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is it true that police officers are required to write a long report after using having to use their gun? Or any of their weapons/tools

i am 16, I want to hopefully be a police officer myself someday, and I don't know many people to give me advice on how to be a good one. And how to actually even get pass the academy. #law-enforcement #police-officer #police #criminal-justice

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Michelle’s Answer

Police officers write reports on every call they handle. However, those reports are usually not very long. The reports they write are basically the meat and bones of the type of call they go to. Type of offense, who reported it, who is the victim, where the offense occurred. And always the date and time the officer got the call, what time they got there to the scene, what time they finished, and any vital information, name, dates of birth and addresses of the reporter and victim. So this type of information is a good couple of paragraphs long.

However, if they use any type of force - be it physical, a weapon, or some other tool needed to do whatever it is they are doing, then they must write that in their report. This can then make the report much longer. But if they use a weapon at a call out, actually fire it, they will have to be questioned by a Detective, their legal advisor and their supervisor. This will not be a typical type of report they write, it will be a witness statement. So that can be much longer than their typical reports.

I hope this helps you understand the process. Using a weapon at a scene happens rarely, however, if you are a police officer in a very large city - then it might be more frequently. But as a police officer, your training is to do whatever you can to help others and not use your weapon. The weapon is the last resort.

Best of luck to you.
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Kenneth’s Answer

I can confirm with my collogues. I work on the federal side of Law Enforcement. Any encounter we have with a person is documented. Sometimes it is just in the form of an information desk journal. These are great when we have small calls that just with a short conversation with an individual. The more complex the call, the more information is needed if the case goes to court and that prompts an Incident Report. If at any point we have to physically interact with a person to "force" them to do something or to stop doing something, such as getting out of a vehicle or dropping a knife, we have to do a Use of Force Report detailing what actions we took and why we felt that had to be taken. This information is vital for the courts and helps us officers keep from getting sued in civil court. We, as officers, are accountable for every action we take. If we make a bad call and use force when we should not have then the courts will not protect us, and we can be sued or even criminally tried for use of excessive force. Good judgement and decision making are vital to our job. Having empathy and being able to talk to people can also help deescalate a situation so force is not needed at all.
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Jared’s Answer

Hey there Jeremiah. Thank you for your interest in becoming a police officer. It is a thankless job these days, and there are always bad apples in the profession that make it less attractive. Nevertheless it is a vital role in keeping our communities safe, so long as you focus on caring for others and stick to your training. I was a police officer for 4 or 5 years while serving in the Army National Guard for 11 years. Since then, I earned by MBA and pursued a different career to chase other interests and goals.

The short answer to your question is: Yes.

Police officers write reports for nearly every call they go out on, unless they determine there was no action needed and there is nothing noteworthy. With that said, the length and complexity of the reports vary greatly depending upon the type of call they respond to. With respect to your question, a police officer will absolutely write a report every time they use "force". This can be anything from arresting someone, to using pepper spray, to firing a duty weapon, and everything in-between. It is important for the safety of the public and the officer that the report is as detailed as possible, because these cases often arise after a year or more (I had one that popped up two years later) and it is hard to remember the details without a report to reference back to.

To your first statement...if you want to be a good officer, care for people. It is MUCH harder than you think. In this profession, you see the worst day of someone's life every day you are on the job. You see some of the worst of humanity and are treated awfully by many. It can make even strong people jaded. It takes the strongest of our society to push through all of that experience and emotion in order to put a priority on loving and caring for others. That means, look beyond the crime and that immediate circumstance in order to find the best resolution for each call you go out on. Treat everyone with respect regardless of their background, ethnicity, religion, race, or sexual preferences. Make it a mission every day to go out there and make the world better instead of just doing a job. Finally, know that there will always be people that will shun you for doing the right thing but you need to do it anyway. There is a nothing wrong with a police officer that is just doing a job, but it takes more than that to be great.
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much! Not only does this answer my question. But this also makes me more confident and has major advise thank you so much for this response I truly appreciate it!! Jeremiah F.
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