Bullet Style

Bullet style has become popular in business writing, for good reasons: It’s an efficient and readable way to organize groups of facts. (Click the link to listen to a podcast about bullet style.)

Bullet style is especially useful in criminal justice reports. Since officers tend to use the same headings again and again, bullet style can save time and help eliminate errors. The headings used in bullet style will help you organize your thoughts and remember details you might otherwise overlook.

Here are several headings that officers find useful.

When I entered the room, I saw:

[Name] told me:

I dusted these items for fingerprints:

I performed the following sobriety tests:

The following people had keys to the store:

I tagged these items as evidence and took them to the Evidence Room:

Here’s what a typical bullet list might look like.

Anne told me:

  • She and Davis were living together.
  • Davis didn’t like Anne’s son, Cole.
  • Davis and Cole fought about Cole’s grades in school.
  • Davis hit Cole on the left side of his face.
  • Anne grabbed Davis’ arm and screamed, “Stop it! Stop it!”
  • Davis hit her on her mouth.

Bullet style isn’t difficult to learn. Practice thinking of headings and writing down everyday information in bullets. You’ll find bullet style extremely useful when you write your reports.

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