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How To Start A Police Report

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Importance Of Police Reports

How to File a Police Report

As previously stated, police departments in every city are there to provide aid to citizens who are responsible for reporting crime by way of filing police reports.

Police reports are a way to document incidents, both large and small. They help identify perpetrators of crimes so that officers can stop them and any further crimes. Reports help keep both citizens and the police department accountable for public safety.

For cases involving vehicles, accident police reports are helpful when filing insurance claims, identifying the party at fault and keeping city roads safe.

What Information Police Reports Include

Police reports must include information about all the people involved, such as

  • Law enforcement officers name and ID number
  • Diagrams of the scene
  • Reference number

Other information agents can include in the report are crime statistics, calls for service, weather data, crime surveys, and traffic accident reviews.

Car Accident Police Reports

Car accident police reports are mandated in every state. This is because they happen so often and it is vital to keep drivers responsible through legal consequences.

Many states have laws in place to keep residents accountable and safe. These laws mandate getting a police report after an accident. Some states like Colorado require drivers to file a report even for minor fender benders.

On the other hand, states like Vermont mandate that drivers only need to make a car accident police report if the total damage, property or personal injury, is over $3,000. Most states require that you file within 10 days of the accident. Drivers who fail to make a report can get their license suspended or incur violation fines.

A complete and comprehensive accident police report includes the following information:

  • Date, time and location of the accident
  • Names, address, phone numbers car information and insurance information of all parties involved in accident
  • Information that identifies witnesses
  • Description of damage on vehicles and injuries
  • Weather and road conditions at the site of the accident
  • Statements from all parties involved in accident
  • Citations given
  • Opinion of cause of collision from all parties involved

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Take Note Of Those Involved

Another essential detail to take note of in your police report is to write down the information of the people who filed the report. It could be the victim themselves, an associate of theirs, or a bystander who saw the event. Take their information as well so that you can follow up on them for any more details.

After Signing The Witness Statement

Sample Police Report Template

The police may take you to the scene of the crime if they need to ask further questions. Also, if you do not know the person you saw commit the crime, you may be asked to pick out the person from a line up of people, describe what the person looked like to an artist or look through photographs .

Also, if you had any injuries, the police may take pictures so your injuries can be used as evidence later. If you do have injuries, you may wish to visit the victim of crime section.

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Sign And Add A Disclaimer

At the end of your report, make sure there is enough space for the author to affix a signature. You may also include a brief truth disclaimer stating that all the information provided above are facts you know to be true, is in no way false or misleading, and are stated to the best of your ability and memory.

Obtain A Public Police Report Copy

After filing a public police report you are able to obtain a copy for yourself any time. Unless you received one from a dispatched officer on the scene, you most likely will have to pay a fee to obtain a copy.

Most police reports are public record so anyone who wants to see their own or someone elses report is able to do so. Reports that are under investigation though are usually restricted to the police department and investigating parties, however.

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What Is A Police Report

A police report is an important document stating a record of a criminal incident, such as assault, identify theft, or robbery, for example. Any representative in the police department can write a police report. Making a report needs to be dangerous because it involves legal procedures. The law enforcement team also writes them after someone reports an accident or crime to them.

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How To Find Police Reports And Arrest Records Across Multiple Jurisdictions

What its like to be a new police officer | The Recruits

Conducting your investigation can become complicated if you need to do a background search on someone who has lived in multiple jurisdictions. To simplify things, an internet-based specialized investigation company can provide a comprehensive, multi-state search in one easy step. This allows you to search for multiple records from all over the country quickly and easily. And you can avoid the hassle of searching for individual records from various government entities.

BeenVerified has an online search form for public records. BeenVerifieds automated search aggregates from hundreds of databases and repositories. To search, just go to the online search form and enter the persons first name, last name, and city. The form will search multiple public records databases and provide a list of potential matching names. Scroll through the list and select the person youre searching for, then click Build Report.

Questions and More Information

If you have any questions about how to get a copy of your police report, please leave a comment below. Also, view more Law Enforcement Resources.

