The Ron Minegar Police Report

The Arizona Cardinals have suspended Ron Minegar, the team’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, for a minimum of six weeks without pay. Minegar pleaded guilty to DUI on August 10 and served two days in jail.

Click the link to read the police report.   It is objective, accurate, and professional. But it also points out the need for updated policies about efficient report writing in our electronic age.

Note this unnecessary sentence:

On 08/10/2019 at approximately 2328 hours, I was dispatched to East Pecos Road and South Arizona Avenue, in the city of Chandler to assist Officers Kerie #700 and David #793 with a traffic stop.

All of this information was probably entered into spaces on the officer’s laptop. There’s no need to repeat it. Now take a look at these two sentences:

I arrived on scene and made contact with Officer Kerzie #700. I asked him if he could explain to me what occurred prior to my arrival.  WORDY

Here’s a more efficient way to begin the report: When I arrived, Officer Kerzie #700 told me….  That’s 8 words instead of 60.

You should eliminate any unnecessary repetition. The following sentence is too long, and it’s written in passive voice. Who repeated the instructions multiple times?

It should be noted that Ronald had to be instructed multiple times not to move his head and follow the stimulus with his eyes only.

Here’s a more concise version in active voice:

I had to tell Ronald multiple times not to move his head and follow the stimulus with his eyes only.

And there’s one more important point: save advise for actual advice. Use tell and told for information:

He advised me he was dispatched to the area of East Pecos Road and South Gilbert Road for a possible DUI driver.

Dispatch advised him that the Gilbert Police Department received a call from a concerned citizen about a 2009 Chevrolet bearing Arizona registration driving erratically.

Better:

He told me he was dispatched to the area of East Pecos Road and South Gilbert Road for a possible DUI driver.

Dispatch told him that the Gilbert Police Department received a call from a concerned citizen about a 2009 Chevrolet bearing Arizona registration driving erratically.

Think about all the reports you write – and all the people who read them. Saving 100 words on each report really adds up over many shifts – saving time for you and for administrators and others who read what you’ve written.

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 Criminal Justice Report Writing by Jean Reynolds is available from Amazon.com for the low price of $17.95. For a free preview, click on the link or the picture below.

Updated, with a new chapter on Writing Efficiently

“It will definitely help you with your writing skills.” – Joseph E. Badger, California Association of Accident Reconstructionists Newsletter

Criminal Justice Report Writing is also available as an e-book in a variety of formats for $9.99: Click here.

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