If you join a police department that views
the integrity of its reporting system
seriously, you're going to be writing a lot
of follow-up reports.  In fact, just about
any incident that is not concluded during
the course of the initial investigation will
require follow-up reporting.  Even when
an investigation is complete, pertinent
information could be developed later, and
that information would be documented
on a follow-up report.
The above example is just an example,
but the way this follow-up investigation
turned out happens all the time.  When
you learned that two pillow cases had
been taken in the burglary, you
immediately knew that the burglar(s)
used the pillow cases to carry property
from the house.  When you asked the
witness the color of the bags he saw
being carried by the two men, you
already knew they were pink.

Had another, less interested police
officer, taken this follow-up report, his or
her reaction to the victim's comment
about the neighbor seeing two men
loitering, might have received less
attention.  In fact, the comment may
have only inspired a mental note of, "Yea,

Remember...every, and I mean every,
investigation you conduct will be
important. Yes, some will be more
important than others, but all are
important. It just comes down to the
amount of time and effort you devote to
your investigations.  The answers are
always somewhere, and the competent
police officer will always follow every lead
no matter how minor it may seem at the
"If you're working in a department
where your entire reporting system
is computerized, that should simplify
your follow-up procedures for
tracking and accountability."
~ Barry M. Baker
There's nothing difficult about completing
the follow-up report.  In most cases you'll
simply contact the complainant or victim
in the previously reported incident to
learn if
that person has any additional
information to report.

The way follow-up reporting will be
assigned to you will depend upon
different factors.  If
you're working in a small police
department, you may be responsible for
conducting all the follow-ups for incidents
where you've taken the initial report.  In
larger departments, you could be
assigned follow-ups for incidents initially
investigated by any number of different
police officers.

If you're working in a department where
your entire reporting system is
computerized, that should simplify your
follow-up procedures for tracking and
accountability.  Whether you're writing
your follow-ups on a computer screen or
on paper, just remember that follow-up
reporting is important.

If your reporting system is fully
computerized, you'll be able to get your
follow-up screen with all the original
information, date, time, location, victim,
etc. ready to go.  Always check the
original information, because a human
being entered the information, and
people do make errors.  If you're doing
your follow-up on paper, the heading
information will be minimal.
Report Heading
After a thorough inventory of his
home, Mr. Jones discovered that the
following additional items were taken
in the burglary:

One (1) Television; Sony; 12 inch;
serial number unknown; Value:

Two (2) pillow cases; pink in color
(taken from second floor rear guest
Value: $20.00

Total Additional Value:  $70.00

Mr. Jones further reports that one of
his neighbors had observed two men
loitering in the block during the time
frame of this incident.

I responded to the neighbor's
residence where I spoke with the
following witness:

Mr. Rueben Castle
M-W-55; DOB: 12 Feb 1952
782 Roundview Cir
Baltimore, MD 21000
Res. Phone:  785-555-3824
Bus. Phone:  Same (Self Employed)

Mr. Castle reports he observed two
white males placing items into a dark
colored, late model SUV which was
parked in front of the victim's
residence.  Mr. Castle states he
earlier noticed the men when they
were sitting inside the vehicle for an
extended period of time.  Later, he
noticed the men standing beside the
vehicle looking around as if they were
waiting, or looking for someone.  His
last observation occurred when he
saw the men placing two (2) bags
inside the vehicle.

I asked Mr. Castle if he remembered
the color of the bags?  Mr. Castle
paused for a moment and then
stated, "You know, they looked like
they were pink."  Asked if he could
describe the size and shape of the
bags and the type, Mr. Castle
responded, "Just bags...some kind of
cloth bags."  Mr. Castle's description
of the bags he observed is
consistent with the two pink pillow
cases reported taken in this report.

Mr. Castle's observations occurred
between 1200 and 1300 hrs on 8
Aug 2015.

Mr. Caste provided the following
suspect descriptions:

Suspect #1:  M-W-20 to 25; 5-10 to
6-00; thin build; 130 to 150 lbs;
medium length red hair; freckles on
face and arms; white tee shirt; blue
jeans with holes in both knees; white
tennis shoes; NFD

Suspect #2:  M-W-20 to 25; 5-08 to
5-10; stocky build; 180 to 190 lbs;
short dark hair; dark sun tan; large
tattoo on right forearm; green tee
shirt; blue jeans; dark color shoes;

Vehicle:  Dark colored late model SUV
with Maryland registration possibly
containing the letters: B and F; NFD
Copyright © 2016  Barry M. Baker