Good report writing is key to successful prosecutions and avoiding lawsuits. In today’s litigious society, it’s critical for law enforcement officers to articulate their actions in writing. Semi-literate officers are a liability to themselves as well as their agency. More than at any other time in the history of law enforcement, the art of good report writing is essential. Society’s perception of law enforcement officers has taken a subtle shift from prestigious trusted protectors to “public servants” - servants who are often targeted by politicians, administrators, and lawyers alike when a controversial situation occurs.
The tremendous potential impact of reports on individual law enforcement agencies, their officers, and the criminal justice system itself mandates that report writing be treated with all the seriousness and care of a principal training topic.
It is important to remember that most law enforcement reports will be seen and read by many people, both inside and outside of the agency. While there are many different uses for law enforcement reports, perhaps the most important is in successful criminal prosecutions.
About the author
Joe Davis retired as a Captain from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (CA) after nearly thirty years of service. He has a Masters Degree in Public Administration, is a graduate of the California Command College and FBI Incident Command School, has authored or co-authored ten college textbooks and police training books, has had articles published in both professional and general publications, spoken at national conferences, and been interviewed on national radio and television. Joe co-hosted and co-produced “Crime Time”, the Sheriff’s Department’s public information television program which received a Los Angeles Area Emmy nomination, the PASS Award from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, and the Communicator Crystal Award.