It may be unpopular with officers, but the police report is one of law enforcement’s most powerful tools. Quality report writing is a critical skill and consistent feature of day-to-day operations. Everything an officer responds to must be crafted into a factual incident report that captures in detail the who, what, when, where, and how of the event. These accounts are invaluable in court and necessary for a prosecutors’ case, but preparing and typing reports for every incident can be time-consuming and tedious for officers pressed with other responsibilities.
Many departments have turned to digital dictation to allow staff to spend less time behind a computer and more time on the job. With single-speaker dictation transcription provided by Net Transcripts, an officer can speak reports and narratives directly into any recording device, upload the audio file, and receive a transcript of their report before the end of their shift. Net Transcripts’ new iOS mobile application allows reports and narratives to be recorded and uploaded for transcription directly from the user’s iPhone, equipping officers with a mobile tool to create incident reports with more efficiency and convenience.
Dictating reports may also solve problems with report writing that obstruct cases from processing smoothly. The San Francisco Police Department notes that in recent years, poorly written police reports caused the District Attorney’s Office to turn down a high volume of cases for prosecution. In a review of the reports, the department found the officers’ writing often lacked necessary descriptive information, and suffered from poor spelling, grammar, and sentence structure. Digital dictation offers the speaker a way to describe incidents naturally without focusing on written grammar, and may encourage more thorough explanation of events.
Another distinct advantage to dictation is the ability to prepare a report immediately after the incident while the information is still fresh in the officer’s mind. Reports can be dictated from virtually anywhere and completed before the end of a shift, saving valuable time.
To improve report content, law enforcement professionals suggest focusing on clarity and attention to detail when describing incidents. By expanding phrases such as “used physical force” into more detail, officers can better communicate the situation to prosecutors, judges, and jury. Active and retired officers feature articles online with additional advice for report writers, including methods for organization and providing objective information.
Dictating reports is also a valuable solution for investigators and detectives, who can increase leads and follow-up opportunities in the time usually spent typing reports following interviews or other events. Visit Net Transcripts for more information on transcription services for investigative and patrol dictation.