't violate peoples rights they can't say ****. If I mispell a word I feel like its not a big deal, they might feel that I don't care.

                I'm know that my first or second day on I'll have a meeting with my Sgt and he'll sit me down and say "you leave me no choice", "you can read this reprimand, it will say Your lack of attention and failure to complete paperwork is unacceptable and will result in further discipline",
                HOW do I react to this? Do I just sign and walk out? If its a suspension, I know my union pres would advise a grievance for excessive discipline. What would you say to him other than I'll try my best next time.

                THere is so much information from you guys its great.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by doublewhopper View Post
                  Wow, you guys have given me some excellent insight. I actually feel better about my situation. The kicker is when it comes to big jobs like investigations and big arrests my supervisor is there all the way, even to a fault. I run into trouble on nonsense like squad calls. "person feeling sick, squad arrived and took them to hospital, nothing further". Its only been a couple of times and months/years in between each occurance, thats why I just couldn't understand the blowup. I do understand where he is coming from though, if he wants to take it to the next level in progressive discipline. I just feel like its so meaningless. For christ sake this is the same guy I hunt with and do dip with.
                  When people talk of termination for simple mistakes on reports I feel a little bit of disbelief. I have never heard of that. And it scares me a bit. Especially when I see the crazy verbage that they put on their disciplinary documents. I guess there is always tommorow to do a better job.
                  You've identified another potential problem area. You hunt with this guy and do dip with him? That can be a minefield. "Familiarity breeds contempt" or so the old saying goes. Our colleagues have offered you some excellent suggestions. I can't top them, except to say, start taking your report writing seriously. Your department isn't looking for the next great, American novel, just some well written reports. If you have the time, why not take a creative writing or Journalism course at your local college or university. Who,What, Where, When Why,and How? That works in police reports too. Hang in there, and work on improving your reports. It's very do-able.

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                  • #24
                    Bro, it's simple. Pay attention and just answer who what where why when and how. If you really suck at writing then take a few courses or start reading the reports of those in your Dept who can write. Bad report writing is seen by everyone and makes all involved look stupid in court. Good collars are lost every day due to bad writing. One trick for typos is to read the report backwards. It'll help you catch the simple mistakes. Good luck.

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by doublewhopper View Post
                      HOW do I react to this? Do I just sign and walk out? If its a suspension, I know my union pres would advise a grievance for excessive discipline. What would you say to him other than I'll try my best next time.

                      THere is so much information from you guys its great.
                      Sign it and say," I now know the importance of accuracy when it comes to the contents of a report. Thank you, It won't happen again!"

                      Remember if it has your name attached to it..it is a reflection of your work.
                      Happy hunting and remember to use spell check.
                      And then let us know what bar you are buying us all a round

                      Law enforcement- two minutes of excitement equals hours of report writing.
                      Last edited by deputy x 2; 06-17-2008, 10:33 PM.
                      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


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by doublewhopper View Post
                        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.
                        Dude, take your time with the reports.
                        Last edited by CityCopDC; 06-17-2008, 11:06 PM.

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                        • #27
                          This is what I teach my trainees (on my 24th one right now): A good report starts with a good interview and good field notes. Before you interview, get all the name-rank-and-horsepower information you will need for the face sheet, or whatever you call the form on the front of a report. When you interview someone, let him or her tell the story all the way through with little interruption and you write few notes. When you do write something down, leave four or five blank lines in between each line you write. Have the witness repeat the statement, but this time, you stop him when needed to write detailed notes. After that, ask questions to fill in any blanks. Then tell him the whole thing as you understand it, and add any more information that he gives you.

                          Before you even sit down to write the report, think about how you are going to organize it. Write the narrative first. That is what your mind is on, and when you fill out the face sheet and other forms first, you are often distracted and focused on the narrative, and it leads to boxes not being filled in. The face sheet is go-to-the-freezer-get-the-box stuff, and can wait.

                          After you write the narrative, don't proofread it. Save it, leave it up on your screen and fill out the face sheet and any other forms. Then get up, go use the head, have a smoke or something for a couple minutes. Now you can sit back down and proofread. You will find a lot more items needing correction this way, because you have cleared your mind with other tasks.

                          While you are still having issues with your sergeant, it would be a good idea to have someone else proofread your reports as well. See if an FTO will do it - if they aren't working with a trainee at the moment, they should be more than willing to help.
                          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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                          • #28
                            First off, reports are important. Aside from our brains, our pens/typing fingers are our most-frequently used tools. We should all strive for perfection and self-improvement in all we do, including our documentation and paperwork. The suggestions above are great.

                            With that said...

                            Originally posted by hemicop View Post
                            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........
                            I agree. Constructive criticism is one thing, but this ain't it. It would seem to me there is something else going on... and there's definetly a paper trail being built.

                            I've never heard of a suspension for typos, nor would I EVER consider such a crazy measure. There are far more effective ways to address this type of issue as a supervisor.

                            If the typos are truly the problem here, the supervisor is taking the easy way out with this knee-jerk reaction... (and it wouldn't fly in my area).
                            All Gave Some - Some Gave All

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                            • #29
                              So far, no suspension and was told by my pba pres that there will be no action taken, and that the sgt just wanted to make me stay late to type a memo to him. But I do believe that he is keeping it.

                              I had some reports today to do and I had caught 4 errors on them. only after I printed them out 4 times!! yikes. before handing them in. One was the date of 06/18/08. I couldn't believe that I read right over it without picking it up 3 times!!! Thanks for the advice everyone.

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                              • #30
                                If you do them on a computer it should be easier. Its easier to correct mistakes and go back and change things before submitting. You got to proof read your stuff before sending it up. I cant see getting written up for mistakes on reports unless its just a serious issue where about all of your reports are messed up all of the time and make no sense. It sounds like that might be the case.

                                I dont know what reporting system you guys have. We do ours on the computers in our cars. Once done, we submit them to our supervisers to review and they can approve them or kick them back. Its almost impossible to make mistakes. All fields on a report is required, but some of the very much so "REQUIRED" fields are highlighted and if there is nothing in said field then the report wont submit until its the information is in it. Also, if dates, times, or other numbers are not in the correct format the report will not submit for review. They also have spell check that catches all my spelling errors which is ALOT. God forbid I have to hand write reports again. I would be in a world of trouble with my spelling skills.
                                Last edited by DeputySC; 06-20-2008, 06:03 AM.

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