Joseph N. Davis, MPA
This text is designed to provide academy cadets, college students, entry-level peace officers, and criminal justice professionals, report writing skills. 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. 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.
Rapid changes in technology, including body-worn cameras, have increased the scrutiny of officers’ actions and their reports. The media, criminal defense attorneys, and even prosecutors question officers’ professionalism and competency. A properly conducted preliminary investigation, well documented in a report, helps protect the officer and department.
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.
Report Writing for Law Enforcement is organized in an easy-to-read and understand outline format. It is a valuable study guide and reference manual for both new officers and veteran officers alike.