Practice Writing a Report: Scenario 1

Use this scenario to practice writing a criminal justice report. This is a Type 4 scenario (the officer initiates the action). After you finish your report, you can compare your version to a finished professional report by clicking the link.

At approximately 12:42 this afternoon, you were driving to Cathy’s Cafe to eat lunch. You passed a wooded lot at the intersection of Post Street and Pine Avenue. You saw smoke rising from the interior of the wooded area. You stopped to investigate.

Suddenly two boys walked out from between the trees. They saw your patrol car and started running south along Pine Avenue.

You called the fire department, reported the fire, and gave the location. Then you followed the boys, who were running towards the E-Z Shoppe at the southwest corner of Pine Avenue and Carter Street. You pulled into the E-Z Shoppe lot, parked your car, and exited. The boys saw you and froze.

You questioned the boys, whose names are Jimmy Tonger (DOB 9/4/01, 1311 Conley Road) and Sam Stone (DOB 2/2/01, 1335 Conley Road). Neither boy was carrying anything. Tonger told you he and Stone had a secret club that met in the wooded lot, and they didn’t start the fire. Stone said they had a stash of “dirty magazines” that they kept in a cardboard box in the wooded lot, and they were going home to report the fire.

You used your department cell phone to take a picture of each boy. You called headquarters and spoke to Detective Camille Santos. You gave her the boys’ names and addresses for further investigation. You drove back to the wooded lot, parked your patrol car, and talked to firefighter Janice Wilkes, who told you the fire had already been extinguished.

You returned to the station house, downloaded the pictures you had taken, and turned them over to Detective Santos.

(Reminder: Of course you suspect the boys of starting the fire. But it’s not appropriate to report hunches, suspicions, or any other thoughts in a police report. Record only what you heard, saw, and did.)

From Jean Reynolds: Because of time constraints, I can no longer comment on Scenario 1 reports posted on the comments page.To check your report, go to this link and compare your report to the version posted there. You can also read sample reports that other users have posted – a great learning opportunity!

 

 

 

19 thoughts on “Practice Writing a Report: Scenario 1

  1. Traquan Jackson

    Approximately 12:45p.pm., I observed a wooded lot on fire at the corner of Post Street and Pine Avenue. I stopped to investigate. Two boys then ran once they saw my patrol car. I called in the fire department and chased down the boys, who were at the corner of Pine and Carter.

    I questioned the boys, Jimmy Tonger (DOB 9/4/01, 113 Conley Road) told me ” he and Stone (DOB 2/2/01, 1335 Conley Road) were at a secret club and didn’t start the fire.” Stone said, ” they had stash of “dirty magazine” that they kept in a cardboard box in the wooded lot, and they were going home to report the fire.”

    I used the department phone to take pictures of each boy. I notified headquarters to have Detective Santos to come to my location. Once Detective Santos arrived, I relied the boy’s name and addresses for further investigation. I returned to the fire, to talk with fireman Janice Wilkes, who told me ” the fire is out.”

    I returned to headquarters, to download the photos. I turn in the photos to Detective Santos.

    Reply
    1. jdancer

      Good writing! One change is needed. Don’t use quotation marks unless you’re quoting EXACTLY what was said. Jimmy didn’t say “he and Stone were at a secret club.” Jimmy’s exactly words were, “Stone and I were at a secret club.” “Relied” is the wrong word in the third paragraph: Did you mean relayed? In the last sentence, add -ed to “turn.”

      Reply
  2. Shawn Adams

    At approximately 12:45PM, i drove pass a wooded lot near the intersection of Pine Street and Post avenue. At that time i noticed fire and smoke coming from the lot. i immediately approached the scene. Two young males fled from the scene towards Pine and Carter Street.

    i dispatched the fire department and made them aware of the fire. i got back in my patrol car, and began to make contact with the two guys. i started to question the two guys, Jimmy Tonger, 14, Dob : 09/04/01, of 113 Conley Road, and Stone, 14, 02/02/01, of 1335 Conley Road. Tonger told me that he and Stone had nothing to do with the fire, and that they were at a secret club; Jimmy Tonger also told me that they had stashed dirty magazines in the lot, and was on their way home to report the fire. Soon, i performed a thorough search on each party. They had nothing on their persons that pertained to the incident. i used my departmental phone to snap photos of the two individuals.

    i returned to the scene of the fire; fire officials confirmed that the fire was extinguished. Finally, i went back to the station, and turned the investigation over to Detective Santos. i provided him with the guys’ names, date of births, age, and addresses.

