There's really no reason why you should
be apprehensive about your ability to
write a good police report no matter what
kind of report is required.  The biggest
impediment to a police officer's ability to
prepare a grammatically sound and
accurate report is, and always has been,

As soon as you begin your police career,
you're going to hear other police officers
complain about too many reports being
required for too many things.  While
attitudes on most things change over
time, this is one complaint that's been
around forever.  However, one change
associated with this complaint has
occurred.  You'll find more and more
people in command positions within police
departments who echo the rank and file
complaint about too many reports.

When you hear people in command
positions complain about too many
reports, just ignore their comments.  
Since these are the same people who are
responsible for creating and maintaining a
comprehensive and efficient reporting
system, your time is better spent tuning
out their whining and concentrate on
your writing skills.

There's a really stubborn misconception
that prevails in most police departments.  
Far too many police officers, particularly
among those at the top, think that
modern computerized information
systems should lessen the need for more
reports.  They fail to realize that
computer software exists to handle
maximum amounts of information with
maximum efficiency.  These same people
seem to forget that the information to be
managed first needs to be developed and
entered by people.
Lies are always easy to recognize and
expose; however, when false allegations
against you are initiated on an
inter-agency level, you'll learn that the
investigators charged with the internal
investigation aren't very good at
recognizing the obvious.  When two or
more police officers, and particularly
supervisors, become involved in a
conspiracy of lies against you, the
investigator's focus on facts will narrow
considerably.  Simply put, the
investigator will ignore facts that
contradict the conspirators' version of
the truth.

You may ask, "How can that be?"  It's
easy since exposing the conspirators
opens a Pandora's Box, and it creates
too many problems for too many people.  
Even when the lies are obvious to anyone
with an IQ above moron, you'll remain in
jeopardy just because it's a simpler way
to dispose of the whole ugly mess.  While
your writing skills won't make you
immune from this particularly malignant
form of false allegations, your skill can
certainly extricate you from jeopardy.  
Additionally, once you establish a
reputation for being a good writer,only
the most naive liars will take you on.

I know you're looking at a police career
with very different objectives in mind;
however, you must never lose sight of
the fact that there are so many ways to
get into trouble.  You'll make mistakes,
and that's okay as long as they're not
really stupid mistakes.  You'll learn from
your mistakes, and you'll continually
improve with experience.  While you'll
have a high level of control over
subjecting yourself to trouble of your
own making, you'll be devastated the
first time you're maliciously attacked by
one, or more, of your own.  This is why
your writing skills are second only to the
preservation of your physical safety.
Now that you're aware that you'll always
be expected to provide more than less,
you should immediately concentrate on
improving your writing skills.  As a police
officer, there are two things that will
most affect your career.  Your physical
safety is obviously the most important.  
While some officers do sustain injuries,
or worse, through carelessness, most will
always approach every situation with
safety in mind.  It's a much different
story when police officers form their
attitudes toward the importance of
writing reports.  Most fail to realize that
their failure to develop and utilize
effective written communication skills can
have frequent and adverse effects on
their careers.

The most obvious adverse effect will
occur in the prosecution of criminal
cases.  In most instances, the
documentation you prepare and submit
will form the bulk of the government's
case.  If you establish a reputation for
writing substandard reports, you'll lose a
lot of cases, and you won't enjoy a
reputation for thoroughness and
accuracy.  While that's bad enough, you
have to realize that you've chosen a
career where you'll be facing
compromising situations on a continual

It's no exaggeration to say that police
officers are experiencing more complaints
regarding their conduct than ever
before.  While there are plenty of reasons
for this circumstance, the reasons aren't
nearly as important as to how you
respond to the allegations.  You will,
without a doubt, have false allegations of
misconduct made against you.

If you're working for a good sergeant
when a person(s), from outside or inside
the police department --yes, I said inside
the police department -- makes a false
allegation of misconduct against you,
that sergeant will move heaven and earth
to reveal all the facts and thoroughly
report those facts to ensure your
exoneration.  However, if your sergeant
is the one making the false allegation,
who's going to reveal and report the
facts.  If you have a good lieutenant, he
or she will promptly put the sergeant in
his or her place.

Here's some good advice.  Don't count
on always having good sergeants and
lieutenants.  You'll encounter liars
everywhere.  Some are worse than
others, and some are just better at it
than others.  If you ever find yourself the
victim of a false allegation from a member
of your own department, and your
immediate and mid-level supervisors are
corrupt, incompetent, or simply
susceptible to bouts of selective amnesia,
you could find yourself entirely on your
own and totally dependent on your
writing skills to expose the lies...and the
"Most fail to realize that their failure
to develop and utilize effective
written communication skills can
have frequent and adverse effects on
their careers." ~ Barry M. Baker
Despite the efforts of some, English will
continue to be the primary language used
for your police reports.  However, when
you start reading the reports prepared
by other police officers, you may wonder
if English is their first language.  You'll
see some really bad reports by some
officers who, sadly, never realize the
need for improvement.  Even when the
reports are written on computers, the
spell check feature eludes many.
Copyright © 2016  Barry M. Baker