the Record: Report Writing in Law Enforcement – the longest enduring report writing book in
the field, this guide has been proven effective in teaching police officers how
to write more professional reports.
For more than 30 years, For the Record has provided guidelines
for writing at all levels of law
enforcement. Now in its Sixth Edition, the updated and improved manual teaches strategies
for producing professional reports that reflect positively on the writer,
provides ample practice exercises to hone writing skills, and presents self-tests
for step-by-step assessment along the way. For the Record presents
- Basic steps in report writing
- Structuring the narrative
- Principles of clear, concise writing
- Avoiding conclusionary language
- Highlights of grammar, spelling, and punctuation
- Abbreviations, numbers, and capitalization
- Evaluation checklist for reports
For the Record is designed to be equally effective for individual study
by working law enforcement officers or for course work by police science
students. Although the manual focuses on investigative reports, the principles
of effective writing apply to any written work.
Although the following statements
refer to law enforcement reports, they apply equally to the importance of
public safety, fire services, corrections, and private security reports:
“Good or bad, the language, style
and tone of our investigative reports tells the reader about the writer. The
trial lawyer’s adage of ‘If you can’t try the facts of the case, try the
officer who reported the facts’ has played out far too many times in far too
many courtrooms. Juries and even District Attorneys equate sloppy police
writing with sloppy thinking and careless investigative methods.” Sievert, G.
(2004). The essence of quality: Writing successful reports. The Law Enforcement Trainer, 35.
“Officers sometimes neglect their
report writing, but it has very serious consequences if left unattended. What
officers write in their report stays with them forever. The words on the paper
cannot be changed, and an omission of critical details cannot later be added to
a report without calling the report’s veracity into doubt.” Scarry, L.L.
(February 2007). Report writing. Law
Officer Magazine, 68.
investigative report may be the one pivotal piece of documentation that makes a
difference in the prosecution of a murderer or a serial rapist. You certainly
don’t want it to be the weakest link in the investigation and provide a gap for
an offender to get away with their crime.” Swobodzinski, K. (February 2007).
The crime scene report. Law Officer