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The Role of a Police Officer in The Criminal Justice System

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When it comes to words it may not be the hottest topic, however it is a very important topic due to all the different levels, aspects and factors that must be considered when using them. Nowadays, with technology on the rise and more components becoming more computer-savvy, people are finding themselves more dependent on technology instead of their brains. The point that is to be conveyed is that words play a vital role in everything , it is how things are communicated , learned, as well as comprehend. Without words, we would not be able to communicate with one another as well as we do now. That said, there are certain fields where the diction is used, needed, and comprehended more than others and one of those fields is in the Criminal Justice System, especially when it comes to police officers.

In the Criminal Justice System, police officers go through so much, risking their lives and being able to come home after their shift is a blessing. However, officers are not always driving around in cars and walking the streets like they are seen doing most of the time, they also have work to do back at their station and the work they must do is something that they struggle with even to this day. The one thing officers struggle with more is sitting at a desk, writing and filing police reports. According to Ellen Collet’s, The Art of the Police Report, “Most precincts have specially designated writing rooms where the average cop hates spending time- worse than on shoot-outs, stakeouts, and court appearances put together”. Every time a police officer has an encounter with a person, a police report must be filed. It does not matter if it was a simple case, like a speeding ticket, or a more intense case, like a murder or hit and run, a police report must be filed. One of the major reasons as to why a cop might dislike filing reports is due to the fact that “strict rules govern report writing” and if they mess up with anything else, when it comes to a report, they have to be sharp and precise with it. Before getting into the aspects of police reports one must understand how to write them and all the factors that go into writing a solid police report.

One of the key components to becoming a cop is training, and they are not only trained for situations in the outside world, but police must also be trained in classroom skills. Collet states that “the most despised class at the police academy is the one that teaches writing”. Even if an officer meets all the requirements for becoming a police officer, if you do not know how to write and pass the training then they will not become a cop. “Writing is the one constant in a cop’s daily life” which means that if nothing is done that day, there will surely be something to write about, whether that is catching up on reports, finalizing other reports or continuing other ones, writing is a daily routine for a police officer. Everyone cannot write police reports, as they require special training “that your department will train you to do it properly” however one of the components that need to be taken into consideration when writing police reports is technical writing and diction. Paul L. Pluta’s “PQ Forum #10: Technical Writing for Validation” and “What in the World! The Scope for the Effect for the Effect of Word Choice on Economic Behavior” by Katherine Farrow explains the importance of technical writing and word choice and these explanations are very important when it comes to police reports.

“Technical Writing for Validation” by Paul L. Pluta explains that a “structured validation document series minimizes redundancy and repetition” and when it comes to executing police reports that is ultimately all they want. Depending on the level of the crime and who it goes to for further examination, when reading they want to be told what happened from the beginning, when the call was received about the situation to the end. Pluta states that “Validation documents must be excellent documents for the personal credibility of the author, the reputation of the organization, and the success of the site validation function”, that “translated” to the criminal justice system; these documents that one writes must be adequately written as they determine the outcome of the victims, and need to be written so that they not only tell the story but are clear about the encounter. Pluta states that there are three simple rules that are needed to be done in order to perfectly execute a validation document, while using technical writing skills and two out of the three are very important when it comes to writing police reports. The first rule Pluta states is that you must be “Clear, complete, concise, and consistent”. 

When it comes to police reports, the judge reading the report does not want to be left questioning aspects of writing one’s or be confused by any means as to what has been written in the report. With that said, Pluta argues that “the respective content of validation documents must be direct and clearly related to the objective of the document”, meaning that when explaining what happened in the report, cutting straight to the chase with detail makes the judges job easier to further assess the information. The second thing that Pluta states that needs to be done in order to have a perfect validation document as well as police report is “Short sentences and simple words”. 

When it comes to reading any document, readers want the writer to conduct simple and concise information, “correctly written following conventional rules of language, grammar, and punctuation”. They want the words that they are reading to be in the right place with proper spelling and leaving with all the knowledge as if they were there. “The reader will not be impressed with complex words if the content is not understandable”, readers do not want to have to question or look up certain words that were written in the document when simpler words could have been used to prove points. With that said, it is always good to know and understand the audience analyzing the report and if that means looking up who all will be reading the document to figure out what words they should understand based on their level of education then so be it.

Katherine Farrow’s “What in the Word! The Scope for the Effect of Word Choice on Economic Behavior” explains how important words are and if we are not careful with them; one could get themselves into some unwanted trouble. Farrow states that “the repercussions of word choice can be significant” and it can either make you or break you. Words have so much power and meaning behind them that if the wrong word is used in a sentence it can change the whole meaning. “Words gave a unique ability to influence judgement and behavior” and when it comes to writing reports that end up holding information that is going to affect other people’s lives, in order to make things much easier on oneself and whatever happens in the future, using the exact words that are meant can indicate how well things will go. Another topic that Farrow brings up is how to not put too much feeling/emotion when writing these documents, although some topics might be harder to hide your emotions than others, the reader of the document just needs to know what happened. Which means that a good idea when done writing the report is to reread it just in case adjustments to certain words need to be made.

In conclusion, police reports hold a lot of importance when it comes to the Criminal Justice system and is why they must be written to the best of its ability, every single time. According to Teo Spengler and his “What Is the Purpose of a Police Report?” further explains how critical these documents are. “Police reports serve as the starting point of a law enforcement investigation, but they also provide crime victims with a legal document to use as evidence for court hearings and insurance claims.” With that said, that explains why people stress over them, because the information written holds decisions that will be made that could possibly affect the victim’s life. So much weight rides on police reports, and when time is taken to be clear, precise and straightforward about the information, it makes the deciding factor of the jury easier. Police reports may not mean a lot to everyone but to one person it can hold their fate. A page full of words holds so much power, and they might not be the hottest topic to talk about, but they are so powerful. 

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The Role of a Police Officer in the Criminal Justice System. (2022, August 30). GradesFixer. Retrieved September 30, 2022, from
“The Role of a Police Officer in the Criminal Justice System.” GradesFixer, 30 Aug. 2022,
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