Field Notes and Report Writing

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TWO TYPES OF REPORTS

  1. Narrative
  2. Pre-Printed

WHY ARE REPORTS SO IMPORTANT?

  • An accurate record of an event for future use, tells a story
  • Comprehensive information containing facts not opinions
  • Developed from field notes
  • Refreshes the memory of what occurred
  • Avoids confusion caused by distorted/lost memory

A good report is a result of knowing what information is necessary to tell a factual and comprehensive story regarding the incident you are reporting.

Good Field Notes are the foundation of a good report?
“Field notes” are brief notations concerning specific events and circumstances that are recorded while fresh in the officer’s mind and used to prepare a report.

FIELD NOTE USES:

  1. Provides a basis for the report
  2. Reduces need to re-contact parties involved
  3. Provides greater accuracy relative to time, statements, and events than memory

HOW, WHEN, AND WHERE DO YOU TAKE NOTES?

  • Have a dedicated notebook
  • Write clearly and neatly
  • Number the pages of the notebook
  • Have a starting date for the notebook and an ending date for the full notebook
  • A pencil may be the best writing instrument because it will write when it is wet and will not run when it gets wet

FIELD NOTES ARE YOUR FOUNDATION IN WRITING A REPORT.

  • The notes may regard an incident, a call, or a complaint
  • Reports written from these notes may be reviewed by law enforcement, attorneys, and judges
  • Applying effective note-taking will reduce the time and effort necessary for the report
  • Make sure you get ALL of the information, get it right, and make it clear!
  • This will save you embarrassment, inconvenience, and imposition of having to re-interview people.

WHEN SHOULD YOU TAKE NOTES?

  • Anytime there may be a need for a report.
  • Anytime there may be a need for recollection of an incident.
  • Notes should be taken as an incident occurs not as an afterthought.

WHEN IN DOUBT MAKE NOTES.

NOTE-TAKING FOR POLICE AND SECURITY PT. 1 (VIDEO)

NOTE-TAKING FOR POLICE & SECURITY PT. 2 (VIDEO)