In the criminal justice system, a law enforcement officer is tasked with maintaining law and order as described in the Constitution. Upon breaking the law, police officers must apprehend the suspect before taking him to the federal justice system for charging per the law interpretation. During the arrest period, the suspects are booked, and the officers involved in filing reports or records that can be utilized during prosecution to ensure justice is given. In this regard, a law enforcement officer’s ability to document reports as events unfold is vital in enabling rightful prosecution from the criminal system by alluding to the facts outlined in the reports. The report writing skills relating to a particular incident are crucial because they indicate competence when prosecuting an offender. According to Pham (2020), detailed law enforcement reports help guide the administration, cross-examination, investigation, and any arrest. The documents showcase efficiency in report writing, where incidents are based on facts. The criminal justice system requires the reports to align with fairness, neutrality, integrity, and honesty to foster legal scrutiny and protection during prosecution. The reports are also used as a reference point for initial crimes, especially during preliminary hearings. They offer important statistical data on equipment needs, staffing, crime trends, and hotspots to law agencies. The paper will focus on reasons and information required to complete domestic violence crimes, felony crimes, misdemeanor crimes, and traffic crashes.
Traffic incidents are common, with law enforcers being the first-line respondents. The police are tasked with identifying the offenders, giving required aid, and enhancing public safety in case of traffic crash accidents and incidents. Therefore, law enforcement officers must complete a traffic crash report whose incident documentation portrays reliability and decisiveness when charging the involved party. The police are a public service sector meaning whatever they do is always under scrutiny. Traffic crash reports showcase the need to uphold accuracy and transparency. They help law enforcement agencies to cultivate confidence and build trust at the local, regional, national, and international levels. The virtues to be upheld by the police align with the scripture, where the New International Version in Titus 2:7-8 points out the need to maintain the truthfulness, sincerity, honesty, sound speech, gravity, incorruptness, and words that cannot be condemned. While practicing these virtues and values, police officers must act promptly once a traffic incident is reported and jot a report to help in the investigative phase.
The traffic crash report demands that the law enforcer steer initial individual investigations that led to the traffic collision. The initial inquiry is pivotal in gathering important facts. For example, some facts during a traffic crash may include the driver’s speed, facilities and infrastructure, the vehicle’s visible damage, the aftermath as revealed in photographic evidence, drivers and survivor’s account of the accident, and the observation made by independent witnesses (Vredeveldt et al., 2018). Such information is a vital tool highlighting the accident’s factors and causes crucial in aiding investigators to reconstruct a better report once the investigative process is completed. The traffic crash reports are based on tangible, visible, and observable facts instead of individual opinions, theories, thoughts, and perceptions regarding the accident’s cause. Thus, a law enforcer in the traffic crash incident documents what witnesses and parties involved said while including photographs to avoid bias. After hearing from the parties and witnesses, the law enforcer must include a detailed transcript suggesting whether a crime was committed and the action taken. In this essence, traffic crash reports are vital tools for protecting the affected from negligence while ensuring fair compensation. Besides, the traffic crash reports help charge and prosecute the offenders because of reckless driving. Upon completion of the traffic crash report, the police officers submit it for approval from a police chief before entering it into a precinct database.
Baynard (2021) asserts that misdemeanor crime reports include low-level criminalities such as trespassing, public nudity, disorderly conduct, and larceny, where offenders are taken to a federal penitentiary to serve a maximum one-year sentence. The jury may decide to lower the sentence depending on the given account. When documenting a misdemeanor offense report, the law enforcer must consider the crime level committed because they differ with legal precedents and jurisdictions. The misdemeanor reports allow important data to be sourced, vital in predicting future criminalities and tracking possible offenders. According to Lowder et al. (2019), misdemeanor cases are classified into three classes or levels, with the offenders being sentenced for one year, 180 days, and 90 days for levels 1, 2, and 3, respectively. During the misdemeanor crime documentation, key elements include levying of possible additional penalties, maximum convicted period, and the committed crime. Besides, the misdemeanor crime report should include the offenders and offended names while making the report brief, ordinary, accurate, concise, and full of facts.