    Reply
  3. Jean Post author

    What’s with the lower-case “i” in many of your sentences, Shawn? Also: learn the difference between “pass” and “past,” and avoid slang (“guys” isn’t appropriate, for example).
    Much of this is excellent – be sure to compare your version to the one I posted online.

    Reply
  4. Tony Castaneda

    On 1/6/17 at approximately 1242 hours, I notice signs of what appeared to be smoke coming from a wooded parking lot located at Post street and Pine Ave. I stopped to investigate and I saw what appeared to be two male boys coming from the wooded area in the same location of the smoke. When they saw my fully marked patrol vehicle they started running south along Pine Ave.

    I contacted dispatch at approximately 1244 hours and gave locations to dispatch fire. I followed the two male boys that were running towards the EZ-Shoppe located S/W corner of Pine Ave and Carter Street.

    When the two male boys saw my patrol vehicle, they stopped and froze. I made contact with the two male boys, their names are Jimmy Tonger and Sam Stone. I asked the two boys what they were doing in that location, they said they were part of a secret club and they meet in the wooded parking lot. They also stated they had a stash of “dirty magazines” located in the wooded area and they were going home to call and report the fire.

    I used my department issued cell phone to take pictures of the two male boys. I contacted Detective Camille Santos and updated her with the boys names and addresses for further investigation. I went back to the fire location and spoke with firefighter Janice Wilkes and she stated that “the fire had already been extinguished.”

    I went back to my department and downloaded the pictures and forwarded them to Det. Santos.

    Reply
    1. Jean Post author

      Excellent report overall – you have a problem with wordiness, however.
      Someone has mistakenly taught you that you need extra words and nonsense in a police report. You don’t. Get straight to the point. Police officers have other things to do with their time.
      Several times you wrote “male boys.” Boys are always male!
      In paragraph 3 you could write, “When they saw me” instead of “When the two male boys saw my patrol vehicle.”
      Don’t write “what appeared to be.” It doesn’t add anything useful. Stick to what you saw: two boys, smoke. And you don’t need to write “my fully marked patrol vehicle.”
      Be careful also with usage. For example, you omitted the -ed ending on “noticed.”

      Reply
  5. Steve

    At approximately 12:42pm, I was driving to Cathy’s Café for lunch. I passed a wooded lot at the intersection of Post Street and Pine Avenue. I saw smoke rising from the interior of the wooded area and stopped to investigate.

    I saw Jimmy Tonger (DOB 9/4/01) out of 1311 Conley Road and Sam Stone (DOB 2/2/01) out of 1335 Conley Road walk out from between the trees and they started running south along Pine Avenue as soon as they saw my patrol car.

    I called the fire department and reported the location of the fire. I followed Tonger and Stone who was running towards the E-Z Shoppe at the southwest corner of Pine Avenue and Carter Street. I pulled into the E-Z Shoppe lot, parked my car and exited. Tonger and Stone saw me and froze.

    I asked Tonger and Stone if they were carrying anything and they told me that they were not. Tonger told me him and Stone had a secret club that met in the wooded lot, and that they did not start the fire. Stone told me that they had a stash of dirty magazines that they kept in a cardboard box in the wooded lot, and they were going home to report the fire.

    I took pictures of Tonger and Stone. I called headquarters and spoke to Detective Camille Santos. I gave Detective Santos the boys names and addresses for further investigation. I drove back to the wooded lot, parked my patrol car, and talked to firefighter Janice Wilkes. Wilkes told me that the fire had already been extinguished.

    I returned to the police station, downloaded the pictures I had taken, and turned them over to Detective Santos.

