What to Omit from a Police Report

There’s an intriguing topic! Officers often worry (and rightly so) about leaving something important out of a report. But it’s also true that some things don’t belong in a report. Here are some examples. (I’ve included revisions in blue when I thought they’d be helpful.)

Because of Mrs. Brown’s age, I knew she might not have heard the noise outside.

I decided the suspect had probably exited through the bedroom window.

Foster seemed confused.

I had a hunch that Casey had put the money in the freezer.

PASSIVE VOICE (unless you’re describing an action by an unknown person)
Clark was questioned by me.

I questioned Clark.
A wallet and a diamond ring were taken. (Acceptable if you don’t know who took them)

“Mirandized,” “Baker acted,” “this officer,” “I processed the area.”

I took him into custody and began Baker Act proceedings.  

I read him his rights from my Miranda card.  
I examined the front and back doors. I found pry marks by the outside door handle on the back door.  

I asked what time she got home from work. She said 5:20 p.m. I asked what happened. She said she noticed the open window and got worried. I asked if she was sure it had been closed when she left that morning. She said yes, she was sure it had been closed. 

I asked what happened. She said she got home from work at 5:20 p.m. She saw the open window and got worried. She was sure it had been closed when she left that morning.

A concise and objective report saves time and shows off your professionalism. Make it your goal to write an excellent report every time.


Sign up for our FREE Police Writer e-Newsletter and receive a free copy of “10 Days to Better Police Reports,” ready to download! Your privacy is protected: We NEVER share emails with third parties.


 Criminal Justice Report Writing by Jean Reynolds is available from Amazon.com for the low price of $17.95. For a free preview, click on the link or the picture below.

Updated, with a new chapter on Writing Efficiently

“It will definitely help you with your writing skills.” – Joseph E. Badger, California Association of Accident Reconstructionists Newsletter

Criminal Justice Report Writing is also available as an e-book in a variety of formats for $9.99: Click here.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *