Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy has been in the news in connection with a home invasion, a jewelry theft, and an assault on his former girlfriend – but no charges have been filed.
Several police reports have released in connection with the story. You can read them here. Today I’d like to discuss two excerpts from one of them. The report is exceptionally well written (jargon-free, active voice, thorough, objective). Still, I would recommend a few changes. Read the excerpts below and see if you notice anything:
1. Cordin called dispatch to report that people were taking belongings from the home and she saw them through her Ring doorbell camera. She stated that there was not supposed to be anyone at the home. She stated that she was out of town in Virginia and her boyfriend and owner of the home, LeSean McCoy was out of town as well. She stated that she saw a moving truck in the driveway along with several people.
Here’s what I thought: this paragraph is actually a list, and you’ll save time if you write it that way. (Officers are busy!). There’s no need to keep repeating she stated…she stated…she stated.
Cordin called dispatch and said:
- people were taking belongings from the home
- She saw them through her Ring doorbell camera
- No one was supposed to be at the home
- She was out of town in Virginia
- Her boyfriend and owner of the home, LeSean McCoy was out of town as well
- She saw a moving truck in the driveway along with several people
2. When myself and Sergeant Baronian arrived on scene there were several people removing bags and furniture from the home.
I would have used Sergeant Baronian and I. There’s nothing wrong with the word I! Myself is pompous and awkward. Use it only for emphasis: “When Jane didn’t show up for the meeting, I presented the report myself.”
* * * * * *
I have one more question for you. Can you figure out why I cheered when I read this sentence from the report?
I informed her that since LeSean and Delicia shared the home, they would have to go to civil court to divide the items.
Here’s why I was so happy about this sentence: The officer used informed (correct!) instead of the jargonish advised that’s I see so frequently in police reports. (If you read the entire report, you’ll notice that the officer correctly used advised to mean “counseled” – every time.)
I hope you’ll take a few minutes to read the report yourself! It’s a great way to develop your reading and writing skills.
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