Report Writing
for
School Safety Officers
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Module Learning Objectives
After completion of this course, you should be able to answer the
following questions
• Why is accurate report writing important?
• What’s the best way to gather facts for a
report?
• What’s the best way to organize a report?
• What are the essential elements of a good
report?
Writing Reports
or
Why do I have to spend so much time
and energy writing stuff which most
of the time doesn’t matter any way ?
Definition of a
School Incident Report:
An orderly written account of the facts of an incident
that have been observed, heard or investigated.
Importance of a Well-Written Report
I.
Multiple readings and uses of the
report.
II. Documentation for your actions,
judgment and decisions.
Who sees and what uses are there
for the reports that SSOs write ?
Multiple Uses of SSO Reports
• Report is used by
many different
groups.
• Report information
is used for many
different purposes.
Law Enforcement
Agency
How a school
incident report
may be used:
• Decisions about
further
investigation or
action.
Judge
How a school
incident report
may be used:
• Conditions for
pre-trial
release
• Setting bail
• Sentencing
Prosecutor
How a SSO
Incident report
may be used:
 Charging
 Priority of case
 Plea agreements
 Ability to
proceed based on
evidence and
report data
Defense Attorney
How a SSO
Incident Report
may be used:
Advice for client
based on strength
of case
Pre-Sentence Investigation
How a SSO
Incident Report
may be used:
 Seriousness of
incident
 Lethality factors
 Substance abuse
treatment
Child/Adult Protective
Services How a SSO
Incident Report
may be used:
Determination if
services or protection
is needed for the
children, elderly or
disabled members in
household
Jury
How a SSO
Incident Report
may be used:
Understanding
of the case and
evidence
Is the defendant
guilty?
Rehabilitation Program
How a SSO
Incident Report
may be used:
• Circumstances of a
possible abusive
incident
• Level of violence,
neglect, and past
violence
• Substance abuse
issues
Court-Ordered Supervision
How a SSO
Incident Report
may be used:
What level of
supervision is
needed?
Victim
How a SSO
Incident Report
may be used:
 Protection orders
 Civil actions
 Child custody
issues
Advocate
How a SSO
Incident may
be used:
• Safety
concerns and
planning
• Follow-up
advocacy
Future
Investigations/Charges/Discipline
How a SSO
Incident Report
may be used:
 Historical
record for future
use;
 Your agency,
other agencies,
background
investigations
Importance of Documentation
I.
Establishes that a incident occurred
and details the specifics of the incident.
II. Communicates all relevant information
for actions taken by SSO, including the
reason for the investigation.
Importance of Documentation
(continued)
III. Serves as a permanent record of
SSO’s observations and actions
regarding a particular incident.
IV. Documents interviews and onscene investigation even if
custodial detentions does not
occur.
The “7” report writing essentials
1. Who ----------------------(person’s full name, DOB,
address, phone #’s, parents’ names, school )
2.
3.
4.
5.
What ---------------------(actions taken / seen / heard)
Where --------------(pinpoint locale of incident & people)
When --------------------(give the date and exact time)
How -------(list chronologically the events of the incident)
6. Why --------------------(if known / reasons / motives)
7. Action taken -----(what you did or what are you
recommending in response to the incident)
WRITING STYLES
 Manuscript: e.g., it was a dark and stormy night
 Chronological, e.g., begin at the beginning
 Introduction
 Body
 Conclusion
 “ Bullet Pointing”
Characteristics of
Well-Written SSO Reports
I.
Factual
II. Accurate
III. Objective
IV. Complete, yet concise and clear
Characteristics of
Well-Written Police Reports cont.
V.
Includes available supplemental
documents/forms
VI. Includes school behavioral history of
violence or other school rules
infractions of the offender
VII. Protects confidentiality of victim’s
address when necessary
Report Characteristics:
Factual
I.
Includes exact statements;
II. Contains excited utterances in
quotes;
III. Demonstrates emotions by
describing the demeanor of those
present;
Report Characteristics:
Factual cont.
IV. Contains facts and items that can
be verified through one of your
five senses: sight, hearing, touch,
taste, and smell
V.
Write everything that is seen and
heard
Report Characteristics:
Accurate
I.
Time of dispatch, response, incident recorded
as precisely as possible
II.
Document other important points of time
during the incident
III.
Correct names, dates of birth, addresses, and
identification of all present including
children and witnesses
Report Characteristics:
Accurate cont.
IV. Measurements included are accurate, serial #
of weapons noted, detailed description of
weapons included, scene accurately described
V.
Injuries are carefully noted, described and
documented
VI. Include names and titles of others responding
to the scene, i.e., emergency medical
personnel, volunteer fire department,
Principal , etc.
Report Characteristics:
Objective
I.
II.
III.
IV.
Contains descriptive language, not opinions
DON’T write: She had a scratch on her
face.
DO write: She had a four inch horizontal
scratch across her left cheek from ear to
upper lip.
Contains all accounts of the incident, even if
they conflict.
Report Characteristics:
Complete
Contains who, when, what, where
and how in detail;
II. Explains why, if applicable, in an
objective manner;
III. Uses direct language; and
IV. Advises of arrest, request for
warrant, what to next.
I.
All area’s of your report should meet
the criteria of the “4” C’s:
1. Completeness
2. Conciseness
3. Clearness
(Full names & #’s for all involved)
(Leave in the important details, leave out
the unnecessary ones! Experience will
teach you this how to do this)
(Use simple words & sentences. Use
proper grammar, vocabulary &
spelling)
4. Correctness
(Your entire report is accurate & factual)
Keep facts separate from
opinions!!
• Facts: Statements that can be verified.
• Opinion: One persons point of view.
Taking notes:
• Is the 1st step in writing a report.
• Allows you the opportunity to gather the information
when it is fresh.
• Allows you to get complete information on all
persons involved.
• You don’t have to rely on your memory for important
/ critical information.
Preparing to write:
• With all of the information you have gathered you
are ready to organize.
- Before writing, take time to think what
you want to write.
- Asses your readers needs and try to
answer them all.
- Outline your report using the “7”
essentials.
Always review your report after
you have completed it!
Do you have all the necessary
information?
•
•
•
•
•
Date
Time
Place
Participants
Witnesses
Keep in Mind
• Write the report in such a way so
that someone who wasn’t at the
scene could read the report and
feel as if they had actually
responded.
Everything that you write, like everything you
say and how you conduct yourself on the job
makes a statement about you!
The words that you chose, the way
that you put them into sentences and
the tone that you use also reflect on
you!
Reality Check
What are the two most
important lessons you have
learned from this component?
NEXT LEARNING MODULE
SSO Role in Dealing With Special EducationKids
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