Yesterday’s post asked you to evaluate a police report about an assault charge against George Zimmerman. Now I have another question for you – two questions, actually. Are you familiar with the four types of reports? And do you know what type of report you would write about Zimmerman’s arrest?
Answer: It’s a Type 4 report. (See the chart below.) Here’s a quick summary of what I’m talking about: There are four basic types of police reports. Type 1 is the simplest, and each subsequent type adds another feature. Type 4 is the most complicated type of report.
What makes Type 4 reports different? The officer (or, in the Zimmerman case, officers – there were two of them) initiates the action. Because the officers make the decision on their own to get involved, probable cause is an issue.
Take a moment to read the Zimmerman police report and see if you can spot the sentence about probable cause.
Did you find it? It’s this sentence:
The officers advised they heard glass break, and saw the [blacked out] drive off without headlights on…
That sentence establishes probable cause for stopping the car and talking to the woman who claimed that Zimmerman assaulted her.
Understanding the four types of reports can save time and ensure that every report meets criminal justice standards. Studying the chart below is a good place to start!
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