And, no...you can't simply write, "unfounded."
When you make a reported incident unfounded,
you've got to be able to prove that it's unfounded.
The easiest way to prove an incident unfounded is
when the complainant admits to you that the crime
he or she reported , in fact, never happened. When
you become certain a complainant is fabricating an
incident of crime, your skill as an interviewer will get
the truth out of that complainant better than 90%
of the time.
Police officers love the word, "inconsistencies." A
few inconsistencies in a complainant's statements to
you do not alone make a crime unfounded. When
those inconsistencies become so many and critical
that they convince you the complainant is making a
false report, you've established probable cause to
charge the complainant criminally for filing a false
police report. There are a few people out there who
won't come clean no matter how many holes you
punch through their stories.
The best way to charge a complainant is to first
write your report stating the details of the
suspected fabricated incident as described by the
complainant. You then list all the inconsistencies
establishing your probable cause to charge the
complainant. While you could arrest the
complainant, I wouldn't recommend that course.
You should obtain a criminal summons or an arrest
warrant from a magistrate or court commissioner.
The truth is, most courts don't take the crime of
making false reports to police officers that
seriously. You'll learn that the court will almost
always issue a criminal summons over an arrest
You ask, "If courts don't take the crime seriously,
why should I go to all the trouble of charging the
complainant?" Because... it's the best thing to do.
If you don't charge the complainant, how can you
prove the crime reported never happened.
If you join a police department that maintains its
reporting system at a high level of integrity, you
won't have any problems knowing exactly what's
expected from you. If you join a police department
that maintains a poor system of reporting
accountability, you'll have to educate yourself on
how to do things right.
Remember, every time you make a crime unfounded
which really isn't, you're corrupting the only
measure for a police department to analyse and
effectively fight crime.
A police officer once responded to a call for a street
robbery. During the questioning of the victim, the
victim became upset with the officer's questions.
The interview deteriorated; until, the victim finally
said, "Forget it... I'll take care of it myself!"
The officer was required to submit a report, and he
did, but in the narrative he wrote, "unable to locate
a victim/ complainant."
Well, the victim did take care of it himself. He
contacted the police department's internal affairs
unit and made a complaint against the officer.
While the complaint regarding the officer's attitude
was no big deal, the false report submitted by the
officer was a big deal. The officer was tried in an
administrative hearing for the false report, found
guilty, and FIRED!
The Unfounded Report should be the most easily
understood report you'll ever have to make. In
fact, in some police departments where it's the
most popular report, it's still the most
People lie. There is no question that you'll have
people lying to you about something day in and day
out. Even before you become a police officer, you
know that suspects will lie to you. After you
become a police officer you'll learn that some victims
will also lie to you:
In this example the victim most certainly was
robbed at gunpoint by two men, but, at this point,
some police officers would determine the victim is
lying about everything, and this real robbery would
go down as an unfounded robbery. Since you're a
real police officer, and you take your job seriously,
you really start to question this guy. You're not
shy about pointing out your doubts, and it doesn't
take that long to break this victim down.
The victim finally admits he picked up a prostitute,
or a woman he believed to be a prostitute, who
directed him to the location. As soon as he parked
his car, there was a man at his window pointing a
gun at him. As the gunman demanded the victim's
money, the woman simply got out of the car and
walked away unobstructed by the two robbers.
Think about how your continued investigative
efforts have changed everything. Instead of a
generic two thug robbery incident, you've now
uncovered a more sophisticated operation.
This incident could go one of two ways. Another
police officer may have made the report unfounded,
or another may have taken the report without the
additional and critical female suspect information.
The worst choice would be the unfounded report.
The way you approach the issue of the unfounded
police report is going to depend, in large measure,
by how seriously your police department views the
issue of accurate crime reporting. It all goes to the
UCR Part One crimes. If your department allows
you to simply submit some kind of code for making
a Part One crime unfounded, a lot of crimes that
should be reported will go unreported.
If your police department makes you write a report
every time you receive a call for a Part One crime,
you might view that policy as a nuisance and
unnecessary. For example, you arrive at the
location given, and you're unable to locate a victim/
complainant. The narrative of that report could
simply state -- unable to locate a victim/
Here's the point. If you can't locate that
victim/complainant, you've submitted a truthful
report. If, on the other hand, you do locate the
victim, but you decide the victim is giving a false
report, and you write, "unable to locate a victim/
complainant," then, you're making a false report.
"The easiest way to prove an incident
unfounded is when the complainant admits to
you that the crime he or she reported , in fact,
never happened." ~ Barry M. Baker
|Copyright © 2018 Barry M. Baker
At about 10 pm on a Saturday night, you respond
to an industrial area for a report of a street
robbery. You meet a middle aged man standing
beside his car on a gas station parking lot.
The victim tells you he was robbed at gunpoint by
two men when he parked his car a couple blocks
away. You know that something isn't quite right
when he's hesitant to show you exactly where he
was parked when he was robbed.
You and the victim arrive at the crime scene which is
very secluded. You become even more suspicious
when the victim cannot give you a reasonable
explanation as to why he was at that secluded
location. He finally tells you that he chose the
location, because he had to urinate.
You really put him on the spot when you insist he
show you exactly where he urinated. He finally
points out an area, and you go to work with your
flashlight. Of course, you're not going to find a wet
spot, because the victim is lying to you.