Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:
1. Identify the uses of written communication in the public safety professions.
2. Write reports that conform to accepted professional standards.
3. Extract and organize information from a variety of sources into written and verbal communications for a variety of public safety situations.
4. Complete field notes that include the information needed to complete a crime or incident report.
5. Organize, analyze, and reduce observations and other information to accurate, clear, concise, logically organized reports that are readable and relatively free of mechanical errors.
6. Analyze and write all required elements of a criminal offense based on California statutes and Constitutional protections.
7. Demonstrate the basic techniques of interviewing.
8. Demonstrate the basic techniques of testifying.
I. Written Communication
A. How crime, incident, and arrest reports are used by the criminal justice system
3. Minimize liability
B. What is a report?
1. Definition of a report
2. Importance of a good report
a. Credibility and reputation
C. Other professional written documentations in the criminal justice system
II. Note Taking
A. Characteristics of field notes
1. Recording brief notes in the field
2. Pertinent data identification
3. Subject to subpoena
B. Develop permanent field notes
III. Interviews and Testimony
B. Investigative setting
C. Testimonial evidence
IV. Writing Crime Reports
A. Critical characteristics of a crime report
6. Use of first person and active voice
B. Organization and structure of report narratives
1. Preliminary investigation
2. Analyze facts and information
3. Condense into a factually concise, thorough document
4. Crime elements of California statutes
5. Writing statements, admissions, and confessions
C. Defenses asserted by suspect
1. Miranda advisement issues
2. Exclusionary Rule issues
3. Probable Cause
4. Civil Rights violations
5. Credibility of victims, witnesses, and officers
D. Types of reports
1. Property crimes, including felony and misdemeanor
2. Violent crimes, including felony and misdemeanor
3. Sexual assault crimes
4. Domestic violence crimes
5. Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
6. Juvenile delinquency and dependency incidents
a. Offense report
b. Missing person or runaway
E. Writing style used by law enforcement agencies
1. First person-active
2. Avoiding police jargon
3. Chronological order
F. Basic mechanics
1. Writing resources
V. Minimum Standards for an Arrest Report
A. Elements of a crime
B. Probable cause to arrest
C. Lawful search standards
D. Recovery of evidence
E. Miranda advisement
Report It in Writing (5th). Goodman, Debbie. Prentice Hall, NJ, 2010
Instructor prepared materials