It is not uncommon for certain criminology classes to require students to fill out mock police reports for a project. While students can create a faux template for one of these police reports, it is also possible to retrieve an actual blank police report for these purposes. Because blank reports aren’t controlled by clearance and authorization rules (like a ticket book), they can often be obtained by asking around at a local police department or searching PD websites.
The Need for Blank Reports
There are a number of reasons why individuals might need to fill out a blank police report. Oftentimes, students are asked by their instructors to obtain or recreate one of these reports in order to complete an assignment on the study of crime or law enforcement. However, these forms are also available to the public for more serious reasons, as they can be filled out and submitted by any citizen wishing to report a crime. Whether or not this is allowed, however, depends on the rules of a particular jurisdiction; some departments do hesitate to make these readily available.
Online Police Reports
Certain websites offer the option to simply download and print an official blank police report. Capterra.com, for example, a site selling an array of law enforcement software, offers templates for police reports that can be easily saved to a home computer and printed out. Additionally, many law enforcement agencies—local police and state trooper departments in particular—often make blank police reports available to the public on their websites. These can be downloaded in a PDF format (so the template itself cannot be changed).
Sample Police Report
The Virginia State Police website is one agency that provides an online version of its police report. This form, officially titled the “criminal referral form,” asks individuals to fill in their personal information and all information related to the crime or misdemeanor they would like to report. These blank reports are generally intended for non-violent crimes, such as fraud or misappropriation of funds. They can be mailed or submitted in person, though individuals should bear in mind that speaking directly with a police officer will likely expedite the process.
Recreation of Report Template
Those who are unable to locate or print out a blank police report can recreate it by drawing up a document with the following categories or headings: case number, incident date, incident time, incident location, reporting party, victim information, suspect details, and any relevant information about vehicles involved. The last part of the report should be a narrative of the event, in which the officer filing the report must fill in the minutia not encompassed by the previous headings. Additionally, descriptive details or hypotheses should also be placed in this section.
In short, locating a blank police report is possible, since it is not a restricted document, though obtaining it may involve inquiring at the local PD. It may even be possible to request a sample police report (i.e. one that has already been filled out and filed) from a local police department; however, these will not be readily available to print online and official guidelines may require that these documents remain on-site during viewing.