Xã hội học - Field notes and investigating reporting

There are numerous aids that investigators can use to gather information from witnesses. The suspect description form is one such aid. Another valuable aid for investigators is the handgun identification chart such as the one shown. This is a useful tool for witnesses who are unfamiliar with guns.

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FIVEField Notes and Investigating ReportingLEARNING OBJECTIVESUnderstand the importance of field notesDistinguish between basic and primary investigative questionsList the six primary investigative questionsUnderstand formats for basic incident reportsDiscuss aids to information gatheringSummarize the report approval and disposition processesList elements common to incident reportsExplain techniques involved in writing effective reports5-1THE IMPORTANCE OF FIELD NOTESField notes are more reliable than an officer's memoryField notes are the primary information source for the incident reportField notes completed in detail may reduce the need to re-contact the parties involvedField notes can be used to defend the integrity of the incident report5-2BASIC INVESTIGATIVE QUESTIONSAsked by the first-responding officerUsed to fill in the blank spaces on the face of an incident reportTypically includes items such as:Identity of victims and witnessesHow to recontact victims and witnessesSpecific information about the crimeDescriptions of the suspect5-3PRIMARY INVESTIGATIVE QUESTIONSPrimary questions meet most investigative information needsThere are six recognized categories of primary questions: What When Where Who How Why5-4INCIDENT REPORTWhile the exact layout for incident reports typically varies from one jurisdiction to another, they all have a “face” with blanks into which the officer conducting the preliminary investigation enters basic case information.Suspects: Additional information about suspects.Witnesses: Information from witnesses, including their descriptions of events and things as they experienced them through their four senses.Evidence: The evidence seized, how it was marked, the chain of custody, and numbers assigned by the property or evidence control room is recorded.Interviews: All persons with whom the investigator talked during the course of the inquire should be identified, even if they could not provide information at the initial contact.Investigation: A short description of the crime scene may be given to permit a basic conceptualization of it by persons to whom it is unfamiliar.Reconstruction: The reconstruction is a narration of the probably manner in which the crime was committed. 5-5INCIDENT REPORT (cont’d)5-5(Source: Courtesy Athens-Clarke County, Georgia, Police Department)NIBRS The National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS), is administered by the FBIIts format allows for much more data about an offense to be gatheredData gathered allows police to look for relationships between:Victims and offenders drugs/alcohol and crime5-6NIBRS INCIDENT REPORTThe NIBRS incident report collects a significant amount of information for later analysis by investigators5-7(Source: Courtesy Sterling Heights, Michigan, Police Department)SUSPECT DESCRIPTION FORMThere are numerous aids that investigators can use to gather information from witnesses. The suspect description form is one such aid.5-8(Source: Courtesy Philadelphia, Police Department)ASSORTED HANDGUNSAnother valuable aid for investigators is the handgun identification chart such as the one shown. This is a useful tool for witnesses who are unfamiliar with guns.5-99-mm Smith & Wesson Semiautomatic.22 RG-10 Revolver.357 Herter’s Derringer.357 Colt Python Revolver.25 Colt Semiautomatic.45 U.S. Semiautomatic.22 Ruger Revolver.38 Smith & Wesson Chief’s Special Revolver(Source: A Visual Aid for Firearms Identification, Federal Bureau of Investigation.)REPORT APPROVAL AND DISPOSITION PROCESSPolice reports are subject to supervisory review for corrections and guidance before their final dispositionWell written reports are very helpful to investigators who may be conducting follow-up investigations at a later date5-10Officer sends/gives Incident Report to supervisorSupervisor reviews reportRequests corrections and/or additional informationCorrections made and/or additional information providedApproves/Signs reportMakes dispositionRetained for further uniformed officer investigationUnfoundedInactivatedReferred for plainclothes investigationTHE REPORT DISPOSITION PROCESSSupervisory options for report disposition following approval include:The case may be retained for further investigation by uniformed officersIt may be unfounded (i.e., the complaint is false)The case may be inactivated due to the lack of leadsIt may be referred to plainclothes investigators5-11COMMON ELEMENTS OF INCIDENT REPORTSRace, Ethnicity and Sex AgePhysical and Email Addresses Telephone/Pager/Wireless Numbers Personal DescriptionsProperty DescriptionOccupationValueDateTime5-12WRITING EFFECTIVE REPORTS If incident reports are going to serve the many uses to which they can be put, they must meet certain standards.Fill in all of the blanks on the incident reportWrite the report in the first personAvoid unnecessary technical or legalistic jargonWrite short sentencesUse shorter paragraphs for the same reason.Support any conclusions you express with detailsDon’t repeat facts more than onceCheck your spellingEdit what you write5-13(a)SUPPLEMENTAL REPORTSSupplemental reports are written to: Document new or corrected information Document specific acts or accomplishments, such as the issuance of a warrant, arrest of a suspect, or the recovery of property Unfound an offense Exceptionally clear an offense Inactivate a caseShould be written every 10 days5-14

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