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1 Notes, Reports, & Legal Issues Why is it important that investigators write clear, concise, and complete police reports?

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Presentation on theme: "1 Notes, Reports, & Legal Issues Why is it important that investigators write clear, concise, and complete police reports?"— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Notes, Reports, & Legal Issues Why is it important that investigators write clear, concise, and complete police reports?

2 EQ: Why is it important that investigators write clear, concise, and complete police reports? 2 Group Activity You will be divided into two groupsYou will be divided into two groups You will toss an object around the group being sure no person is repeated and all are includedYou will toss an object around the group being sure no person is repeated and all are included You will continue to toss the object in the same orderYou will continue to toss the object in the same order A Recorder will watch the groupA Recorder will watch the group –You will have special instructions

3 EQ: Why is it important that investigators write clear, concise, and complete police reports? 3 Group Activity Part II You stay in your groupYou stay in your group You will toss a different object around the group following the previous rules but the order will changeYou will toss a different object around the group following the previous rules but the order will change The Recorder will observeThe Recorder will observe

4 EQ: Why is it important that investigators write clear, concise, and complete police reports? 4 Group Activity Part III You stay in your groupYou stay in your group You will toss yet another object around the group following the previous rules but the order will change another timeYou will toss yet another object around the group following the previous rules but the order will change another time The Recorder will observeThe Recorder will observe

5 5 Group Activity Part IV Sit down in your assigned seat Time to testify! Sit down in your assigned seat Time to testify!

6 EQ: Why is it important that investigators write clear, concise, and complete police reports? 6 Call to the Stand First - the 4 th person in Group 1First - the 4 th person in Group 1 Second - the 6 th person in Group 2Second - the 6 th person in Group 2 Third - the Recorder for Group 1Third - the Recorder for Group 1 Fourth - the Recorder for Group 2Fourth - the Recorder for Group 2 You will come to the front of the room, be sworn in, and testifyYou will come to the front of the room, be sworn in, and testify

7 EQ: Why is it important that investigators write clear, concise, and complete police reports? 7 Cross-ExaminationCross-Examination Who threw second in the first round?Who threw second in the first round? Who did the fifth person throw to in the third round?Who did the fifth person throw to in the third round? What colors were the items in the first round?What colors were the items in the first round? In what order were those colored items thrown?In what order were those colored items thrown? Who gave the instructor the items thrown in the last round at the end of the activity?Who gave the instructor the items thrown in the last round at the end of the activity?

8 EQ: Why is it important that investigators write clear, concise, and complete police reports? 8 Group Activity Debrief How much did you remember of what you threw to whom?How much did you remember of what you threw to whom? How much did you remember others doing?How much did you remember others doing? What % do officers have to be correct for evidence to be admitted?What % do officers have to be correct for evidence to be admitted? Why did the Recorders have no problem recalling the events?Why did the Recorders have no problem recalling the events?

9 EQ: Why is it important that investigators write clear, concise, and complete police reports? 9 Chain of Custody Documents evidenceDocuments evidence –Who collected it –Who received it –Who processed it –Who stored it Any break in the chain – the evidence can be excludedAny break in the chain – the evidence can be excluded ExampleExample

10 EQ: Why is it important that investigators write clear, concise, and complete police reports? 10 Chain of Custody Fill out form as much as possible before you place evidence insideFill out form as much as possible before you place evidence inside Document in your narrative the “whos” even though it is on the formDocument in your narrative the “whos” even though it is on the form –Too much info is never too much! Keep records in your field notes as wellKeep records in your field notes as well

11 11 Reports Activity How to write detailed narratives

12 EQ: Why is it important that investigators write clear, concise, and complete police reports? 12 Narrative Writing Think of an event from the last few weeksThink of an event from the last few weeks –Personal –Conversation involved –Places you went –Not a “big” thing Not trying to impressNot trying to impress –Something to share, comfortable with all hearing about it Review the event in your mind completelyReview the event in your mind completely

13 EQ: Why is it important that investigators write clear, concise, and complete police reports? 13 Narrative Writing I will select a partner for youI will select a partner for you You will conduct a “field interview”You will conduct a “field interview” –Don’t worry about kinesics Make sure you use proper interviewing protocol – take field notes!Make sure you use proper interviewing protocol – take field notes! You will write a narrative on their recent event once doneYou will write a narrative on their recent event once done 2 Steps – interviewing and interviewee2 Steps – interviewing and interviewee

14 EQ: Why is it important that investigators write clear, concise, and complete police reports? 14 Narrative Writing Step 1: person on left of table interview the person who sits on the rightStep 1: person on left of table interview the person who sits on the right –5 minutes Step 2: Person on left swap with person from same row. Now person on right interviews new person on leftStep 2: Person on left swap with person from same row. Now person on right interviews new person on left –5 minutes

15 EQ: Why is it important that investigators write clear, concise, and complete police reports? 15 Narrative Writing Now – write narrative from field notesNow – write narrative from field notes Remember:Remember: –A narrative tells a story –Who, what, when, where, why –Who before what –They may have told you things out of chronological order so make sure events are in a linear time sequence You have 15 minutesYou have 15 minutes

16 EQ: Why is it important that investigators write clear, concise, and complete police reports? 16 Narrative Writing Step 1 – sit with original partnerStep 1 – sit with original partner –Review narrative together –How much was right/wrong? Step 2 – sit with 2 nd partnerStep 2 – sit with 2 nd partner –Review narrative together –How much was right/wrong? Back to seats – what % were you right?Back to seats – what % were you right? What % correct must cops be?What % correct must cops be?