When one commits a felony, the offense, including death, is considered serious and punishable by law. The offense seriousness meets with harsher fines, penalties, and sentences. In the United States, an offender convicted of a felony is given a minimum of a one-year sentence in a federal penitentiary (Slocum et al., 2019). In many cases, felony crimes taint the offender’s image for life when labeled a criminal, making it hard to obtain government jobs because of past offenses. Therefore, when filing a felony crime report, the law enforcer must consider crime grouping, classified into two groups: crimes against people and people. Some crimes against individuals include drug possession, kidnapping, manslaughter, criminal battery, rape, and assault. Crimes against property encompass fraud, vandalism, arson, and theft. Felony crimes have various degrees and charges specified in each state and jurisdiction. The police should be guided and aware of the felony level and the protocols required when filing felony documents. Felony crime reports must be written from the beginning of the incident, corroborated by side notes, and portray the incident’s reflection. For instance, the narrative part can show how events occurred in a timely and chronological order while indicating other related scenarios. The felony crime report should entail the law enforcement officers present, the time, date, street address, and other particular details. The felony report must illustrate the incident’s nature, correspondence contents, and when the authorities were alerted before swinging into action. The document must accommodate reported facts and portray objectivity.
Domestic violence (DV) crimes
Domestic violence occurs in cohabitation, marriage, or domestic setting where abuse and violence are directed toward a spouse or intimate partner. However, it may broadly accommodate the elderly, parents, and children. It manifests itself through sexual, reproductive, religious, economic, emotional, verbal, and physical forms through violent, aggressive, coercive, and subtle means. Some key aspects of domestic violence include stalking, intimidation, domineering, sexual abuse, beating, slapping, restraining, biting, and other physical assaults. The domestic violence emergent nature makes it to be given the relevant priority calls and dispatches. Upon arrival, the law enforcer writes a domestic violence crime report detailing the victim’s physical and emotional fate. Domestic violence reports are significant in aiding prosecutors to give the right judgment based on the victim’s account and tangible evidence. A complete DV crime report must be accurate and detailed with the duty to end the domestic abuse cycle. When well written, the prosecutors can aid the offended in seeking justice and prevent future reprisals of a similar incident. The DV report must accommodate appropriate legal procedures and policies, such as whether an offense was determined to occur and entailing the incident’s detailed narration. Besides, the law enforcer should document if the dominant aggressor was identified and arrested. A major boost for the DV report is the interview transcript which gives a primary account of what happened, especially from the victim of abuse. Also, it is vital to include the offender’s details, like intoxication and substance abuse. The DV report should indicate the presence of deadly weapons, guns, and other firearms and if they were confiscated per law. The report should highlight if an Emergency Protective Order (EPO) were provided after noting the minors residing in the household and including their date of birth and names.
From the preceding, law enforcers must participate in report writing to ensure justice is served where needed. Report writing involves detailed documentation and account of what transpired to determine appropriate legal action is taken and recommendations. Law enforcers are tasked with detailing felony, domestic violence, misdemeanor, and traffic crash reports which must be accurate, concise, detailed, and full of facts. Objectivity allows prosecutors and the jury to determine the type of crime committed and the extent to which an offender serves a sentence per jurisdiction laws. In the long run, positive outcomes are achieved in the criminal justice system with specific, accurate, clear, and comprehensive reports.
Baynard, M. (2021). Overcriminalization of Low-Level Offenses: Perpetuating Poverty and Racial Disparities in the Misdemeanor Criminal Justice System. https://dukespace.lib.duke.edu/dspace/bitstream/handle/10161/22840/Overcriminalization%20of%20Low-Level%20Offenses.pdf?sequence=1
Lowder, E. M., Morrison, M. M., Kroner, D. G., & Desmarais, S. L. (2019). Racial bias and LSI-R assessments in probation sentencing and outcomes. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 46(2), 210–233.
Pham, D. (2020). The Need for Report Writing Training for Law Enforcement Professionals. https://shsu-ir.tdl.org/bitstream/handle/20.500.11875/3090/1924.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y
Slocum, L. A., Greene, C., Huebner, B. M., & Rosenfeld, R. (2019). Changes in the enforcement of low-level and felony offenses post-Ferguson: An analysis of arrests in St. Louis, Missouri. Criminology, Crim. Just. L & Soc’y, 20, 25. https://ccjls.scholasticahq.com/article/9907.pdf
Vredeveldt, A., Kesteloo, L., & Van Koppen, P. J. (2018). Writing alone or together: Police officers’ collaborative reports of an incident. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 45(7), 1071-1092. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0093854818771721