    Reply
  6. Jean Post author

    Terrific report – and it’s wonderful to see a report that’s written entirely in active voice! One correction: “Tonger told me HE and Stone had a secret club….” Here’s how you figure it out: “he had a secret club” – “he and Stone had a secret club.” Shortening a sentence often makes it easy to choose the correct word. For contrast, look at this sentence: “I told Jane and him about the problem.” “I told HIM about the problem” – “I told Jane and HIM about the problem.” This trick is useful with all pronouns: I/me, he/him, she/her, etc.

    Reply
  7. RASHAD

    At approximately 12:42, I drove passed a woodlot on the intersection of Post Street and Pine Avenue. I noticed smoke rising from the interior of the wooded area. I immediately stopped to investigate. Two young males walked from between the trees and immediately ran South along Pine Avenue once they saw my patrol car.
    I dispatched the fire department and provided them the location of the fire. I got back in my patrol car and began pursuit of the two young males. I pulled into the E-Z Shoppe lot where the two young males were located. I exited by patrol vehicle and begin to question the two young males. Jimmy Tonger (DOB 9/4/01, 1311 Conley Road) and Sam Stone (DOB 2/2/01, 1335 Conley Road). Tonger told me he and Stone had a secret club that met in the wooded lot, and they didn’t start the fire. Stone said they had a stash of “dirty magazines” that they kept in a cardboard box in the wooded lot, and they were going home to report the fire. I then searched the two young males to see if they had any weapons or anything on them that would pertained to the incident.
    I used my cell phone to take pictures of Jimmy Tonger and Sam Stone body. I called headquarters and spoke with Detective Camile Santos. I gave her the names and addresses of the two males for further investigation.
    I got back in my patrol car, and retuned back to the wooded lot and spoke with firefighter Janice Wilkes, who told me the fire had already been extinguished.
    Finally, I returned to the headquarters, downloaded the pictures I’ve taken, and turned them over to Detective Santos for a continuous investigation.

    Reply
    1. Jean Post author

      Good report! Be careful with passed (an action) and past (time that has come and gone). Don’t capitalize south when you mean a direction. Omit “body” after “Jimmy Tonger and Sam Stone.”

      Reply
  8. Dominique Moore

    At 1242 hours while I was on patrol in my vehicle, I saw smoke at the wooded lot intersecting Post Street and Pine Avenue. I pulled over to investigate and dispatched the fire department the exact location of the smoke.

    At that time two young males emerged from the wooded lot. When they saw me, Subject A and Subject B took off running south along Pine Avenue. I followed both Subjects to E-Z Shoppe on the southwest corner of Pine Avenue and Carter Street. I pulled into the Shoppe lot and parked. Both males froze when they saw my patrol vehicle.

    I questioned Subject A, Jimmy Tonger (DOB 9/4/01, 1311 Conley Road) and Subject B, Sam Stone (DOB 2/2/01, 1335 Conley Road). I asked Tonger and Stone if they were carrying anything and they were not. When I asked what their reason was for why they ran, Tonger stated, “We didn’t start the fire. Sam and I had a secret club that met in the wooded lot.” Stone chimed in and said they had a stash of “dirty magazines” kept in a cardboard box in the wooded lot. Both males were headed home to report the fire.

    I took a picture of both males with my department phone. I called Detective Camille Santos and gave her the boy’s names and information for further investigations. After I finished talking to Tonger and Stone, I drove back to the wooded lot and spoke with firefighter Janice Wilkes who said the fire had already been extinguished.

    Once I returned to the station, I downloaded the photos and then turned them over to Detective Santos.
    End Report

    Reply
  9. Josie

    I am currently revising for my TAFE entrance exam and last time failed the writing part. Can you please give some insight to whether or not this is something they would accept. Thank you and I appreciate your time.

    At about 12:42pm 11th September 2017, I was on patrol in the Eastern Suburbs of Melbourne. It was lunch time and I was on my way to eat at ‘Cathy’s Cafe”.

