Police Incident Report: Definition
Right off the bat, the most defining characteristic of an incident report is that it is not written by the police. When a crime occurs and is reported to the police, the victim of the crime makes a statement regarding the incident. This is the incident report.
The incident report may include supporting documents that corroborate, or are related to, the victim’s statement, such as letters or bank statements. Police departments often grant insurance companies and businesses that request a police report access to the incident report these are not usually used as tools for further investigation for law enforcement agencies .
Before diving too deeply down the police jargon rabbit hole, it’s crucial to bear in mind that nomenclature and naming habits often vary across police departments. And of course, the term incident report is also used for workplace reports, traffic incidents and medical incidents, which may further add to the confusion. For police use, incident reports are also sometimes called offense reports.
Offender Information In A Police Report
When apprehended, an offender will be subjected to a series of tests and information retrieval processes. For example, a DUI or DWI offender will have blood or urine collected, as well as perform an additional breathalyzer test with a more robust machine for use as legal evidence should the case lead to a criminal trial. These records are also kept in an effort to identify repeat offenders. This information is almost always collected upon an alleged offender returning to a police station or sheriffs department.
An Ohio man with over 60 charges on his arrest record will face jail time after attacking six West Springfield residents in their home. He was arrested after being hunted by a multiple law enforcement effort.
Courtesy of the Masslive.com
Texas Public Information Act
The Texas Public Information Act was originally known as the Texas Open Records Act, approved by the Legislature in 1973 in a reform atmosphere following the Sharpstown stock fraud scandal involving state officials. Spelled out in Chapter 552 of the Texas Government Code, the act states that government is the servant and not the master of the people.
The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know, the law states.
Some key provisions of the Texas Public Information Act are as follows:
Covered EntitiesThe Texas Public Information Act applies to all governmental bodies, including all boards, commissions and committees created by the executive or legislative branch. It also may apply to a body that is supported by public funds or that spends public funds. Private organizations that hold records for governmental bodies also are covered. However, private individuals and businesses are not covered even though they supply goods or services through a government contract.
Types of InformationPublic information refers to information collected, assembled, produced or maintained in the course of transacting public business. It may be on paper or film or in electronic communications such as emails, Internet postings, text messages or instant messages.
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Crime Records Division Overview
The Crime Records Division acts as the Texas State Control Terminal for eight state and national criminal justice programs and is responsible for the administration of these programs, providing critical operational data to law enforcement and criminal justice agencies in Texas and nationwide. CRD is comprised of the Crime Records Services, the Criminal Justice Information Service Security Office, and the Texas Law Enforcement Support Office program. CRD supports law enforcement agencies and the people of Texas by providing accurate, timely and responsive information to include biometric identification, access to criminal justice information, as well as technical assistance for CRD programs. The Divisions mission is defined by its commitment to public safety and service.
Are Police Reports Public Records
Many types of police records are exempt from public disclosure. There are two main reasons why they arent publicly available. First, disclosing the information could undermine an ongoing investigation. Second, it could jeopardize someones privacy and safety. In some cases, departments will release certain information related to the report, such as to a reporter doing a story. However, they rarely release a full copy.
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Motor Vehicle Crash Reports
Texas Transportation Code §550.062 requires a law enforcement officer who investigates a crash and completes a Texas Peace Officer’s Report to submit the report to the Texas Department of Transportation not later than the 10th day after the date of the crash.
§550.065 limits the release of a crash report to any person directly concerned in the accident or having a proper interest therein. In order to ensure compliance with TTC §550.065 , OPD requires that a requestor of a crash report certify how they meet the requirements of §550.065 before they may obtain a non-redacted crash report.
The cost to obtain an accident report is $6.00 and can be accessed through our online report request website, Lexis Nexis – Auto Accident.
The records division completes requests as they are submitted, please allow for 48-72 hours for fulfillment. If the request is urgent you may contact the Records Division Monday – Friday 08:00 AM – 5:00 PM at 432-335-3306 Auto Accidents – all auto accidents can be requested via this portal, or through the Texas Department of Transportation CRIS Portal.
Freedom Of Information Act Requests
For a Traffic Crash Report, please visit the Traffic Crash Purchasing System .
For other public records from the Michigan State Police , please submit your request through the MSP Records Request Portal, which can be accessed below through .
Once you create your account, you will be able to submit records requests, track your submissions, and receive responses to your requests through the MSP Records Request Portal.
