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:
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.