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Back 2 Basics: How To Write A Good Police Report

faculty member, Criminal Justice with American Military University andBruce Razey, 35-year police veteran

Good police writing has been commonly described as clear, concise, and well-organized. However, what does that mean? As police supervisors with over 50 years combined service, we found that you cannot leave the interpretation of those words up in the air. As an example, we once received a report from an officer claiming it was clear, concise, and well-organized, and to some extent he was correct.

The report consisted of three words, Nailed, jailed, and bailed.

This humorous report became legendary in our department. We learned that to encourage good police report writing, it required that we define what it means for reports and documents to be clear, concise and well-organized. Here are examples about how to write a police report so it is clear, concise and well-organized.

CLEAR: For a police report to be clear, it must properly identify the persons, places and/or things relevant to the crime.

Poor Example: Victim states three acquaintances struck him at the shopping center. One hit him with a bat and then they pushed him down in the parking lot. He admitted it, but she said she was not involved.

CONCISE: This means using the most precise wording to describe the crime and how it occurred while still answering the 5 Ws and H that are available .

About the Authors:

How To Write An Incident Report

This article was co-authored by Clinton M. Sandvick, JD, PhD. Clinton M. Sandvick worked as a civil litigator in California for over 7 years. He received his JD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1998 and his PhD in American History from the University of Oregon in 2013.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 19 testimonials and 82% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 1,106,434 times.

If youre a security guard or police officer deployed to the scene of an incident, writing up a detailed and accurate report is an important part of doing your job correctly. A good incident report gives a thorough account of what happened without glossing over unsavory information or leaving out important facts. Its crucial to follow the appropriate protocol, describe the incident clearly, and submit a polished report.

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Obtaining A Report For A Third Party Crash

You can obtain Florida accident reports for third-party crashes beginning 60 days after the accident. At this point, the information becomes public.

Use the same procedure to access third-party FHP accident reports at BuyCrash as to obtain your own. However, you do not need to prove that you are one of the people connected to the accident in order to receive the report.

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Theft Of A License Plate

Accident Report Template Word Best Of 23 Sample Accident Report ...

Someone has stolen one or both of the license plates from your vehicle. It does not matter if the licenses plates were expired. You may also report a missing temporary tag. You will need the license plate and VIN number for the vehicle that had the plates stolen.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Once reported, the license plate or temporary tag will be entered into national law enforcement databases as “stolen”.To avoid an unnecessary interaction with officers, you MUST contact your local office of the Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles to obtain new license plates or a temporary tag. DO NOT DRIVEa vehicle with a license plate attached that has been reported and entered as stolen.

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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 names 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

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.

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Almost Anyone Who Meets Law Enforcement Entrance Requirements Can Learn To Write Effective Reports

Useful Opportunities

Picture an officer typing on a laptop in a patrol car late at night. It is easy to understand why people often describe writing as a solitary activity. However, from another perspective writing appears communal. Peoples lives are filled with language activities, and the constant flow of words means that opportunities to sharpen writing skills exist everywhere.

Whether officers serve as cadets, instructors, supervisors, or seasoned officers, they already have encountered a wealth of language experiences. It is important to be generous with sharing expertise and seeking opportunities to sharpen skills and expand knowledge. This will benefit the individuals reports, as well as the organization and fellow officers.

Dr. Reynolds may be contacted at jreynoldswrite@aol.com.


1 William L. Harvey, Leadership Quotes and Police Truisms,Law Enforcement Technology, July 1, 2015, 44, accessed December 9, 2016, http://let.epubxp.com/i/536817-jul-2015/12.2 Rebecca Kanable, Getting it Right: Convictions Require Good Report Writing,Law Enforcement Technology, September 1, 2005, accessed December 9, 2016, https://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-137631960.html.3 Amaury Murgado, How to Master Report Writing,Police: The Law Enforcement Magazine, November 22, 2010, accessed December 9, 2016, http://www.policemag.com/channel/patrol/articles/2010/11/report-writing.aspx.