Other ways to submit a records request:
Mail: Michigan State Police, Records Resource SectionP.O. Box 30634Lansing, Michigan 48909
Responses to requests received by email, fax, or mail will only be sent by mail through the United States Postal Service. You can use the Request for Public Records Form as a template for your request, but it is not required. Please do not submit your request by multiple methods.
The Records Resource Section may be contacted by phone at 517-241-1934.
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Filing A Police Report Online
This system allows you to submit a report from your computer or mobile device without going to an OPP detachment. All submissions will be sent directly to the OPP and reviewed by an officer. You may be contacted to provide more information. You must have a valid e-mail address in order to submit a report.
To file a report online, please follow the simple steps below:
Police Incident Report: Contents
Even more so than naming conventions, the actual contents of an incident report vary widely with the nature of the incident. Most police departments offer incident report forms, which serve as templates for victims to fill in relevant information. These reports are packed full of info, often including:
- Type of crime.
- Date and time the crime began.
- Date and time the crime ended.
- Date and time the report was created.
- Location of the incident.
- Type of location, such as school or restaurant.
- Identifying information for the victim, including name, date of birth, driver’s license number and Social Security number.
- Physical information for the victim, such as height, weight, age, hair color, race, sex and eye color.
- Contact information for the victim, such as residence address, business address, employer name, phone numbers and email address.
Because incident reports are commonly used in cases of theft, some templates may also include specific prompts for the type of theft, the method and points of entry and exit, and a space to list stolen property, including details such as the quantity, brand, model, serial number, color, estimated market value and monetary value of any damage that occurred. Similarly, other incident reports cater to injury-related crimes, such as domestic abuse, and may contain fields asking the victim to describe the type of injury and the victim’s relationship to the abuser, if any.
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Getting Copies Of Police Reports
In many jurisdictions, victims may receive a copy of their police report at no charge, but other members of the public have to pay for their copies. Sometimes, individuals may be able to look up police reports online using one of many database searches. Information retrieved from these databases is usually at a cost to the subscriber of the company that provides the information.
When people who request automobile accident information want a reporting officer to look up an accident report by case number, but they dont have the number, providing the date and location of the accident plus the name of the driver may be sufficient for the officer to retrieve the report. The same holds true to look up police reports by case number.
Obtaining Police Reports & Disclosure
The Prosecutor’s Office, on the 5th floor of the City Court Building, is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., with limited service available after 4:30 p.m. Paper disclosure requested after 4:30 p.m. will not be available until the following business day. Also, although a victim assistant may not be available to answer victims’ questions after 4:30 p.m., victims who complete an information form will receive a call from a victim assistant before the end of our next business day.
Police Reports, Documents and Scannable Media
If you are a defendant or a defense attorney in a criminal matter and want to obtain police reports and other documents related to your case or your clients case, the City Prosecutors Office now employs Journal Technologys JusticeWeb service for electronic disclosure. It is entirely web based.
Each separate JusticeWeb disclosure package is $5.50. Packages are created in office upon receipt of disclosure from TPD, PCAC, etc. Mercury, our secure pay vendor, will manage your purchase of a disclosure package. Please have your credit card information ready. Once you have paid, the package can be accessed online at your convenience, as many times as you would like before the case is disposed. You may of course download paid-for packages should you wish. Packages are in PDF format.
CDs of Pictures and DVDs of Video
With the exception of 911 calls , all police communications may be obtained through the Tucson Police Department .
What Is In An Arrest Report
An arrest from ten years ago, revealed by the study of arrest records, could prove harmful to the campaign of Jumaane Williams, who is currently running for New York City public advocate.
Courtesy of The New York Times
Public arrest reports and records, simply put, are documents that detail the events leading up to and immediately after an arrest. They are largely created by law enforcement agencies to detail and document instances where police, sheriffs, or agents of law enforcement interact with the public in such a way as to deprive them of their freedom. These public criminal records are important for citizens of the United States as they explain events where someones rights were removed because of an infraction or breach of the law. Because of the Freedom of Information Act, Americans are able to look up arrest records these for public perusal and study.
So what are arrest records and why is it so important to be able to study them? The obvious answer is for the information inside, but what criminal records contains is sometimes unclear. Some police check to make sure they include every minute detail, and categorize them appropriately. Others will only fill in the bare minimum to pass verification thresholds, leaving a lot of information up to interpretation.
