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Types of Reports

Types of Reports

Completing well-written and comprehensive reports is a critical responsibility of law enforcement agencies. The reports include all information and facts required to ensure that all stakeholders have all the necessary information to successfully undertake the criminal justice process. Police officers who show up at the site of crime or those who respond to the incidents in any manner must document crimes and incidents for the successful prosecution of those involved in these crimes. Besides, the reports act as an official record of police work and how police agencies respond to crimes. These reports are open to public consumption, and members of the public, the media, private companies, and courts may request to use the information contained in these reports at any given time. This research paper delves into different police report types, the information included in each report, and how the police officers involved should organize the reports to ensure successful prosecution. There are four main types of reports depending on the crimes committed: traffic crashes, domestic violence crimes, misdemeanor crimes, and felony crimes. The paper will delve into the critical information included in each of the reports, the reasons for completing them, why accuracy is necessary, and the potential audiences. Law enforcers compose a narrative that accurately depicts the facts of a crime to ensure a successful criminal justice process.

Domestic Violence Reports

Domestic violence is one of the most common incidents law enforcers respond to. As defined by law, domestic violence refers to an abusive behavior used to gain and maintain power against an intimate partner or family member (Lippy et al., 2020). Abuse may range from sexual, physical, emotional, economic, and psychological actions or threats meant to scare or harm another. The other forms of abuse that fall under domestic violence include animal cruelty, child and elder abuse, verbal abuse, and strangulation. Given the complexity of domestic violence, it is incumbent upon police officers to write organized and objective reports to ensure successful prosecution.

Law enforcers must recognize the dynamism of domestic violence and gather all the vital information. One of the most vital facts to record when responding to domestic violence is the jurisdiction of the involved parties (Law Enforcement Policy Center, 2019). Jurisdiction, in this case, refers to the relationship between the parties and not the physical location. Jurisdiction is essential in determining the type of court that will hear the case. For instance, assault cases involving friends, acquittances, and strangers are heard in different courts, as there are courts dedicated to domestic violence (Law Enforcement Policy Center, 2019).

Also, law enforcers should document injuries and the condition of the parties at the time of response. Video and photo documentation is crucial since it helps judges decide cases. Documentation of evidence is also essential since offenders are most likely to present themselves in court with a calm demeanor, which may deceive judges. As a result, law enforcers should capture the teary faces, raw injuries, and blood stains, if any, to create a perfect picture of what transpired.

In addition, law enforcers should record statements from both parties at the time of response. An offender’s statement is particularly critical since they provide their side of the story (Lippy et al., 2020). Since officers are not allowed to testify in court, these statements provide critical evidence to aid the case even if they recant their earlier statements (Lippy et al., 2020). Finally, the police should review the history of abuse, including checking the calls to the specific department and elsewhere. There is also a need to run a criminal history check of the offender as some states have a provision of aggravated charges for repeat offenders and may turn a minor assault charge into a felony. Recording the history of abuse gives a judge the much-needed insight to understand the lethality of the crime.

The primary audience of reports gathered are the judges to determine the case. While the public prosecutor uses the information to build a case, judges depend on the evidence presented to make a judgment. Accuracy is also crucial while documenting to avoid wrongful imprisonment and ensure victim protection.

Misdemeanor Reports

According to Agan et al. (2023), a misdemeanor is a crime punishable by one year of imprisonment or less. Any misdemeanor with less than six months imprisonment and a fine not exceeding $500 is a petty crime. Some excellent examples of misdemeanors include possession of controlled substances in small amounts, minor assault, and some cases of tax evasion, among other offenses. Petty crimes may include traffic law violations and violations of laws enacted by US agencies.

Law enforcers responding to cases of misdemeanors should accurately record several pieces of information to ensure a successful case. One of the most crucial information included in misdemeanor case reports is a description of the criminal activity. While recording the case, a police officer should also include a list of items damaged during the incident. Research work is also vital as an officer is required to state specific state and federal statutes violated against case incidents. If a suspect is known, the law enforcement officer should record as many details about the offender as possible. The parties involved in the crime should also record statements if possible. Also, recording property information such as color, size, value, serial number, and model aids in later investigations.

