Report Writing for Law Enforcement Officers

Report Writing for Law Enforcement Officers 

As a law enforcement officer, you spend a significant amount of time writing reports. While report writing isn’t one of the most exciting tasks you will perform, it is an important one. Your reports will become part of a permanent record, be read and possibly scrutinized by people inside and outside your department, and can become evidence in criminal and civil legal proceedings. Therefore, it is important to write reports that are clear, concise, accurate, and professional. Writing reports can seem frustrating and time consuming when you struggle with writing or are given reports back from a supervisor to rewrite because it doesn’t contain or communicate the essential details effectively. In this course, you will learn why a well-written report is important, strategies for structuring a report, guidelines for improving your report writing skills, and how to evaluate a report according to the “5 Cs.” You will have opportunities to assess and apply your understanding of concepts through interactive exercises.


Hours: 1.25


Certificates provided by accrediting body (5 Match)

Minnesota Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training


Relias Learning is a continuing education sponsor as approved by the Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training. This course Report Writing for Law Enforcement Officers, 10397-0095 has been approved by the POST Board for continuing education credit. Peace officers who successfully complete this course will receive 1.00 hours of continuing education.

The sponsor of this course has a written policy for the investigation and resolution of allegations of classroom discrimination. This policy applies to all faculty, instructors, administrative staff, and students. A copy of the policy may be obtained from the sponsor by contacting Relias Support by phone at 1-800-381-2321.

Pennsylvania Municipal Police Officers’ Education & Training Commission

1.25 HOURS

This activity is approved for 1.25 contact hours.

South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy

1.25 HOURS

This course has been approved by the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy for 1.25 hours. CJA Lesson Plan #6114

Indiana Law Enforcement Academy

1.25 HOURS

This activity is approved for 1.25 contact hours.

Oklahoma Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training

1.25 HOURS

This class has been accredited by the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training for 1.25 hours of mandatory continuing education credit. Regarding any law enforcement concepts, practices, methods, techniques, products, or devices as might be taught, promoted, or otherwise espoused in outside schools or seminars, there is no intent, expressed or implied, that ‘accreditation’ indicates or in any way conveys ‘CLEET approval’ of such concepts, practices, methods, techniques, products, or devices, unless such approval is explicitly stated by CLEET.

Course Details

Course Code: REL-PS-0-RWLEOS
Hours: 1.25
Type: Online Course
Content Expiration Date: 9/30/2023
Learning Objectives:
Cite 5 reasons why report writing is an important skill for law enforcement officers.
Discuss 8 strategies for structuring a report.
Describe 13 strategies for improving the quality of written reports.
Identify common errors in reports based on what you've learned.

Section 1: Introduction A. About This Course B. Learning Objectives Section 2: The Importance of Good Writing A. Types of Reports B. I Didn’t Sign Up For This C. Why Report Writing Skills Are Important D. Review E. Summary Section 3: Structuring Your Report A. Determine Purpose of the Report B. Know Your Audience C. Understand How the Report May be Used D. Brainstorm Information Needed E. Determine Source(s) of Information F. Refer to Your Field Notes G. Organize the Information H. Create an Outline I. Review J. Summary Section 4: Guidelines for Improving Your Reports A. Writing Rules Refresher B. Use the Active Voice C. Don’t Use Expletive Constructions D. Avoid Qualifiers E. Avoid Redundancy F. Use Strong, Precise Verbs G. Avoid Using Jargon H. Avoid using Acronyms I. Use Correct Spelling and Grammar J. Stick to the Facts K. Special Writing Considerations for Law Enforcement L. Short-Lived Evidence M. Exculpatory Evidence N. Be Truthful O. Provide Justification P. Review Q. Summary Section 5: Evaluating Your Report A. Read, Proof, and Rewrite B. Evaluate Your Report Using the 5 Cs C. Sign Your Report D. Review E. Summary Section 6: Conclusion A. Summary B. Course Contributors C. Resources D. References E. Congratulations! F. Exam G. BrainSparks

Staff Writer: Kimberly Cobb, M.S.
Mrs. Cobb is a Content Writer for Public Safety and Health and Human Services at Relias. She has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Correctional and Juvenile Justice Studies and a Master of Science Degree in Criminal Justice. Mrs. Cobb has 24 years of experience working in criminal and juvenile justice. She has worked in direct service positions as well as in research, training, and technical assistance capacities. She was the statewide evaluator for the Commonwealth of Kentucky for adult, juvenile, and family drug courts; a Research Associate for the American Probation & Parole Association providing training and technical assistance to Native American Nations/Alaska Native Villages on systemic criminal and juvenile justice initiatives; and a Research Administrator for the University of Kentucky managing federal, state, and foundation grants awarded to the College of Medicine, Behavioral Science department, Center for Drug and Alcohol Research, and Kentucky Rural Medical Centers.


Disclosure: Kimberly Cobb, M.S. has declared that no conflict of interest, Relevant Financial Relationship or Relevant Non-Financial Relationship exists.
Target Audience:
The target audience for this course is: Entry level Law Enforcement; in the following settings: Law Enforcement.
Relias will be transparent in disclosing if any commercial support, sponsorship or co-providership is present prior to the learner completing the course.
Course Delivery Method and Format
Asynchronous/Online Distance Learning; please see certificate details for specifics on delivery format.
Relias has a grievance policy in place to facilitate reports of dissatisfaction. Relias will make every effort to resolve each grievance in a mutually satisfactory manner. In order to report a complaint or grievance please contact Relias.
If you require special accommodations to complete this module, please contact Relias Support by completing the web form ( or by using the chat functionality.
All courses offered by Relias, LLC are developed from a foundation of diversity, inclusiveness, and a multicultural perspective. Knowledge, values and awareness related to cultural competency are infused throughout the course content.
Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, service mark, manufacturer or otherwise does not constitute or imply any endorsement, recommendation, or favoring of, or affiliation with, Relias, LLC.
All characteristics and organizations referenced in the following training are fictional. Any resemblance to any actual organizations or persons living or dead, is purely coincidental.
To earn continuing education credit for this course you must achieve a passing score of 80% on the post-test and complete the course evaluation.
If you require special accommodations to complete this module, please contact Relias Customer Support here.