What Is A Police Incident Report
While the term police incident report sounds so straightforward you might think it’s self-explanatory, it’s actually just the entrance into a deep rabbit hole of law enforcement reporting jargon. It’s absolutely necessary for police departments to maintain detailed logs of factual and eye-witness information pertaining to reported crimes, and alongside the police report, the incident report serves as one of the very first documents on that journey as told by the victim of the crime.
How To Write A Police Report
This article was co-authored by Saul Jaeger, MS. Saul Jaeger is a Police Officer and Captain of the Mountain View, California Police Department . Saul has over 17 years of experience as a patrol officer, field training officer, traffic officer, detective, hostage negotiator, and as the traffic units sergeant and Public Information Officer for the MVPD. At the MVPD, in addition to commanding the Field Operations Division, Saul has also led the Communications Center and the Crisis Negotiation Team. He earned an MS in Emergency Services Management from the California State University, Long Beach in 2008 and a BS in Administration of Justice from the University of Phoenix in 2006. He also earned a Corporate Innovation LEAD Certificate from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business in 2018.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 11 testimonials and 82% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 974,820 times.
If you’re a police officer or security guard, knowing how to write up a detailed and accurate report is important. A well written incident report gives a thorough account of what happened and sticks to the facts. If you’re trying to write a police report, or are curious about how the police put together their reports, learning what to include and how to format the report is helpful.
Look Up Police Reports Online
As surprising as it may sound in the 21st century, even public accessibility doesn’t always equal online accessibility. This is certainly true in the realm of police records.
The online availability of police records boils down to each individual police department. Some local departments freely offer documents like arrest logs, incident reports and incident response logs on their official websites. As an alternative, online arms of newspapers such as the San Francisco Chronicle regularly publish arrest records pertaining to their localities.
While a virtually countless array of commercial websites advertise the ability to look up police reports by case number , their ability to deliver on those claims may vary. The time-tested, old-school method requires victims to mail a written request for a police report to the relevant police department’s records division or document processing unit. It’s often the case that police reports will only be provided to the victim or the victim’s representative.
Fee Schedule For Copies Of Public Records
The fee schedule for copies of public records requests is as follows:
- One to five pages of paper copies: $5.00/.25¢ for each additional page beyond 5
- Video: $40.00 per disc, additional videos associated w/same case $ 10.00 per CD
- Audio or Photos: $10.00/$5.00 additional CD’s
- Clearance Letter: $10.00
Items not picked up sixty days after notification will be destroyed and there will be no refund of monies paid.
Importance Of A Police Report
Police reports are integral components of the criminal justice system. These reports facilitate criminal prosecution, provide judges with a third-party view of circumstances pertaining to court cases, and serve as vital pieces of documentation that help victims of criminal injury recover damages and find justice. Because many court cases take place after much time has passed between an incident and a hearing, a police report doesnt depend on faulty memories or even hearsay it is a firsthand account of circumstances close to the moment of the incident.
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Are There Any Fees For Obtaining A Copy Of A Record
Yes. Our current fee for a police report is $20 for the first 8 pages and $1.00 a page after 8 pages. Most reports are less than 8 pages. Fees are determined per ORS 192.324. You will be notified if your request is subject to a fee. Records will not be provided until fee is paid in full.
Please call our Records Division at to inquire about fees for reports, photographs or other police records pertaining to your specific request.
If you are requesting a waiver or reduction of fees, you will need to provide detailed information demonstrating how the release of records primarily benefits the general public, as opposed to benefitting a specific person or entity. Also, please explain you ability to disseminate the records broadly to the public. All requests for a waiver can be emailed to .
What Crime Was Committed And How
The primary goal of the public police records, criminal public records, or incident document is to document a persons criminal history. The uses for arrest records range from evidence in court , checking someone’s public criminal history for the purposes of employment or housing, simple curiosity, and more. The sections that create an arrest records typically broken into incident information, the reporting party section, the victim section, a section for the alleged suspect, and a narrative section. The information within includes fingerprints of the offender, their photograph, criminal charges, identifying marks, aliases, social security number, ethnicity, height, weight, and more. Please note that because someone has an arrest record is not a guarantee that a person was convicted. Arrest records are created when a person is apprehended by law enforcement, and occurs well before any trial or court action. Arrest records are also not always complete, but this is the expected information within.
Here is an example of a police report filed for a hit-and-run incident. Note that some areas are filled in, while others are not.
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