While responding to misdemeanor crimes, there is a need for police officers to pay attention to and note the mental health of the offenders. The mentally ill have been disproportionately entangled in the legal justice system (Wood et al., 2023). Their involvement often results in misdemeanor and petty offense charges, which is unjustifiable considering their mental state. As a result, policymakers have adopted policies to reduce the criminal justice footprint among mentally ill people (Wood et al., 2023). Law enforcers should pay attention to mental illness symptoms among offenders and draft a document that captures such crucial facts.

Notably, accuracy is crucial when dealing with misdemeanor crimes. The best way to achieve maximum accuracy is by making field notes and conducting field interviews. Field notes taken at the crime scene are the source documents that will be subsequently used in preparing reports and should be complete, organized, and legible. Field notes are more reliable than memory as officers are likely to forget vital information such as addresses, time, and crucial observations. The best time to write these notes is when officers interview the parties in the case.

Felony Reports

Felony crimes refer to criminal offenses that are likely to result in more than a one-year prison sentence. These crimes contain an element of violence and are considered a serious threat to public safety. Some of the most serious crimes, such as first-degree murder and arson, are felonies. Unlike misdemeanor and petty offenses, felonies are likely to attract arrests. While responding to felonies, police know that the suspects may want to escape, calling for fast response time (DeAngelo et al., 2023). Since felonies include cases like murder, it is incumbent upon law enforcers to accurately capture and document detailed information about a crime.

After arriving at the crime scene, a first officer should secure the area and eliminate any lurking danger. One should ensure they do not leave traces of their fingerprints on the crime scene as this is likely to interfere with case records (Girard, 2021). The area is cordoned off, and no member of the public or law enforcement officer is allowed as this may destroy crucial evidence. Witnesses who saw the events in real time are central to serious crimes, and the officers who respond to these crimes should obtain and document witnesses’ names. Officers should avoid interviewing witnesses at length. Besides, first responding officers should record their actions from the time they arrive, as this may be subject to examination and cross-examination if the case proceeds to trial.

Some of the most crucial tools needed while responding to and investigating felonies are tape recorders. Police in Berkley, California, are known for using tapes to record vital information that is subsequently transcribed with the help of a clerical officer (Girard, 2021). This measure ensures that police do not miss out on critical verbal evidence that may escape a law enforcement officer during note-taking. Using tapes is crucial as it shows that no coercive force was applied if an offender confesses to their crime and recants later. Other critical pieces of evidence that require documentation are fingerprints. Latent fingerprints are matched with the suspect’s prints to identify them accurately.

Traffic Crashes Reports

Traffic crashes are a top priority for US law enforcement agencies because they present a significant challenge to police safety. As a result, the police practice proactive policing strategies such as patrolling ‘hot spots’ where accidents are likely to occur during their downtime (Wu et al., 2021). Accident victims, by law, do not have to report accidents, but police presence plays a vital role in curbing future accidents (Wu et al., 2021). Some accidents meet the threshold of legal action, especially if accident victims die or get serious injuries. To that end, criminal charges that may result from crashes include driving under the influence of alcohol and substances, lack of a driving license, and potential homicide charges. On the other hand, civil components include claims due to property damage and injury. As a result, law enforcement officers should draft accurate and precise reports that may form the basis of prosecution.

A dispatched police officer talks to everyone involved in the crash, including the drivers, car occupants, and eyewitnesses. These people provide vital information since police officers may have missed to witness accidents first-hand. While interviewing the parties involved in the collision, the officer requests insurance details, contact information, names, and other relevant information (Rolison, 2020). Law enforcers record this information in a notebook and later incorporate it into the official records. The officers are obliged to gather information from members of the public who may be willing to provide the same to ensure that the statements offered corroborate.

After securing the accident site, the crucial work of gathering evidence begins. The first officers at the scene may record videos and take photos as part of the evidence-gathering process. Police officers will subsequently complete a collision report with a diagram showing the vehicles’ location (Rolison, 2020). The other details captured in the report include injuries, the identity of the involved drivers, property damage incurred, and relevant details. Finally, police finalize their work by determining who is responsible for the accident. If responsibility is clear to all, the law enforcement officer will present a traffic citation to the offender and include it in the police report.

Traffic crash reports have many audiences, unlike other crime reports that apply legally. For instance, insurance companies may request police files as they process client claims for compensation. Also, crash victims, including those not involved directly but had their property damaged, may use the police reports to build a legal case claiming civil damages. Accuracy should be a top priority for responding officers.

