Report Writing for Law Enforcement Professionals (2021)

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Course Author(s)

Crater Criminal Justice Training Academy Staff - Virginia


Estimated Seat Time
60 Minutes

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Course Summary

There is an old saying that asserts, “If it is not written down, it did not happen.”  The ability to write a report well and document events accurately is a key part of being both a successful and effective law enforcement officer.

A substantial number of city and rural prosecutors say they lose cases due to poor report writing. So, all the hard work done to bring someone to justice is only as good as the report and evidence. Furthermore, with body cams in wide use, well-written reports are critical! Written reports are a direct reflection on the author (YOU) and will help determine one’s reputation within and outside the department. Poorly written reports can lose a case for the prosecution.  Taking the time to write a detailed, complete, and accurate report will assist you, the prosecutor, and your department greatly. And remember, you as well are being videotaped.

This course will teach participants that a clear report is effective and correct if it is capable of only one interpretation.  To accomplish this, the course will present the types of reports, the common use of reports, and most importantly, the purpose of a report: to describe events accurately and with clarity.  Participants will see how to be well-organized while following the general rules of report writing.

Documenting what is seen, heard, and videotaped is important, but improving one’s writing skills can turn such information and observational data into valuable and understandable information. 

Lastly, a number of helpful resources will be referenced, including common report writing errors. 

Everyone has certain skills in which they excel.  For some it may be firearms and others it may be their ability to write well.  If you struggle with your writing skills, make the effort to improve those skills in this course.

Course Syllabus

  • Module 1

    • Introduction
    • Purpose of a Report
    • Describe Transactions Acurately and Clearly
    • Be Well Organized
    • General Rules of Report Writing
    • Types of Reports - Part 1
    • Types of Reports - Part 2
    • Common Use of Reports
    • Court Orders and Go-By Books
    • Improving Your Writing Skills
    • Resources
    • Module Assessment