Quoting Yourself

Here’s an interesting question: Can you quote yourself in a report? You already know that it’s important to document statements from victims, suspects, and witnesses. But is it ever necessary to write down your own words?

The answer is yes: Officers often quote themselves in police reports. For example, you might record a question you asked, and then write the response. When I worked in the prison system, I sometimes recorded conversations with inmates to show that they had reacted aggressively to something I asked them to do.

Remember not to record your own statements unnecessarily. For example:

“I asked Johnson what time he’d left for work that morning. He told me he’d left at 7:45. I asked if he’d noticed anything unusual. He said everything was normal.”  REPETITIOUS

That’s repetitious and time consuming. Just write what Johnson told you:

“Johnson said he’d left at 7:45 and didn’t notice anything unusual.”  BETTER

On the other hand, there are a number of reasons you might want to record someone’s response to something you said.  Here’s an example:

I said to George, “What were you and Sarah arguing about?” He said, “It’s none of your damn business, you nosy bitch.”

One more point: In the US, periods and commas always go inside quotation marks. There are no exceptions. Take a look at these examples:

Praeter told me he’d been to a bar with friends and had “one or two drinks.”  CORRECT

“I never touched her,” Winkens said.  CORRECT

Male figure holding up quotation marks


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