Why Police Reports Matter
Police reports are public records and in some states they may be viewable by just about anybody. Usually there are restrictions on how those records can be used, particularly by employers, landlords, and financial institutions. As already mentioned, police reports are particularly usefuland they may even be necessarywhen filing a claim with your insurer. The contents of a police report are important, so you need to make sure that any police report pertaining to you is accurate and does not cast you in an unnecessarily bad light.
How Do I Find Police Records
If you want to find police records quickly and easily, the fastest way to do so is to do a search on SpyFly. You can have access to some of the largest databases in the country that are filled with public information. Other ways that you could find police records are to:
- File a request with the local police department
- File a request with your county recorders office
- File a request with the state department that you live in
Sometimes you can get access to records within a couple of months, and sometimes it can take years, depending on where you are searching for them.
Request Forms For Ca Family Code 6:
Victims of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, Stalking, Human Trafficking, or Abuse of an Elder or Dependent Adult
California Family Code § 6228 provides that victims of the alleged crimes, listed above, may receive a copy of their incident report within five days of their request, free of charge. Due to the sensitive information included in the reports, SFPD protocol requires in-person identification verification. Victims or their designated representatives must either submit their request in-person or pick-up their incident report in person at CISU Records Management. For a list of acceptable forms of identification, please refer to Section 2 of the Request for Police Report: Family Code § 6228 form.
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Why Am I Not Able To Obtain A Police Report
The most common reason why people cannot get a copy of a police report is because of an ongoing investigation. Once the case is closed, you should be able to obtain a copy.
If you believe you have been unfairly denied access to a police report, you may wish to have a lawyer speak to the authorities on your behalf. Juvenile records may sometimes be sealed or withheld to protect the privacy of the victim. Generally, though, the process to obtain a police report is relatively simple, depending upon who is trying to obtain the report.
Why Are Some Things Blacked Out On The Page
This is called redacting and it is done to protect the privacy of the people involved in the incident.
The Department redacts the names of all victims, all non-involved parties, all juveniles/minors and all suspects unless they have been booked into jail. This is a major reason why it takes time to prepare crime reports for online posting.
Once a suspect has been booked into jail, their name is no longer private. If they were booked into King County Jail you can view suspect information online at the King County Jail Register.
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Why Can’t I Report All Crimes Online
- Only crimes that have no suspects, are not in progress and do not involve injury can be reported online.
- Some crimes and incidents may require evidence collection or other investigative procedures requiring an officer’s involvement.
- Among others, online reporting is NOT appropriate for the following crimes or incidents:
- Incidents occurring within past 30 minutes
- Violent crimes, completed or attempted
- Sex crimes
- Theft or loss of a firearm
- Theft or loss of prescription drugs or other controlled substances.
- Stolen vehicles, completed or attempted
- Stolen license plate
- Burglary of your home or business
- Crimes committed due to race, religion, ethnic or national origin, disability and/or sexual orientation
- Aggressive driving
How To Look Up Old Police Reports
Looking up a police report that’s months or even decades old typically requires the same protocol as looking up recent reports. You can find it online, request it by mail or pick it up in person at the police station. Calling ahead to find out how long a records unit keeps reports is your best bet for finding a very old report. Police reports from the past may come in handy many years after an accident, incident or crime.
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I Think I Might Know Something About An Incident Listed On A Report Who Should I Contact About This
If you read an incident report and believe you have knowledge that would help an investigation, please contact the Seattle Police Non-Emergency Number at 625-5011 and provide the General Offense Number located on the top left side of the report.
If you need to remain anonymous, you may contact Crime Stoppers. Mention the General Offense Number and date and time of the incident.
Damage/ Mischief To Property
Has someone damaged, defaced or vandalized public or private property? This may include:
- Breaking windows, mailboxes, throwing eggs, spray painting, writing or drawing on property.
- Accepted only if there are no known suspects.Please Note: If you were a victim of graffiti vandalism, paint vouchers and graffiti wipes are available for pick up at Police Headquarters.
