While all the report formats may look daunting at
first, you'll soon become familiar with all the parts
that are standardized. The real challenge to the
preparation of any report will be the report's
You're going to work with a lot of police officers
who really believe that a report narrative shouldn't
contain very much information. The amount of
information your narrative contains should always
be dictated by how much relevant information is
available to you -- not by some arbitrary keep it
Simplicity is a wonderful and underestimated tool
when it comes to communication. However,
simplicity is not synonymous with omission. You
could handle an incident where your report narrative
may require only a couple of paragraphs. On
another occasion, the complexity of the incident,
and your investigative efforts, might require your
narrative to be of considerable length.
In the beginning, you'll omit relevant information
only because you're still inexperienced. Hopefully,
you'll have a sergeant who is experienced and
interested in your development as a thorough and
Police officers universally have a bad habit of
omitting information from reports which they believe
should be inferred -- perhaps by telepathy. For
example, a particular incident might require a
particular notification such as contacting detectives.
Since the notification is standard for the particular
incident, the officer omits it from the report. If you
have a sergeant who thoroughly reviews your
reports, you'll soon learn that inference has no
place in police reports. In other words, if you don't
write it, it didn't happen.
Let's face it...a lot of police officers aren't that great
when it comes to communicating in writing. I
supervised some really good police officers whose
writing skills were horrible. The nice thing about
being a police sergeant is one's ability to turn your
criticisms into demands for improvement. If you're
one of those police officers whose writing skills
aren't where they should be, don't ever take
Remember...a narrative is simply a story describing
an event(s) and what actions and tasks you
performed in response to the event(s).
When you become a police officer, you'll be writing a
lot of reports. Talk about an understatement.
Whether you're using a pen or a computer, you'll
spend an enormous amount of your time filling out
forms and describing details of events in writing.
"Simplicity is a wonderful and underestimated
tool when it comes to communication.
However, simplicity is not synonymous with
omission." ~ Barry M. Baker
|Copyright © 2019 Barry M. Baker