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Objectivity in Police Reports


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Police officers need to know how to incorporate objectivity into their police reports. This PowerPoint covers the do's (stick to observable facts) and don'ts (writing down your thoughts, reasoning, and conclusions).

Published in: Career, Technology, Education

Objectivity in Police Reports

  1. 1. Objectivity in Police Reports by Jean Reynolds, Ph.D.
  2. 2. Objectivity in Police Reports by Jean Reynolds, Ph.D.
  3. 3. Let’s look inside the brain of an experienced police officer.
  4. 4. We can see a lot of mental activity: Reasoning, intuition, problem solving.
  5. 5. A police officer’s knowledge, experience, and thinking skills are powerful weapons against crime.
  6. 6. But they don’t belong in a police report.
  7. 7. Does that surprise you?
  8. 8. Police reports have to be objective. That means recording only what you see, hear, touch, or smell…not what you think.
  9. 9. When you write down what you saw or heard, you’re writing an objective report. (That’s good!)
  10. 10. When you write down your thoughts, you’re writing a subjective report. (That’s bad!)
  11. 11. Why is objectivity so important in police reports? •It showcases your professionalism •It makes you credible in court •No one can argue with objective facts
  12. 12. What does an objective police report look like?
  13. 13. An objective report sticks to factual information.
  14. 14. Here are more examples of objective facts.
  15. 15. Be careful also not to make judgments about a victim’s or suspect’s statements.
  16. 16. “Joe threatened Betty with a baseball bat” is subjective (unless you heard him make the threat).
  17. 17. Maybe you thought Betty was telling the truth about the threat—but that’s an opinion, not a fact.
  18. 18. Betty told me that Joe threatened her with a baseball bat. Here’s how to say it objectively:
  19. 19. One more thing: Don’t be fooled by gimmicks!
  20. 20. Objectivity isn’t about verbal tricks. “I” is just as objective as “this officer.” “Karen Santos” is just as objective as “Victim 1.”
  21. 21. You can learn more about objectivity at
  22. 22. All the resources there are FREE:
  23. 23. And if you’re looking for a low-cost, practical book…
  24. 24. Criminal Justice Report Writing is available from for just $19.95. View a free sample online.
  25. 25. An e-book edition is available from for only $9.99.
  26. 26. A discount price is available for class sets (minimum five books). A free Instructor’s Manual is available for instructors and administrators. Send an e-mail request from your official account to jreynoldswrite at