Conclusion

Proper scene-of-crime documentation is crucial since crime reports form the basis of prosecution. Law enforcers are the first responders in most cases, and their accounts and a record of witness accounts determine the course of court cases. Crime reports should be accurate, organized, and detailed enough to support a water-tight charge. The officers responding to serious felonies such as murder should be particularly attentive to detail since any small piece of evidence can alter the direction of a case. There are manuals in most police departments that guide police documentation of crimes. Nonetheless, enhanced training will equip officers with the necessary soft skills to conduct fruitful field interviews and record enough information.

References

Agan, A., Doleac, J. L., & Harvey, A. (2023). Misdemeanor Prosecution. The Quarterly Journal of Economics. https://doi.org/10.1093/qje/qjad005

DeAngelo, G., Toger, M., & Sarit Weisburd. (2023). Police Response Time and Injury Outcomes. https://doi.org/10.1093/ej/uead035

Girard, J. E. (2021). Criminalistics: Forensic science, crime, and terrorism. Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Law Enforcement Policy Center. (2019). Domestic Violence. https://www.theiacp.org/sites/default/files/2021-07/Domestic%20Violence%20FULL%20-%2006292020.pdf

Lippy, C., Jumarali, S. N., Nnawulezi, N. A., Williams, E. P., & Burk, C. (2020). The Impact of Mandatory Reporting Laws on Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence: Intersectionality, Help-Seeking and the Need for Change. Journal of Family Violence, 35(3), 305–305. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10896-020-00136-6

Rolison, J. J. (2020). Identifying the causes of road traffic collisions: Using police officers’ expertise to improve the reporting of contributory factors data. Accident Analysis & Prevention, 135, 105390. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aap.2019.105390

Wood, J., Watson, A. C., Pope, L., Warnock, A., Nelson, V., Gesser, N., Zern, A., Stagoff-Belfort, A., Tan, J., & Compton, M. T. (2023). Contexts shaping misdemeanor system interventions among people with mental illnesses: qualitative findings from a multi-site system mapping exercise. 11(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40352-023-00219-8

Wu, X., Lum, C., & Koper, C. (2021). Do everyday proactive policing activities reduce vehicle crashes? Examining a commonly held law enforcement belief using a novel method. Journal of Criminal Justice, 76, 101846. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcrimjus.2021.101846

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Question 


Types of Reports

Types of Reports

For this Research Paper: Types of Reports Assignment, you will prepare a research paper.
Thus far, in the course, you have learned about the various reports (Traffic Crashes, Misdemeanor Crimes, Felony Crimes and Domestic Violence Crimes). The purpose of this Research Paper: Types of Reports Assignment is to familiarize you with the use of differing reports and the information that may be necessary to complete such reports.
In this Research Paper: Types of Reports Assignment, you should discuss the various types of reports, previously discussed, that might be required as a law enforcement officer. In doing so, please provide depth in discussing the types of reports (Traffic Crashes, Misdemeanor Crimes, Felony Crimes and Domestic Violence Crimes), the information that might be required to complete those reports, the reasons for completing those reports, the necessity of ensuring accuracy in reporting and the audience that might view these reports.
INSTRUCTIONS
The Research Paper: Types of Reports Assignment must include the following elements:
 Title Page;
 Introduction;
 Body (including an Introduction, Body Paragraphs/Argument Section, and Conclusion);
and
 Reference Page
All components of the Research Paper: Types of Reports Assignment must be written using current APA formatting and must specifically focus upon and discuss the topics listed above.
The title page must use proper formatting as set by the APA style guide. The Introduction must be between 150–250 words and provide a clear summary of the paper.
The body of the Research Paper: Types of Reports Assignment must be comprised of 4–6 pages of content. The Title Page and Reference Page are not included in the page count. The introduction must include background information on the topics discussed, a well-written thesis statement, and a preview of points. The body must thoroughly discuss the elements listed, to include the information that might be required to complete those reports, the reasons for completing those reports, the necessity of ensuring accuracy in reporting and the audience that might view these reports.
The Reference Page must include at least 3 scholarly/industry sources published within the last five years. The sources must be cited both in the body of the paper as well as in the Reference Page. Biblical references do not count toward the citation requirement.

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