Clarity Is Needed!

What problems do you see in this excerpt from a police report?

At approximately 9:10 p.m. I was dispatched to 30 Sycamore Road in response to a report about a disturbance. I arrived at the house at approximately 9:16 p.m. and talked to John Santaguida. He said he and two friends were watching a football game on TV and began to fight. Santaguida said he was struck in the head with an unknown object. He refused medical treatment and became uncooperative. He was unable to identify a suspect. I was unable to interview either of the two friends.

You should have noted that several statements in this report lacked clarity.

1.  The object was not “unknown” – Santaguida probably knew what struck him. It would be more accurate to say “unidentified object.”

2.  It’s not helpful to write that he “became uncooperative.” Was he silent? Did he argue? Did he leave the room? And what was the issue – not answering your questions, or something else?

3.  It’s unlikely that Santaguida was “unable to identify a suspect.” More likely he was unwilling. Again, what exactly did he say?

4.  Saying you were “unable to interview either of the two friends” is insufficient. Were they present? Did they refuse to talk? Or had they left before you arrived?

clarrity

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