Monday, October 11, 2010

Report Writing

Write reports in the first person active voice telling the story chronologically as you experienced it. Write it in plain English, if you use radio codes, jargon, or other police talk, then explain it as soon as you write it. Five or ten years from now if you go to court on a cold case or civil trial you may not remember what that code is or it may have changed since then.

If you hand write reports we have always been told to write them in black ink. I have recently begun to rethink that position. Today’s copy machines are so good it is often difficult to tell a copy from an original. Some are now suggesting that you use blue ink, so you can tell a copy from an original. Not a bad idea, if your department will allow it. A signature in blue ink on a black form stands out pretty well.

Review the Penal Code, and agency policy any time you write a complex report. It will help you to include those small details that you may have forgotten so that the elements of the crime are all listed and you explain how you were able to follow policy. If you are concerned about your role in a major incident, don’t hesitate to speak to your union representative or even an attorney prior to writing a report. Once it is on paper, you own it; that’s what the SGT Says.

2 comments:

Bob G. said...

Sarge:
Not one thing wrong with a WRITTEN "CYA" at your beck and call.
Keeps the prosecutors on their toes to MAKE THE CASE, too.

Bunkermeister said...

Exactly G.