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Community Safety
Education news and issues in the Ozarks.

Reading Between the Lines of the Police Report

Student talking to police officer

After the sirens are turned off and the emergencies are diffused, the police officer’s work is not done. Reporting the event in detail is next, but what should it include?

Dr. Leslie Seawright, assistant professor of English at Missouri State University., is interested in the creation of police reports.

Seawright’s husband was a police officer while she was pursuing her degree and she found the report writing process fascinating. 

This line of research has also forced her to take a critical eye to the creation: Are these carefully crafted documents a true representation of the facts? Or is there something hidden? 

Looking at the research, Seawright notes the need for a change. She says the system has demanded more from police officers – getting these reports done quickly and sometimes in a car while on patrol. As long as officers continue to fear every word and action will be scrutinized, reports will continue to be flawed. 

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