And, no...you can't simply write,
"unfounded."  When you make a
reported incident unfounded, you've got
to be able to prove that it's unfounded.  
The easiest way to prove an incident
unfounded is when the complainant
admits to you that the crime he or she
reported , in fact, never happened.  
When you become certain a complainant
is fabricating an incident of crime, your
skill as an interviewer will get the truth
out of that complainant better than 90%
of the time.

Police officers love the word,
"inconsistencies."  A few inconsistencies
in a complainant's statements to you do
not alone make a crime unfounded.  
When those inconsistencies become so
many and critical that they convince you
the complainant is making a false report,
you've established probable cause to
charge the complainant criminally for filing
a false police report.  There are a few
people out there who won't come clean
no matter how many holes you punch
through their stories.

The best way to charge a complainant is
to first write your report stating the
details of the suspected fabricated
incident as described by the
complainant.  You then list all the
inconsistencies establishing your
probable cause to charge the
complainant.  While you could arrest the
complainant, I wouldn't recommend that
course.  You should obtain a criminal
summons or an arrest warrant from a
magistrate or court commissioner.  The
truth is, most courts don't take the crime
of making false reports to police officers
that seriously.  You'll learn that the court
will almost always issue a criminal
summons over an arrest warrant.

You ask, "If courts don't take the crime
seriously, why should I go to all the
trouble of charging the complainant?"  
Because... it's the best thing to do.  If
you don't charge the complainant, how
can you prove the crime reported never

If you join a police department that
maintains its reporting system at a high
level of integrity, you won't have any
problems knowing exactly what's
expected from you.  If you join a police
department that maintains a poor system
of reporting accountability, you'll have to
educate yourself on how to do things

Remember, every time you make a crime
unfounded which really isn't, you're
corrupting the only measure for a police
department to analyse and effectively
fight crime.
A police officer once responded to a call
for a street robbery. During the
questioning of the victim, the victim
became upset with the officer's
questions.  The interview deteriorated;
until, the victim finally said, "Forget it...
I'll take care of it myself!"

The officer was required to submit a
report, and he did, but in the narrative
he wrote, "unable to locate a victim/

Well, the victim did take care of it
himself.  He contacted the police
department's internal affairs unit and
made a complaint against the officer.  
While the complaint regarding the
officer's attitude was no big deal, the
false report submitted by the officer was
a big deal.  The officer was tried in an
administrative hearing for the false
report, found guilty, and FIRED!
The Unfounded Report should be the
most easily understood report you'll ever
have to make.  In fact, in some police
departments where it's the most popular
report, it's still the most misunderstood.

People lie.  There is no question that
you'll have people lying to you about
something day in and day out.  Even
before you become a police officer, you
know that suspects will lie to you.  After
you become a police officer you'll learn
that some victims will also lie to you:
In this example the victim most certainly
was robbed at gunpoint by two men,
but, at this point, some police officers
would determine the victim is lying about
everything, and this real robbery would
go down as an unfounded robbery.  
Since you're a real police officer, and you
take your job seriously, you really start
to question this guy.  You're not shy
about pointing out your doubts, and it
doesn't take that long to break this
victim down.

The victim finally admits he picked up a
prostitute, or a woman he believed to be
a prostitute, who directed him to the
location.  As soon as he parked his car,
there was a man at his window pointing a
gun at him.  As the gunman demanded
the victim's money, the woman simply
got out of the car and walked away
unobstructed by the two robbers.  Think
about how your continued investigative
efforts have changed everything. Instead
of a generic two thug robbery incident,
you've now uncovered a more
sophisticated operation.

This incident could go one of two ways.  
Another police officer may have made the
report unfounded, or another may have
taken the report without the additional
and critical female suspect information.  
The worst choice would be the
unfounded report.

The way you approach the issue of the
unfounded police report is going to
depend, in large measure, by how
seriously your police department views
the issue of accurate crime reporting.  It
all goes to the UCR Part One crimes.  If
your department allows you to simply
submit some kind of code for making a
Part One crime unfounded, a lot of crimes
that should be reported will go

If your police department makes you
write a report every time you receive a
call for a Part One crime, you might view
that policy as a nuisance and
unnecessary.  For example, you arrive at
the location given, and you're unable to
locate a victim/ complainant.  The
narrative of that report could simply
state -- unable to locate a victim/

Here's the point.  If you can't locate that
victim/complainant, you've submitted a
truthful report.  If, on the other hand,
you do locate the victim, but you decide
the victim is giving a false report, and
you write, "unable to locate a victim/
complainant," then, you're making a false
"The easiest way to prove an incident
unfounded is when the complainant
admits to you that the crime he or
she reported , in fact, never
happened." ~ Barry M. Baker
At about 10 pm on a Saturday night, you
respond to an industrial area for a report
of a street robbery.  You meet a middle
aged man standing beside his car on a
gas station parking lot.

The victim tells you he was robbed at
gunpoint by two men when he parked his
car a couple blocks away.  You know that
something isn't quite right when he's
hesitant to show you exactly where he
was parked when he was robbed.  

You and the victim arrive at the crime
scene which is very secluded.  You
become even more suspicious when the
victim cannot give you a reasonable
explanation as to why he was at that
secluded location.  He finally tells you that
he chose the location, because he had to

You really put him on the spot when you
insist he show you exactly where he
urinated.  He finally points out an area,
and you go to work with your flashlight.  
Of course, you're not going to find a wet
spot, because the victim is lying to you.

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Copyright © 2021  Barry M. Baker  
Becoming a Police Officer
An Insider's Guide to a Career
in Law Enforcement
There are Five
Indispensable Truths
for a Successful Police
Today's police officers are
afforded the best ballistic
protection in history... and
it only gets better.
Recommended reading for
those of you thinking
about becoming a Police
Page 1
Alabama to California
Page 2
Colorado to Idaho
Page 3
Illinois to Kentucky
Page 4
Louisiana to Massachusetts
Page 5
Michigan to New Jersey
Page 6
New Mexico to North Dakota
Page 7
Ohio to South Dakota
Page 8
Tennessee to Washington-DC
As a police officer, you'll
be writing something
everyday of your police
career.  Everything you put
to writing, no matter how
seemingly inconsequential,
will be important.
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