How does your agency handle citizens’ requests for copies of police reports? Have you checked local policies and practices lately? Are any changes needed?
In California, anyone who’s a victim of sexual assault, elder abuse, stalking, human trafficking, or domestic violence is entitled to a free copy of their police report. California’s policy stems from the belief that these victims are entitled to know details of the crime and how it was handled by law enforcement.
But a number of other states are less willing to provide copies of police reports. In Portland, Oregon a woman who was the victim of sexual assault waited more than a year for a copy of her police report. Claire Rood, the victim, was told that her report was not available because it contained confidential information from a witness. It didn’t seem to matter that Claire herself was that witness.
She wanted to see whether her statement had been recorded accurately and what investigative steps had been taken. Eventually, after the district attorney came to her aid, Claire received a copy of her report.
What are the policies in your state – and in your agency? Are requests handled in a timely and professional manner? Or are changes needed – and, if so, who will lead the way? Will you?
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
“It will definitely help you with your writing skills.” – Joseph E. Badger, California Association of Accident Reconstructionists Newsletter