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10 Days to Better Police Reports

10 Days to Better Police Reports

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Here are 10 easy and efficient steps to better police reports. And there's a bonus: The principles here are equally useful as you move up the career ladder in law enforcement.
Here are 10 easy and efficient steps to better police reports. And there's a bonus: The principles here are equally useful as you move up the career ladder in law enforcement.

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Published by: Jean Rafenski Reynolds on Dec 27, 2013
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02/07/2015

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10 Days to Better Police Reports
Here’s a 10-day program for sharpening your police reports. These suggestions will help you avoid errors, write more efficiently, and produce professional reports. Each suggestion takes only a few minutes to master. Day 1 se names !John Clancy, Mabel Owen" and pronouns !I, he, her". #void outdated e$pressions like this officer and the abovementioned witness or victim 1. %n the past some officers were taught that impersonal terminology guaranteed o&'ectivity and accuracy. (ot true) *ou have the same integrity whether you+re calling yourself I or this officer. #nd think a&out this, if you had to appear in court, you would use everyday language !I, me, he, her" in your testimony. -ollow the same practice in your reports. Day 2 .imit yourself to one idea per sentence. /esist the temptation to write long, tangled sentences. 0hort, straightforward sentences are easy to read and understand, saving time for everyone. !*ou+ll especially appreciate this timesaving tip when you+re reviewing a report for a court hearing." #nd think a&out this, 1hen you write long, complicated sentences, you’re more likely to make an error. Day 3 .imit yourself to three commas per sentence. %f a sentence has more than three commas, it+s pro&a&ly too complicated, and it may contain usage or punctuation errors.

www.YourPoliceWrite.com

2 Day 4 Enlist a friend. %t’s easy to miss simple errors !a fu22y sentence, an awkward or omitted word" when you read something you’ve written. 3ost professional writers ask friends to check over their work, and you can &enefit &y following their e$ample. # degree in English isn’t necessary4anyone with common sense and a few spare minutes can help you out. Day 5 0tart most sentences with a person, place, or thing. (ormal sentences &egin with a noun, and the grammar is simple, 5ust put a period at the end. 6omplicated sentences, on the other hand, re7uire complicated punctuation, and they open the door to sentence errors. Day 6 se apostrophes only in 8of9 e$pressions and contractions. #postrophes signify 8of9 ideas !Mary’s books, Louis’ uniform". They’re also used in contractions !didn’t, couldn’t". They don’t mean 8more than one9, The Johnsons are acti e in community affairs! Day " :uy yourself a pocket-si2ed note&ook. Even e$pert writers have &lind spots and 8oops)9 issues. 0ome people struggle with dou&le letters in words like occasion and commitment. ;thers get confused &y look-alike words !aide<aid, cite<site". =o to the >ollar 0tore and purchase a small note&ook that you can carry with you. 5ot down reminders a&out the words that trip you up4and refer to the note&ook whenever you’re stuck. Day # -ind a resource. :etter yet, find several of them. Here are some suggestions, www.>ictionary.com !or &uy an up-to-date paper&ack dictionary and keep it in a handy place". *ou can get help with English usage at www.*our?olice1rite.com and www.1ritewith5ean.com. www.YourPoliceWrite.com

3 Here’s another tip, @eep the li&rary’s phone num&er handy. 1hen you’re working on an important document that has to &e right, a reference li&rarian can help you untangle a word or e$pression that’s confusing you. #nd remem&er that you can type 7uestions into the search &o$ at www.=oogle.com any time of the day or night4it’s a wonderful resource. Day $ :e careful with ordinary words. 1hich words are most likely to trip you upA -or most people, it’s the everyday words like it’s<its, your<you’re, there<their<they’re, lose<looseBand you can pro&a&ly think of others. 1hen in dou&t, check a dictionary or go to www.>ictionary.com. Day 1% ?ay attention to e$tra ideas and sentences. English teachers love to make grammar sound complicated with terminology like adverbial clauses, prepositional phrases, and antecedents. :ut English usage doesn’t have to &e complicated. Think a&out this, Everything you say or write is either an e&tra idea !ending in a comma" or a sentence !ending in a period". nderstanding that one concept can save you from many errors. This is a sentence, 3y car wouldn’t start. This is an extra idea, #lthough it’s only two years old, 0tudy these e$amples, 3y car wouldn’t start. %t needed a new &attery. 6;//E6T #lthough it’s only two years old, my car wouldn’t start. 6;//E6T 'inally #nd that’s it) -ocus on one step each day, and you’ll see rapid progress in your writing. #nd here’s a reminder to help keep you motivated, 1riting skills are vital to success in almost every field4including criminal 'ustice. :est wishes for success in your law enforcement career)

www.YourPoliceWrite.com

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