Let’s examine a Type Three report to see how it’s put together. (This is a domestic violence example.)
In a Type Three report, in addition to reporting and investigating, the officer becomes part of the developing story. Since domestic violence calls often require an officer to intervene, it’s likely that many domestic violence reports will be Type 3.
Here, once again, are the characteristics of a Type Three report:
|Event||Officer’s Role||Probable cause?||Information needed||Challenges||Special Requirements|
|Crime requires investigation and intervention||You are asked to become involved in a developing event (such as a domestic disturbance)||Must be documented if a third party makes the report||Story, plus investigation and results, plus your words and actions||Three stories must be blended:History (before you arrived)Developing story (what the you saw and heard)Your story (how the you handled the incident).
Don’t record your thinking process.
|If a story is developing when you arrive, be sure to include what you saw and heard as soon as you got there (screaming, crying, shooting).Also note what onlookers told you.|
And here’s a sample report, with commentary:
At approximately 7:45 p.m. on 4 January 2010, I, Officer John Brown #547, was dispatched to a domestic disturbance at 301 Crown Place, Smithville.
In modern reports, the officer uses “I,” not “this officer.” (Objectivity and professionalism come from your skills and commitment. Calling yourself “this officer” doesn’t make you a better officer.)
I arrived at the house at 7:53 p.m. A woman was standing on the front lawn. She (Karen Lynch, WF, DOB 3/14/74) said that she was a neighbor. She called the police when she heard screams coming from the house. I told her I would handle the problem.
Officer Brown doesn’t have to worry about probable cause because he was dispatched to the house. The neighbor’s statement makes the case for entering the house even stronger. She might be called to testify in court later. Officer Brown should make a note of her phone number and address.
I knocked on the front door and called out “Police officer.” I heard a woman’s voice yell, “I hate you! I hate you!” I heard a man’s voice yell, “Shut your trap, you stupid bitch.” No one answered the door. I tried the knob. The door was unlocked, and I entered the living room.
Officer Brown records that he followed correct procedure by identifying himself. He correctly records the couple’s exact words instead of just writing, “They were yelling hateful things at each other.”
A woman (Jane Brown, WF, DOB 8/15/81) was sitting on the sofa. There was a red mark on her right cheek. Her lips were trembling. Her face was wet, and her eye makeup was smeared. A man (Tim Brown, WM, DOB 11/13/79) was standing over her. His fists were clenched.
Officer Brown continues to record what he saw. He does not say that Jane Brown “seemed upset” or “hurt.” A police report has to be detailed and specific.
I said, “What’s the problem here?” and asked Tim to sit down in an armchair on the other side of the room. Tim told me, “Leave us alone. This is our house. It’s none of your business.” I again asked him to sit down, and he went to the armchair.
Jane Brown told me:
- She and Tim are married.
- She came home late from work and rushed to cook dinner.
- Tim became angry when he came to the table.
- He said he hated her cooking.
- Tim threw his pork chop at the wall.
- She jumped up from her seat and yelled that nothing she did was ever good enough for him.
- He slapped her on her right cheek.
Bullet lists are an efficient way to record facts. Notice that this part of the report is the back story–what happened before Officer Brown arrived.
Tim Brown told me:
- Jane cared more about her job and spending money than making a nice home.
- He slapped her and would do it again.
More bullets and more back story. Up to now this has been a Type Two report: Officer Brown is reporting and investigating.
Tim Brown then walked over to the sofa and slapped Jane on her right cheek. He said, “I’m in charge here.”
I told Tim to go into the kitchen and sit down at the table there. He went into the kitchen and sat down. I called for a backup.
Now this has turned into a Type Three report. Officer Brown is part of the story. He sees the assault happen and deals with it by sending Tim into another room and calling for a backup.
Officer Susan Clark #423 arrived at 8:19 p.m. She photographed Jane’s face with her cell phone camera and handed Jane a victim’s booklet. Jane said she did not need medical attention. Clark explained state attorney procedures to Jane.
This is the “disposition” part of the report. The incident is coming to a close. Here Officer Clark is reporting the last part of Jane’s story.
Officer Clark will write her own report. But it’s helpful to record her role her. If the case goes to court later, Officer Brown can accurately testify what he did and what Susan did.
I arrested Tim and read him the Miranda warning from my card. Clark and I put him into my patrol car, and I drove him to the station.
More “disposition”: We learn what happened to Tim. The report is complete.