Police Jargon to Avoid in Reports

Today we’re going to begin focusing on police jargon and confusing expressions you should avoid in report writing. There are three advantages to avoiding these words. First, you’ll sound more up-to-date and professional. Second, your reports will be more specific. Most important, you’ll be more efficient.

Think about it! Saving a few seconds when you type a word doesn’t sound important. But over a year you may type thousands and thousands of words. Those seconds add up! And you’re also making life easier for everyone who reads your reports.

Here’s today’s list:

Ascertained

This clumsy word has two strikes against it. First, it’s archaic. Second, it doesn’t explain how you acquired the information. Better choices are “saw” or “heard.”

Affirmative

“Yes” works better.

At the present time

Use “now” instead – (better yet!) or just leave it out. There’s no difference between “He’s now awaiting trial” and “He’s awaiting trial.”

Baker Acted (as in “I Baker Acted him.”)

This is police jargon and out of place in a professional report. Substitute “I started Baker Act proceedings” or “I took her into custody under the provisions of the Baker Act.”

Contacted

This is too vague for a professional report. In fact it could cause problems in court later on, if you forget exactly how you got in touch with the person. Be specific: I phoned her, I visited him, I emailed her, I taped a note on his office door.

Endeavor

Substitute “try.”

Expedite

Substitute “hurry” or “speed up.”

If and when

Substitute “if,” which covers both words.

In close proximity to

Substitute “near.”

In order to

Substitute “to.”

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