The Coupon Caper

Why do officers dread writing reports? One major reason is that it’s such a time-consuming task. The good news is that there’s an easy way to complete your reports more efficiently.

It’s called bullet style.

I just looked at a police report about a woman who pulled a gun in a Walmart because the clerk wouldn’t accept her dollar-off coupon. The report (which you can read yourself at this link) includes 26 sentences that begin “Ms. Stockslager stated.” (I counted them.)

26 x 3 = 78 – meaning that more than 70 words in the report could have been omitted. Let’s look at one paragraph in the report to see how bullets would save writing time:

coupon caper

Here’s the same information in bullet style:

Ms. Stockslager stated that Ms. Alday:

  • was extremely upset because Walmart wouldn’t accept her dollar-off coupon
  • called Ms. Stockslager “a bitch” and other foul names
  • intentionally hit Ms. Stockslager with a shopping cart
  • said “Call the cops”

Walmart cashier Natacha Allen (DOB 12/22/1973) saw the shopping-cart battery.

A few other points: Be careful with accepted and excepted, and make sure periods and commas go inside quotation marks: Ms. Alday stated, “Call the cops.”

Much more efficient! And think of the time you’ll save if you need to review the report before a court hearing.

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