The Importance of Report Writing in Law Enforcment

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Aaron Khamosh
October 5, 2012
The Importance of Report Writing
in Law Enforcement

The popular notion nowadays regarding police work is that it is all about action and high-speed pursuits. However a less frequently mentioned aspect of police work is documentation in the form of police report writing but it serves as one of the most important tools that a police officer can utilize to help them do their jobs. Police report writing is important for a number of reasons, mainly because of the vast number of suspects that police officers deal with on a daily basis. So it is virtually impossible for any police officer to remember every detail of every case without making any notes. In some cases reports are subpoenaed even months down the road after the case has been opened and it can be used as evidence in trials. Furthermore it serves to keep the police officer honest and prevents manipulation of case details. In this essay I will discuss police reports and the significant role that they play with regards to police work.

A police report is a written document prepared by the officer after an incident occurs. Reports are typically in a narrative format that chronologically details as much information as possible with regard to a crime. A police report should include the 5 Ws which are “Who, What, When, Where, and Why”. A police report should be as objective as possible and must include all of the facts or at the very least, deductive reasoning instead of opinions. A police report should be concise and factual so when it is read by someone not familiar with the case, it can still paint a clear picture of what happened.

Police reports are very important because without it, after all the hard work a police officer puts into his work, the case can be dismissed because of a lack of evidence to determine guilt or innocence. A poorly written police report can mistakenly convict an innocent person or set a guilty one free. Since a DA that is assigned to a case...
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