On May 11, two Florida teenagers were arrested for coughing on Walmart shoppers. Each teen had stolen a bottle of Febreeze from the store and put it under his armpit. To make their coughing more dramatic, they sprayed some Febreeze each time.
The teens said they were trying to be funny for a YouTube video. They were jailed and then released after posting a $1,000 bond.
They were arrested for disorderly conduct and shoplifting. You can read the story here: http://www.thesmokinggun.com/documents/crime/febreze-pranksters-popped-178596
Here’s the police report, followed by some comments from me:
1. Overall, this is an EXCELLENT police report: accurate, well-organized, professional.
2. Some outdated police habits are a problem:
- Don’t say advise when you mean tell. Save advise for giving actual advice.
- Don’t waste time repeating the date in the narrative. It needs to be recorded only once.
- “Made contact” is too vague for a police report. Did you talk to the two boys? Say so.
3. The report omits two essential pieces of information.
- Take a look at the third paragraph: “Post Miranda, Troublefield and Green stated they were recording a YouTube video….” Who heard them say this? There’s not a single “I” in this entire report.
- Take a look at the fourth paragraph: the report doesn’t state who arrested the boys and drove them to jail.
I keep wondering so many officers avoid recording their own actions. I doubt that anyone arrives at a police academy afraid of using the words “I” and “me.”
It’s a habit that recruits seem to pick up during their academy training – or when they go to work for an agency.