Detective Lieutenant Barry M. Baker (ret.) is a 32 year veteran of the Baltimore Police Department.
The police administrative report will be the first report you write when you complete your application for police employment.
Administrative reports are important, and every organization needs a comprehensive and efficient administrative reporting system. It ensures the integrity and accountability of people and procedures.
How Police Administrative Reports Should be Created
A department’s administrative functions shouldn’t be overwhelmed with redundant administrative reports. I experienced an efficient system, because the department’s Planning and Research Division had total control of the police administrative report.
No division, district, or unit could create any report without the review and approval of the P&R Division. Anyone could submit a new report for consideration, and it would go through a review and revision process.
If accepted, the report would be assigned a form number, and it would be instituted department wide.
Information technology should simplify the administrative reporting. Those in command positions need only understand the concept of information technology to ensure efficient implementation and utilization.
Technology should provide the means to collect, store and produce most administrative reports, and that should be the goal.
Police Administrative Report Accuracy
You should never have to submit any administrative report destined for statistical purposes, and here’s a prime example of an inaccurate police administrative report:
Your district commander requires a detailed monthly report listing all arrests. It’s a reasonable requirement, but the way that report is generated determines the accuracy of the report.
Sergeants are directed to submit the required reporting, and the sergeants direct individual officers to produce the required information.
There’s 50 patrol officers per shift, and multiply that times three shifts for 150 reports. Can you begin to imagine how inaccurate the final report will be? To say the number of arrests will be exaggerated would be an understatement. No matter how many officers are involved in an arrest, there is only one arresting officer of record. This will be a distinction lost on many police officers, and the number of actual arrests will be wildly inflated.
Computerized arrest data has been around for a long time, and this commander, should have requested the data from the department’s Management Information System. Had the commander requested the accurate computer generated version of the report, 12 sergeants and 150 police officers would have been spared the time creating a fictitious police administrative report.
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