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
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, okay."
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 time.
"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
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: $50.00
Two (2) pillow cases; pink in color (taken from
second floor rear guest bedroom)
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
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 © 2019 Barry M. Baker