Here’s a challenge for you: Read the scenario below (taken from an actual event) and decide what type of report you’d write, what you’d need to include, and why. (Click on the link to review the four types of reports.)
At 10:15 pm on June 13, police were called to assist EMS with a woman who was found lying under a bush at an apartment complex on Second Street. She was conscious and said she had fallen and couldn’t get up on her own. A neighbor identified the woman and told officers she takes medication for a mental condition. She was taken to an emergency room for observation.
What did you decide?
This is a Type 1 report. There’s no arrest, and no follow-up is needed from the police. The report should simply state what happened and what actions you performed to help the woman.
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Now try writing the report yourself! Invent any details needed. When you’re finished, compare your version to the one below. (Note that departmental policies vary. Your version of the report might be different.)
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Here’s how the report might be written:
At 10:15 PM on June 13, I was dispatched to the Pembroke Arms Apartments on Second Street to assist a woman who was found lying under a bush. I arrived at 10:19 PM and saw JoAnn Howard sitting down on the sidewalk. She was talking to another woman, Fran Lane.
Howard told me she fell and couldn’t get up. Then she passed out. When she came to, she saw Fran Lane, a neighbor, standing over her.
Two EMS paramedics arrived while I was talking to Howard. While they assisted Howard, I talked to Fran Lane.
Lane told me that she lives at 211 Second Street. She was walking home from the convenience store on West Avenue. She saw feet sticking out from under a bush and stopped to investigate. She and Howard are friends. Lane told me that Howard takes medication for a mental condition. Howard woke up a few minutes before I arrived. Lane helped her sit up.
The paramedics evaluated Howard and drove her to the emergency room at Rose Hall Hospital for observation.
How did you do?
Now I have a question for you. Why would you document an incident when no crime was committed?
There are several reasons. The report might be useful if further action is taken later on (such as Baker Act proceedings).
Consider also the possibility that someone eventually files a lawsuit on the woman’s behalf. The police report could help show that the incident was handled appropriately and professionally.