There's really no reason why you should be
apprehensive about your ability to write a good
police report no matter what kind of report is
required.  The biggest impediment to a police
officer's ability to prepare a grammatically sound
and accurate report is, and always has been,

As soon as you begin your police career, you're
going to hear other police officers complain about
too many reports being required for too many
things.  While attitudes on most things change over
time, this is one complaint that's been around
forever.  However, one change associated with this
complaint has occurred.  You'll find more and more
people in command positions within police
departments who echo the rank and file complaint
about too many reports.

When you hear people in command positions
complain about too many reports, just ignore their
comments.  Since these are the same people who
are responsible for creating and maintaining a
comprehensive and efficient reporting system, your
time is better spent tuning out their whining and
concentrate on your writing skills.

There's a really stubborn misconception that
prevails in most police departments.  Far too many
police officers, particularly among those at the top,
think that modern computerized information
systems should lessen the need for more reports.  
They fail to realize that computer software exists to
handle maximum amounts of information with
maximum efficiency.  These same people seem to
forget that the information to be managed first
needs to be developed and entered by people.
Lies are always easy to recognize and expose;
however, when false allegations against you are
initiated on an inter-agency level, you'll learn that
the investigators charged with the internal
investigation aren't very good at recognizing the
obvious.  When two or more police officers, and
particularly supervisors, become involved in a
conspiracy of lies against you, the investigator's
focus on facts will narrow considerably.  Simply put,
the investigator will ignore facts that contradict the
conspirators' version of the truth.

You may ask, "How can that be?"  It's easy since
exposing the conspirators opens a Pandora's Box,
and it creates too many problems for too many
people.  Even when the lies are obvious to anyone
with an IQ above moron, you'll remain in jeopardy
just because it's a simpler way to dispose of the
whole ugly mess.  While your writing skills won't
make you immune from this particularly malignant
form of false allegations, your skill can certainly
extricate you from jeopardy.  Additionally, once you
establish a reputation for being a good writer,only
the most naive liars will take you on.

I know you're looking at a police career with very
different objectives in mind; however, you must
never lose sight of the fact that there are so many
ways to get into trouble.  You'll make mistakes, and
that's okay as long as they're not really stupid
mistakes.  You'll learn from your mistakes, and
you'll continually improve with experience.  While
you'll have a high level of control over subjecting
yourself to trouble of your own making, you'll be
devastated the first time you're maliciously attacked
by one, or more, of your own.  This is why your
writing skills are second only to the preservation of
your physical safety.
Now that you're aware that you'll always be
expected to provide more than less, you should
immediately concentrate on improving your writing
skills.  As a police officer, there are two things that
will most affect your career.  Your physical safety is
obviously the most important.  While some officers
do sustain injuries, or worse, through carelessness,
most will always approach every situation with
safety in mind.  It's a much different story when
police officers form their attitudes toward the
importance of writing reports.  Most fail to realize
that their failure to develop and utilize effective
written communication skills can have frequent and
adverse effects on their careers.

The most obvious adverse effect will occur in the
prosecution of criminal cases.  In most instances,
the documentation you prepare and submit will form
the bulk of the government's case.  If you establish
a reputation for writing substandard reports, you'll
lose a lot of cases, and you won't enjoy a
reputation for thoroughness and accuracy.  While
that's bad enough, you have to realize that you've
chosen a career where you'll be facing compromising
situations on a continual basis.

It's no exaggeration to say that police officers are
experiencing more complaints regarding their
conduct than ever before.  While there are plenty of
reasons for this circumstance, the reasons aren't
nearly as important as to how you respond to the
allegations.  You will, without a doubt, have false
allegations of misconduct made against you.

If you're working for a good sergeant when a
person(s), from outside or inside the police
department --yes, I said inside the police
department -- makes a false allegation of
misconduct against you, that sergeant will move
heaven and earth to reveal all the facts and
thoroughly report those facts to ensure your
exoneration.  However, if your sergeant is the one
making the false allegation, who's going to reveal
and report the facts.  If you have a good lieutenant,
he or she will promptly put the sergeant in his or
her place.

Here's some good advice.  Don't count on always
having good sergeants and lieutenants.  You'll
encounter liars everywhere.  Some are worse than
others, and some are just better at it than others.  
If you ever find yourself the victim of a false
allegation from a member of your own department,
and your immediate and mid-level supervisors are
corrupt, incompetent, or simply susceptible to
bouts of selective amnesia, you could find yourself
entirely on your own and totally dependent on your
writing skills to expose the lies...and the liars.
"Most fail to realize that their failure to develop
and utilize effective written communication
skills can have frequent and adverse effects on
their careers." ~ Barry M. Baker
Despite the efforts of some, English will continue to
be the primary language used for your police
reports.  However, when you start reading the
reports prepared by other police officers, you may
wonder if English is their first language.  You'll see
some really bad reports by some officers who,
sadly, never realize the need for improvement.  
Even when the reports are written on computers,
the spell check feature eludes many.
Copyright © 2019  Barry M. Baker