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Criminal Justice 6: Objectivity

Why objectivity is so important to criminal justice reports; how to write an objective report

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Criminal Justice 6: Objectivity

  1. 1. CRIMINAL JUSTICE REPORT WRITING THE HOW AND WHY Part 6 Objectivity in Police Reports
  2. 2. CRIMINAL JUSTICE REPORT WRITING THE HOW AND WHY Part 6 Objectivity in Police Reports
  3. 3. Objective vs. Subjective  subjective refers to your opinion  objective refers to impartial facts Subjectivity (opinions, conclusions) is not appropriate in a criminal justice report
  4. 4. What makes a report objective?  It includes factual information only  It records what you saw or heard, and nothing else  It excludes your thoughts, opinions, hunches, guesses, and suspicions
  5. 5. Why is objectivity important?  It demonstrates your professionalism  It increases your credibility in a court hearing  It facilitates investigations and prosecutions  It eliminates the need to defend your thinking processes
  6. 6. What does objectivity look like? subjective objective sloppy faded shirt, torn sleeve, brown stains defiant stared straight ahead, didn’t answer questions afraid lips trembled, hands shook drunk failed two sobriety tests reckless 45 mph in a 20 mph zone, drove through a stop sign crazy zigzagged along the sidewalk, talked to herself
  7. 7. Avoid subjective statements. Instead, quote exactly what suspects and witnesses say:  not threatened but “I’ll kill her if she comes back here”  not confused but “I don’t know why he did that to me”  not disrespectful but “You ain’t my father, and I ain’t listening to you”
  8. 8. Avoid conclusions. Record only what you saw and heard:  not suspicious but “walked rapidly and looked behind him six times in less than a minute”  not dangerous but “clenched his fists and shouted”  not filthy but “roaches, urine, and dishes with moldy food”
  9. 9. Subjectivity comes from your commitment to integrity, not verbal gimmicks:  I is just as objective as this officer  Lucia Caruso is just as objective as Victim 1  Sam Wiley is just as objective as the abovenamed suspect
  10. 10. To Learn More: Criminal Justice Report Writing is available in softcover ($17.95) from and in a variety of ebook and Apple formats (Kindle, Nook, SONY etc.) for $11.99 from Read a free sample online!
  11. 11. Find FREE report writing resources online at