The Internet provides many resources for officers who write criminal justice reports. The websites listed here will prove useful throughout your career, so it’s a good idea to bookmark and use them often. All are free!
1. The Uniform Crime Reporting Handbook from the FBI.
You’re probably familiar with this handbook already. You can download it free as a .pdf at www.fbi.gov/ucr/ucr.htm (scroll down to find the Handbook link). Here’s how the FBI describes the UCR:
The UCR Handbook outlines the classification and scoring guidelines that law enforcement agencies use to report crimes to the UCR Program. In addition, it contains offense and arrest reporting forms and an explanation of how to complete them. The Handbook also provides definitions of all UCR offenses.
Even if you’re not filling out statistics reports, the UCR is invaluable: It clarifies criminal justice terminology, provides scenarios to discuss, and explains how professionals classify various crimes.
Besides offering definitions, this website compares what various dictionaries say about a particular word or phrase, and it sometimes offers usage note. I go to this website often when I’m unsure how to spell or use a particular word or expression.
Jargon and gobbledygook waste time, create confusion, and make a bad impression on your readers. This government-sponsored website provides many easy-to-use resources to help you write more clearly and efficiently.
Good-bye, Post-It notes! This free, privacy-protected website sorts and stores any information you want to save. You can access the information from any computer with Internet access. You can clean out your desk and set up a quick, reliable system to find important information.
This isn’t really a writers’ website, but it’s been such a lifesaver for me that I wanted to include it. You can securely store passwords here, free of charge, and access them from any computer with Internet access. This is a great website if you have accounts with many websites, and it’s especially useful if you travel often: you don’t have to worry about carrying (and possibly losing) a list of passwords.