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  • Writing Reports

    What are the essentials to writing an effective police report? if I were to hold a class for rookies, what tips would you give them?
    Thanks in advance for your comments.......
    If you just let people talk long enough......you will learn their intentions.

  • #2
    Make sure you spell everything correctly.

    Know what it means to write in chronological order - and do it.

    Be detailed.

    Make absolutely sure your report covers all the elements of the crime that you've arrested a person for (if applicable).

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by xxcrispyxricexx View Post
      Make sure you spell everything correctly.

      Know what it means to write in chronological order - and do it.

      Be detailed.

      Make absolutely sure your report covers all the elements of the crime that you've arrested a person for (if applicable).

      +1
      Get the who, what, where, when, how and why established as much as possible and as the above posted, probable cause and or elements of the offense in chronological order of occurence.

      Nothing worse for detectives than trying to figure out what happened when the narrative jumps back and forth.

      Comment


      • #4
        This is what helped me...Write the report, walk away for a few minutes and read it aloud, to yourself. I always read over my reports a number of times. I always find a spelling error that was not observed earlier. The above folks covered the other areas. By going back, I find things, little errors which did not appear when I originally wrote it. Take your time to read it and have another partner read it, if available. Check your face pages very well, boxes which need to be checked are sometimes overlooked. Some people are naturals at report writing others it takes some time.

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        • #5
          Social,

          If you are a cop, how can you NOT know the answer to the question; and if not, why are you teaching this subject?
          Free Deke O'Mally!!!

          Comment


          • #6
            Write your report in a way that the person reading it can know every thing you: saw, smelt, felt, and heard.

            Comment


            • #7
              Another thought indirectly related to report writing, if the report is something including interview info or one where you want to get quotes, it never hurts to have a voice recorder going (assuming it's legal for you to do so) while you take your notes. It's nice to have to listen to if you can't remember for sure that something was said (or what was said), and you can make sure your quotes are accurate.

              The recorder shouldn't be used as a replacement to note taking though... It should be used as a supplement to it.

              Comment


              • #8
                Learning how to KISS while at the same time including the critical elements. Keep your sentence and paragraph construction to the simplest levels and double check your spelling.
                Today's Quote:

                "The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits."
                Albert Einstein

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                • #9
                  Yes, spellcheck has saved me many a time.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Social Worker
                    What is KISS?
                    Keep It Simple, Stupid

                    The best axiom to live by when you could do it the complicated way or the easy way and still wind up with similar results.
                    Magistrate: "Do you have any other pending charges?"
                    Drunk: "Well there's this thing where the cops said I spit blood on them."
                    Me: "Wait a minute, that was me!"
                    Drunk: "Oh... now you like me even less."

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Social Worker
                      Defender77......Spellcheck is essential in any profession.
                      As a very progressive and well funded agency, my spell check is my pen. That's right, folks: we still handwrite our reports. This is supposed to change in January when we finally transition to an in-car reporting system, but until then my dyslexia afflicted friend keeps a dictionary in his go bag.
                      Magistrate: "Do you have any other pending charges?"
                      Drunk: "Well there's this thing where the cops said I spit blood on them."
                      Me: "Wait a minute, that was me!"
                      Drunk: "Oh... now you like me even less."

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        First person, active voice, chronological flow; identifying you (the report writer), how you learned of the incident, what happened, where it happened, and who was involved. Everything spelled correctly, with proper punctuation, no run-on sentences, and good syntax. No acronyms or police jargon; everything in plain English.
                        “Truth is not what you want it to be; it is what it is, and you must bend to its power or live a lie.”

                        Miyamoto Musashi

                        “Life Is Hard, But It's Harder When You're Stupid”

                        George V. Higgins (from The Friends of Eddie Coyle)

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                        • #13
                          I'm big on paragraphs. I've read some co-worker's reports that consisted of one huge block of text. It makes it harder than heck to read.
                          Those who are successful at what they do don't give a rip about what others think about them.

                          We don't rent pigs.

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                          • #14
                            Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How? Proper spelling, grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and yes, paragraphs.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Social Worker
                              Awesome! so truthfully....How realistic is it that LE actually follow all that? Or do a lot of reports need to be rewritten because of their lack of info and writing style? Also, can an officer/deputy be fired for bad writing skills?
                              Such classes are also taught in the academy to help new recruits. We even had spelling tests when I went to make sure we could spell simple things like "juvenile." Supervisors (like me) also check the reports after they are done with them to make the necessary corrections. I don't see an officer/deputy getting fired for a lack of grammar and report writing issues, but it doesn't look good in court when an attorney eats up your report because of it.
                              I'm 10-8 like a shark in a sea of crime..

                              Comment

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