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Is this standard procedure?


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  • Is this standard procedure?

    A relative of mine who lives in Colorado was the victim of domestic violence recently. She said that the responding officer had her write her statement of what happened, despite her hands shaking so badly that she could barely hold the pen. Why would he make her write the statement? In 14 years and a couple thousand reports, I have never once had the victim write their statement out, and have never seen that done by anyone else. Too much critical information will be left out.

    Is this standard procedure in Colorado Springs, is the officer poorly trained in investigations, or is he just too lazy to conduct a proper interview?
    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

  • #2
    I've seen that technique used here a couple of times. Generally, it is used by officers who have gone to court and had a domestic violence victim deny that she ever made any criminal allegations and that the officer must be lying. After a career threatening personal complaint for dishonesty and perjury, the officers have adopted the technique of including the victim's own written statement in the report. The officers are unfortunately just looking out for their own welfare and that of their families.


    • #3
      I had an FTO that did that on accident reports for much the same reason that Underdog stated. I can understand the officer doing that on domestic violence arrests. Even though we are protected by law for making a probable cause domestic violence arrest, it's still a kick in the teeth when the "victim" shows up holding hands with the guy who knocked her senseless the week before and swears that you went overboard when you arrested her true love!


      • #4
        Ditto to what Underdog and Deputy said. Sounds like good police work to me.


        • #5
          I've found that letting anybody other than a professional investigator prepare their own statement is a mistake, and that includes many so called store detectives. The statements they produce are often not worth the paper they are written on.

          We may be at cross purposes, but we take statements on separate statement forms which are signed by the witness. I have never had any witness try and say what was recorded on their statement wasn't correct, though many change their account under cross examination.

          I have lost count though of the number of domestic violence victims who come to court and retract their complaint, believing that their partner will change.



          • #6
            I do written statements only on domestics, however I get a detailed verbal statement in addition. Like what was stated earlier, too much information will be left out of the written.
            "I assume you all have guns and crack."


            • #7
              We attempt to get everyone involved in a case to provide written statements. If they are too shaken to write the statement, we ask them to dictate it to us. We then have them sign it and get someone else to witness their signature.
              "Integrity is like virginity. Once it's lost, you can't get it back." --drunkhunter


              • #8
                Originally posted by Deputy757:
                Even though we are protected by law for making a probable cause domestic violence arrest, it's still a kick in the teeth when the "victim" shows up holding hands with the guy who knocked her senseless the week before and swears that you went overboard when you arrested her true love!

                This happens more times than not. I see victim statements as a CYA thing.

                We use the statements not as a exact account of what occurred, but as a back up to the actual incident/crime report (which includes all the pertinent details that may/were left out of the victim's statement. If not, ten minutes after you take Beater off to jail, the Beatee has changed his/her mind and the details of the call suddenly change, and you are a JBT for hauling sweetie off to jail.

                We've got several frequent domestic abuse flyers who always take the creep back, drop VPOs, etc. etc.


                • #9
                  The problem with employing this technique at my department is that a rather large segment of the local population doesn't speak English well, much less write it well.


                  • #10
                    Lobster, if their statement was going to be the only documentation of what happened then I would agree with you. However, I have found that having them write something out goes a long way later on...especially when the judge is questioning whether to fine them for falsely reporting an incident.


                    • #11
                      My department does not use it's own reporting system except in one county. We use the local agency's report and their CC# with a code stating that our department drew the number. In each of the jurisdictions they all, as well as us, use what is called a DV supplement. It has a figure on it for the victim to show where they were injured and a very small space for the victim to fill in their statement. By very small, I mean that most people won't be able to write more than a few sentences. Most of the report is for the officer to fill in things like what injuries occurred, EMS response, witnesses etc.. The form is virtually the same in each jurisdiction.
                      In God we trust, all others are run MILES and NCIC.


                      • #12
                        Maybe I am missing something, but isn't it a WHOLE lot easier to take a tape recorded statement from the victim? That's the way we do it here.

                        I usually reserve written statements for those people out there how are drunk and get into a fight (not domestics). I give them the statement form and have them return it to me when completed. Most of the time, they never return it.


                        [ 05-22-2003, 10:42 PM: Message edited by: Hightower ]
                        No, you've got the wrong number. This is 9-1....2.
                        - Police Chief Clancy Wiggum


                        • #13
                          It is a lot easier to attach a copy of a written statement to the report than it is to attach a copy of an audio tape.


                          • #14
                            You are certainly getting a "pure version" statement from the victim when you can get them to write out themselves, then you can analyze it for discrepancies in case of false reports ("victim" trying to speed along a divorce and/or child custody dispute, or someone trying to perform damage control due to the "suspect" discovering a previously-secret affair). It can always be supplemented with an in-depth interview afterwards, preferrably while being video taped.
                            #32936 - Royal Canadian Mounted Police - 1975-10-27 / 2010-12-29
                            Proud Dad of #54266 - RCMP - 2007-02-12 to date
                            RCMP Veterans Association - Regina Division member
                            Mounted Police Professional Association of Canada - Associate (Retired) member
                            "Smile" - no!


                            • #15
                              You've never heard of a written statement from a victim?????

                              Damn, I wish I lived in your high tech world. I've taken more written statements than I care to think about.

                              Yeah, I could tape it. Then I have to get it transcribed. That will get done...well, when it gets done.

                              In the mean time, the States Attorney wants something to show at first appearence. That statement, written or verbal, is my probable cause to make the arrest in many cases.

                              So for "routine" cases (and DV is routine), I go with the written statement as a first choice.

                              Basically, the clerks are tied up transcribing a ton of taped statements for the detectives. For patrol to get one done takes second place.

                              [ 05-23-2003, 04:19 PM: Message edited by: Niteshift ]


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