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Picking Up An Old Police Report
Law enforcement agencies allow you to pick up a copy of a police report at the station, usually at a records unit office or counter. Requesting a copy in person may require you to wait in lengthy lines. Call the records unit before visiting the police department to verify that the report is still available. Find out about the forms, fees and identification needed to obtain an old police report. Some law enforcement agencies release police reports only to those named in the report or their authorized representatives. If you are a third party, you may need to obtain a release, a waiver or a notarized authorization from the person involved in the case, granting you permission to obtain a copy. Read More:Police Report Types
Get A Copy Of Your Police Records
You have the right to ask for a copy of records the police have about you. This is called a subject access request.
You might need a subject access request if you move to another country.
A subject access request has records from:
- police forces in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Jersey and the Isle of Man
- the British Transport Police
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How Long Does It Take To Obtain A Police Report
It typically only takes a few days to a week to get a copy of a police report if you were directly involved in the case. However, if you were not directly involved, or if you are an insurance agent, it will take longer because you have to send in a request and have it processed. This process can take up to a month or longer.
Requesting A Police Report By Mail
The process of requesting a copy of a police report by mail is a bit more involved. In many jurisdictions, you are required to make your Public Access Request via mail. Typically, the agency will provide a form online for you to fill out, but some places are fine with you writing a letter to ask for the police report.
1. Figure out where to send the Public Access Request form or letter.
Your local police department may have a specific address and addressee for police report requests listed on their website. If they dont, simply address it to the Records and Identification Division, and use the general address listed online for the department.
2. Fill out the form or write the letter.
After you have found the location to send your request, you should be able to easily find out if they want you to send a request form or a letter. If the information is not readily available on the site, just call and ask which method they prefer. If it is available, filling out a request form is typically the easiest method because you wont have to worry about leaving out information.
If you write a letter instead of filling out the form, be sure to include the following information:
- Case number
- Your Name, Birthdate, and Address
- The date and location of the incident
- Your role in the case
- The officers name who filed the report
- What exactly you are requesting
3. Gather additional materials and send the form/letter.
4. Pay for the police report.
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Hit And Run Police Report
Accidents involving a hit and run by one or more parties can result in serious penalties so it especially necessary to make a hit and run police report. Hit and runs are illegal and can result in license revocation and even criminal charges.
Filing a police report for a hit and run is imperative even if you do not have much information about the other party or their vehicle.
Whats Available Online Sample Incident Logs
Some police departments put their incident or report logs online.
Here are some examples:
To see San Francisco Bay Area traffic incidents, click on the Communication Centers drop-down menu at the top left and select Golden Gate. To decipher abbreviations used in the incident logs, in the drop-down menu under Resources in the upper right select Glossary.
Berkeley Police Department
Posted daily in pdf format.
Posted daily in pdf format.
Palo Alto Police Department
Posted daily in pdf format.
Davis Police Department
Combines log of arrests and incident log.
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How To Get A Police Report
By law, certain police records and violation reports prepared and maintained by the Police Department are accessible to the general public.
If you need to get a copy of a police report, do this. First, begin by researching the requirements of the police department responsible for the jurisdiction in which the incident occurred. Then, follow the departments exact protocol for requesting and receiving those records. Start by checking the police departments website. Expand your search to the city website if you dont find anything on the police departments website.
Obtain and Fill Out Request Forms
Some departments may require that you complete a request form, sometimes called a request for public records. This may also be known as a request for open records. When you check the department website, look to see if you can download the request form from their site. If so, fill out the request form and submit it according to the directions.
Most request forms will require you to provide the first and last name of at least one of the involved parties. In addition, youll need the location, date, and time of the incident, and in some cases, the incident or case number.
Submitting the Request Form
Important Notes Regarding Submitting Requests for Police Reports
- It may take a few days or more to obtain the official documents
- Charges for obtaining copies of the documents may vary by city or jurisdiction
- Very few departments allow access to records online
Do You Need A Copy Of A Police Report
Using the links below, download a copy of the request form. Submit the completed form either by mail or by hand delivery to:
Long Beach Police Department Long Beach, CA 90802 ATTN: RECORDS DIVISION
The processing time for your report will vary depending on the incident. On average, the turn around time for your report will be three weeks.
- Application For Release of Traffic Collision And/Or Crime Report / Incident Information Long Beach Police Department will charge a $23.00 fee for copies of reports. The fee will be charged for copies of all types of reports: incident reports, arrest reports, traffic collision reports and information-only reports. Victims will be exempt from the report request fee.
