Illinois Mayor’s Police Report

I sometimes hear recruits and sworn officers say that report writing intimidates them. They never get comfortable about doing it.

I always ask the same question: How many reports have you read lately? The answer is usually a sheepish “None.”

One of the best ways to learn how to write reports is to read reports. Every report has something to teach you! There are practices to imitate and mistakes to avoid.

If you aim to be a topnotch police officer, you need a police officer’s brain. (Common sense, isn’t it?) That means programming it with lots of content. I often provide links to actual reports. There’s plenty of material on this website for you to read!

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On March 31, police investigated screams coming from the home of Carbondale mayor Mike Henry. There was insufficient evidence for an arrest. You can read the story here:

You can read the police report here:

It’s an excellent report – clear, objective, and written in ordinary English. There’s no passive voice – impressive!

I do have a few suggestions:

1.  You don’t need “upon my arrival.”

Upon my arrival, I met with CPD Officer Murray and CPD Sg. Acray.  INEFFICIENT

I met with CPD Officer Murray and CPD Sg. Acray.  BETTER

2. The word advised should be changed to said. Save advise for when you counsel someone:

Cpl. Fager advised me Carbondale Police Officers were already on scene and requesting assistance.  JARGON

Cpl. Fager told me Carbondale Police Officers were already on scene and requesting assistance. BETTER

3. I would omit the first sentence, which repeats information the officer had already entered into the online form: “On 3/31/2019, at 0007 hours, Cp. Fager, Cpl. Tuthill….”  

Overall, though, the writing is excellent. Here’s an example:

Officer Murray stated he and CPD Officer Jeters were in the area of W. Hill Drive conducting uniformed burglary patrol on foot and heard a female screaming.  PROFESSIONAL

              Mayor John “Mike” Henry


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Updated, with a new chapter on Writing Efficiently

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