    I was driving down Post Street when I noticed smoke coming from a wooded lot on there corner of Pine Avenue. I pulled over to investigate. Two boys then walked out from between a group of trees located next to the wooded lot. As they saw my car approaching they ran in a southern direction on Pine Avenue. I made a quick call to the fire department to report the fire and then followed the two boys who were running towards the E-Z Shoppe at the South West corner of Pine Avenue and Carter Street. I pulled into the car pack along side the two boys and got out of the car. The boys did not run this time and I noticed that neither were carrying any objects. I asked for the two boys details. One of the boys answered
    “My name is Jimmy Tonger and I was born 9th April 2001. I live at 1311 Conley Road.”
    The other boy immediately spoke after the first boy had finished.
    ‘My name is Sam Stone. I was born 2nd February 2001 and live at 1335 Conley Road.”
    I then questioned the two boys to why they were running from the blazing wooden lot. Tonger then said:
    ‘We were having a secret meeting in the house house and didn’t start the fire. There was a cardboard box of dirty magazines in the lot. We were running home to report the fire.”
    I didn’t ask the two boys any other questions. I then took a photo of each boy with my cell phone and called Detective Camille Santos at headquarters and repeated the information I had just taken for further investigation.

    I got back into my car and returned to the wooded lot where fire trucks were now present. I parked my car and walked over to firefighter Janice Wilkes, who had told me the fire has been extinguished.

    I then returned back to the station house where i downloaded the pictures I had taken of the two boys. These were then handed over to Detective Santos for further investigation

    Reply
    1. jdancer

      Your writing is fine! I hope you do well on the next test. I wouldn’t use quotation marks for the name of a business (Cathy’s Cafe). You wrote “there” instead of “the.” Your report has some unnecessary words – a common problem with police reports. For example, you don’t need “then” and “back” with “I returned.” I’ve posted my own version of the police report that you can read online and compare with yours.

      Reply
  10. Trey Williams

    At approximately 12:42 PM, I, Officer Trey Williams, #90210, was passing a wooded lot at the intersection of Post Street and Pine Avenue. I then noticed there was smoke coming from a wooded area near the lot. Soon after, 2 males, later identified as Jimmy Tonger (DOB 9/4/01, 1311 Conley Road) and Sam Stone (DOB 2/2/01, 1335 Conley Road) came from out of the wooded area.

    When Jimmy Tonger and Sam Stone saw my squad car, they fled on foot to the E-Z Shoppe on the southwest corner of Pine Avenue and Carter Street. I immediately reported the details of the fire to the fire department and followed the two males. When I caught up to Tonger and Stone at the E-Z Shoppe, I searched both suspects. Neither suspect was carrying anything. I then questioned both suspects reasoning for being in the wooded area. Tonger stated that he and Stone had a secret club that met in the wooded lot, and that they didn’t start the fire. Stone said they had a stash of “dirty magazines” that they kept in a cardboard box in the wooded lot, and they were going home to report the fire.

    After taking a picture of both suspects using my department cell phone, I contacted Detective Camille Santos for further investigation and released both suspects. I then drove back to the site where the fire was located. When I arrived back on the scene of the fire, one of the firemen stated that the fire had already been extinguished. I got back in my squad car and returned to the station to download the pictures I had taken, and turned them over to Detective Santos.

    Reply
  11. niema porter

    At 12:42p.m., I was driving to Cathy’s Cafe to eat lunch. I passed a lot at the intersection of Post Street and Pine Avenue. I saw smoke rising from the inside of the wooded area. I stopped to investigate.

    Two boys walked out from between the trees. They saw my patrol car and started running south along Pine Avenue.

    I called the fire department, reported the fire, and gave the location. Then I followed the boys, who were running towards the E-Z Shoppe at the southwest corner of Pine Avenue and Carter Street. I pulled into the E-Z Shoppe lot, parked your car, and exited. The boys saw me and froze.

    I questioned the boys, whose names are Jimmy Tonger (DOB 9/4/01, 1311 Conley Road) and Sam Stone (DOB 2/2/01, 1335 Conley Road). Neither boy was carrying anything. Tonger told me he and Stone had a secret club that met in the wooded lot, and they didn’t start the fire. Stone said they had a stash of “dirty magazines” that they kept in a cardboard box in the wooded lot, and they were going home to report the fire.

    I used my department cell phone to take a picture of each boy. You called headquarters and spoke to Detective Camille Santos. I gave her the boys’ names and addresses for further investigation. I drove back to the wooded lot, parked your patrol car, and talked to firefighter Janice Wilkes, who told me the fire had already been extinguished.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

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