Acquiring And Using A Police Report

Cops arrested him for filming a traffic stop, then the case went to court…

If an incident, accident or crime had happened and one or more police officers had responded, then a police report was most likely created. If you are involved in the incident or are one of the victims of the crime, you are entitled to get a copy of the said report. To be able to obtain a copy of the report, youd have to contact the responding agency soon after the incident.

Find the contact details of the law enforcement agency and give them a call to ask for a copy of the police report template. You may have to pay a minimal fee and appear at the agency in person to get the report.

Though a police report isnt acceptable in proceedings in the civil court, you may be able to use it as leverage in negotiating for any personal injury arguments for your own advantage.

Aside from this, you can use the information on the report to settle discussions in the event of an accident. Through the statements of the witnesses, you can determine who was at fault and who is responsible for the occurrence. The report would also contain contact details of the witnesses so you can give them a call if needed. Now lets move on to learn why police reports are so important.

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File An Online Police Report

Welcome to the Mt. Juliet Police Department Citizens Online Police Reporting System. IF THIS IS AN EMERGENCY CALL 911. Using this online citizen police report system allows you to submit a report immediately. Please confirm the following to find out if online citizen police report filing is right for you:

  • This is not an Emergency?
  • This incident occurred within the Mt. Juliet City limits?
  • There are No Known suspects?
  • You are at least 18 years old?
  • Do you have a valid e-mail address?

If you answered YES to all of the above questions, you are ready to file your report online. Please make sure to turn off your pop-up blocking software before filing the report.

Please Note:

  • Upon completion of this report, you will receive confirmation that your report was submitted.
  • All incidents filed using the Citizens Online Police Reporting System will be reviewed.
  • Upon review, if further investigation of your case is needed, you may be contacted.
  • If your report is not approved you will be notified by e-mail and told what steps you need to take next.
  • If your report is approved by a member of the Mt. Juliet Police Department you will receive an e-mail with your approved report attached, which will contain your incident number.
  • An online report CANT be filed for theft of any of the following items: firearm, medication, vehicle, and/or vehicle license plate. All of these will require a police officer.
  • Filing a false police report is a FELONY .
  • Non-Criminal Property Damage

Lost Or Mislaid Property

You have lost or mislaid your property. For example, you spend the day running errands and when you get home you notice your sunglasses are missing. You cannot specifically remember where you last saw them.

If you can remember the last location of the item, do not use this report type report the item as a theft. For example, you leave your phone on the table at a restaurant. After leaving you realize you forgot your phone. Upon returning to the restaurant the phone is gone and has not been turned into the business.

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How Do You File A Police Report

There are several ways to make a police report. You can file online, in-person, or even call depending on the nature of the crime you’re reporting. Here’s how to file a report using these methods:

File Online You can file an online police report for the crimes listed above. You’ll need a valid email address to file your online report and meet the criteria specified above.
Make a call If your incident didn’t meet the criteria for online reporting, call a non-emergency police response. If it’s an emergency a crime that involves a weapon or possesses an immediate threat to those around dial 911.
In-Person Alternatively, you can walk into a police station near where the incident transpired and file a report. The police will ask about the incident, location, your contact details, and evidence .

What Type Of Information And Data Is Contained In A Police Report

Fake Police Report Car Accident

The following are types of data and information that may be included. Please note that there is no universal police report. Information will vary from department to department.

  • Identifying information for all parties involved in the incident, including full name, address, phone number, date of birth, social security numbers, drivers license numbers
  • Date of the occurrence or incident
  • Location of the occurrence or incident
  • The officers name and ID number
  • The names of other officers who were present
  • Diagrams or drawings of the scene
  • The names of witnesses and their statements
  • Reference number

The law enforcement case file may also contain motor vehicle information, as well as specific details of the incident and any evidence associated with the case.

Examples of police reports may include but are not limited to domestic disputes, traffic accidents, thefts, fraud, assault, burglaries, and stalking incidents. Other information that may be available includes crime surveys, crime statistics, calls for service, weather information, and traffic accident surveys.

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