- Additional Property Loss Form
- Civil Harassment Restraining Order Information
What Is The Description Of These Crime Types
PART I CRIMES: The four crime types currently posted here Burglaries, Robberies, Aggravated Assaults and Homicides are among those known as Part I or Major Crimes. These terms refer to seven crimes designated by the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting System as a basis for charting crime trends across the United States. The seven crimes chosen by the FBI as Part I crimes are: homicide, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault, which comprise Violent Crimes and burglary, larceny/theft and vehicle theft, which comprise Property Crimes.
People sometimes confuse the criminal behavior involved in a burglary versus a robbery. They may also not realize there is a difference between aggravated assaults and less serious assaults. The official FBI definitions of the crime types posted here are, as follows:
BURGLARY: the unlawful entry of a structure to commit a felony or theft.
ROBBERY: taking or attempting to take anything of value from another person by force, threat or force or violence and/or by putting the victim in fear.
AGGRAVATED ASSAULTS: an unlawful attack by one person upon another for the purpose of inflicting severe or aggravated bodily injury. This type of assault is usually accompanied by the use of a weapon or by other means likely to produce death or great bodily harm.
What Is A Police Report
People file a police report with law enforcement for a wide variety of reasons such as domestic disputes, traffic accidents, burglaries, and home invasions, fraud, theft, stalking, violence, and many other reasons. To file a report, citizens usually begin by calling 911, or their local police departments non-emergency line, to report the incident.
Once a citizen reports an incident, dispatchers assign it to local officers in the area. The police officers travel to the appropriate location via car, motorcycle, or other police vehicles. Then, the officers evaluate the situation, make observations, interview witnesses, record data, and complete forms and reports required by their local police department.
Police officers also initiate the filing of a report to record the data and gather the details associated with criminal and civil incidents such as car accidents, burglaries, assaults, and robberies, just to name a few.
Officers gather and record a great deal of information and data on a police report. This is to help ensure thorough and accurate investigations and to support criminal proceedings if they become necessary. Also, background verification services may use them in background checks. The information contained in the typical police report may vary from county to county, but most capture very similar information.
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Request From Ppd Records Department
- The Records Office can be reached at 243-6416.
- You can pick up reports between the hours of 8:15 AM to 2:45.
- There are times when the police reports you seek will not be available at the time of your request. Please be advised that the Access to Public Records Act gives a public body ten business days to respond.
- If you feel you have been denied access a police report, you have the right to appeal to the Police Chief.
- If you are still not satisfied, you may file a complaint with the Department of Attorney General, located at 4 Howard Avenue, Cranston, RI 02920, or file suit in Superior Court.
What Is A General Offense Report
A General Offense Report is the standard format for initial crime reports that are written up by a police officer responding to an incident. Many of these will be responses to 9-1-1 calls. Others will be on-view incidents, which is an incident an officer sees and responds to, without being called to the scene.
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What Happens After I File A Report Online
- Upon submitting your completed report online, you will see the words Your online police report has been submitted indicating your report is complete.
- You will receive an email with a temporary case number until police have reviewed the report. Check your junk email folder if you do not receive the email in your inbox.
- Once a police officer has approved the online report, you will be notified and provided a permanent case number.
- The accuracy of the information you provide in the report greatly assists Peel Regional Police Service in investigating your incident. Please ensure the report is as complete and concise as possible.
Finding The Descriptions Of Crimes For Different Penal Code Sections
Police records usually refer to penal code sections in describing crimes police are investigating.
For example, section 187 of the penal code is for homicides.
How can you find out which crimes the various sections of the state penal code stand for?
The Berkeley Police Department has a list of commonly used penal code sections and which crimes they refer to. Thats at:
At the site check the box next to Penal Code. In the search box type in the number for the penal code section youre interested in .
At the search results page, click on the first listing. That should give you the penal code section youre seeking .
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Time Limits May Apply
The availability of an old police report depends largely on the jurisdiction’s minimum time for retaining records. For example, you may be able to obtain a report from North Carolina sheriff’s offices for up to 20 years for solved cases and longer for unsolved cases, according to state record retention laws. The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department keeps crime, arrest and accident reports for up to 10 years however, reports involving homicides, missing persons and sex crimes are kept longer. According to PRI Management Group, a law enforcement consulting company, law enforcement agencies tend to retain records longer than required by law, and if a record still exists, it can be requested by the public.