17 EQ: Why is it important that investigators write clear, concise, and complete police reports? 17 Narrative Writing Scenario!Scenario! One student will act role of policeOne student will act role of police Four students will act the partsFour students will act the parts Each student will write a narrative from the perspective of the responding officerEach student will write a narrative from the perspective of the responding officer Take field notesTake field notes Group suggestions for actions of officerGroup suggestions for actions of officer

18 EQ: Why is it important that investigators write clear, concise, and complete police reports? 18 Narrative Writing You are on patrolYou are on patrol You get a disturbance call from a neighbor at 123 Main Street Apartment 107You get a disturbance call from a neighbor at 123 Main Street Apartment 107 Complainant states loud argument, breaking of glassComplainant states loud argument, breaking of glass Nothing furtherNothing further You arrive and knock on the door…You arrive and knock on the door…

19 EQ: Why is it important that investigators write clear, concise, and complete police reports? 19 Narrative Writing Facts you’ll needFacts you’ll need 123 Main Street123 Main Street Apartment 107Apartment 107 Roswell, Ga 30076Roswell, Ga Dispatch time – current time but PMDispatch time – current time but PM Arrival – add 5 minutesArrival – add 5 minutes Write the PERFECT narrative – 25 minutesWrite the PERFECT narrative – 25 minutes

20 EQ: Why is it important that investigators write clear, concise, and complete police reports? 20 Narrative Writing You think yours is PERFECT?You think yours is PERFECT? Groups of 3 Read each others narrative and make corrections on page: 3 minutes each reportRead each others narrative and make corrections on page: 3 minutes each report Group discuss/critique the narrativesGroup discuss/critique the narratives –Did someone do it better? –Were facts right? –Did they use a different way to phrase things?

21 EQ: Why is it important that investigators write clear, concise, and complete police reports? 21 Narrative Writing Final narrativeFinal narrative Remember what you have learnedRemember what you have learned Remember a POLICE narrative tells “who can testify to what” while telling the storyRemember a POLICE narrative tells “who can testify to what” while telling the story Language must make sense to a juryLanguage must make sense to a jury Due at beginning of class tomorrowDue at beginning of class tomorrow Future narratives are far more complicatedFuture narratives are far more complicated Major assessment!Major assessment!

22 22 Paperwork Annoying but necessary

23 EQ: Why is it important that investigators write clear, concise, and complete police reports? 23 PaperworkPaperwork Each department has its own paperworkEach department has its own paperwork BasicsBasics –Incident Reports –Narrative –Supplemental –Waivers - documents waiving of rights –Field Interview cards –Activity logs

24 EQ: Why is it important that investigators write clear, concise, and complete police reports? 24 PaperworkPaperwork Basics: ContinuedBasics: Continued –Chain of Custody –Various arrest records –Property/evidence forms –Warrants: arrest, search –Use of force documentation Electronic formats are expandingElectronic formats are expanding –Laptops in most cars

25 25 Legal Issues Every word you write will be reviewed by many!

26 EQ: Why is it important that investigators write clear, concise, and complete police reports? 26 Legal Issues Reports are the basis of all future legal actionsReports are the basis of all future legal actions Reports most not only answer who, what, when, etc. but also explain your actionsReports most not only answer who, what, when, etc. but also explain your actions Semantics is everything – “shoot to kill” and similar are big no-no'sSemantics is everything – “shoot to kill” and similar are big no-no's

27 EQ: Why is it important that investigators write clear, concise, and complete police reports? 27 Legal Issues Well written documentation protects you like legal KevlarWell written documentation protects you like legal Kevlar Many times your reports will be used in civil court as well as criminal courtMany times your reports will be used in civil court as well as criminal court –Traffic accidents are most common Reports support decisions such as probable cause to arrest or searchReports support decisions such as probable cause to arrest or search

28 EQ: Why is it important that investigators write clear, concise, and complete police reports? 28 Legal Issues Reports document protection of accused’s rights – reading Miranda, waive rights for searches, etc.Reports document protection of accused’s rights – reading Miranda, waive rights for searches, etc. Officers reports are assumed accurate and truthful by the courtsOfficers reports are assumed accurate and truthful by the courts –Burden to prove otherwise falls on defense Finally – Police reports carry your name with them forever, they are public record, and you can’t take anything back after you submit them. Be sure you tell the truth recording only facts.Finally – Police reports carry your name with them forever, they are public record, and you can’t take anything back after you submit them. Be sure you tell the truth recording only facts.

29 29 Notes, Reports, & Legal Issues Why is it important that investigators write clear, concise, and complete police reports?


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