If you are involved with a traffic accident, domestic dispute, home invasion or other type of crime, you can file a police report. Typically, the process would be initiated by dialing 911 on your phone and speaking with a dispatcher. Local police would be dispatched so that they can interview witnesses, make observations, record data and complete paperwork that describes the incident.
How Can You Get A Police Report?
The federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) allows you to access public records in all 50 states. This means you can access police reports when they are available. Police records are kept at your local police department. To obtain a report, you’ll need to contact your local police agency and ask about the protocol that you need to follow in order to obtain a police report.
The best way to do this is to check the website of the city where the incident occurred. In some cases, you may need to visit the website for the local police department.
Depending on the department, you may be required to complete a form, which is also referred to as a request for public records. When you research the police department’s website, see if they have a downloadable request form that you can use. If they do, you may be able to print it out and complete the form.
Typically, request forms will ask you to provide certain information such as names of involved parties, locations, dates and the time that an incident occurred. In addition, you may also be asked to provide a case number.
Request Form Submittal
Each department has its own methods for submitting a form. You may need to submit the form in person, via email or through the post office. You will also be asked for a valid ID and a small processing fee so that copies can be made.
You may also be asked to fill out a disclaimer that states you will not be using the information for the purpose of solicitation.
Variations When Submitting Requests
There may be a few variations when you submit a request for official police records. This usually occurs with the time that it takes to obtain the official report, fees that are charged and the way that records can be accessed. In some jurisdictions, you may be able to view police records online, but this method is usually a rarity.
In some jurisdictions, crime information has been regionalized and placed into a joint database. This information allows you to search and view arrest warrants, detailed crime maps, crime statistics and a list of offenders who are currently in jail.
Access to these type of databases will vary between jurisdictions.
Jim Treebold is a North Carolina based writer. He lives by the mantra of “Learn 1 new thing each day”! Jim loves to write, read, pedal around on his electric bike and dream of big things. Drop him a line if you like his writing, he loves hearing from his readers!