Michigan State University Police have released a detailed report on their sexual assault investigation. After interviews with more than 100 witnesses, Josh King, Donnie Corley, and Demetric Vance were charged with sexual assault. The heavily redacted report – 226 pages long – can be read at this link: http://detne.ws/2vpmemC.
The report is thorough, professional, and free of jargon – an excellent example of police writing. One feature, though, deserves comment: One of the police officers always uses “I,” while another officer consistently uses the old-fashioned (and time-wasting!) “this officer.” This inconsistency should be resolved so that all officers are writing their reports the same way.
I then followed up and sent her an email with my contact information and resources. ✓
This officer informed [redacted] about suspect Donnie Corley being moved to a new room. X
A reminder: There’s nothing wrong with the words I and me! In fact those are the very words that an officer would use to testify in court.
I often hear from readers – especially officers new to law enforcement – who are desperate to improve their report writing skills. Sometimes it seems that they’re looking for a magical fix to their writing problems.
Alas, there’s no magic! If you want to become a better writer, you need to work at it – daily. In this blog I often share actual reports so that readers can sharpen their skills.
Today I’m happy to tell you about an excellent report from Captain Lance Schutjer of the St. Ansgar Police Department in Iowa. If you’re working on your writing skills, this report is worth reading. It’s thorough, objective, and written in normal English. There’s no police jargon.
The report comes from the Globe Gazette and concerns a September 2015 incident alleging a violent attack between five high schoolers and a fellow student. The report is posted at this link: http://globegazette.com/news/local/police-report-details-st-ansgar-school-allegations/article_550933ed-ae5a-55f5-ab89-bf99fdd0c0c7.html
It’s a great learning opportunity! Be sure to read it.