Mechanics of Police Report Writing Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

One of the paramedics was Latina, and she translated; the female (Ms. Garcia) was married to the suspect but says she divorced him last year due to his violent episodes and his drinking and drug use, according to the translation from the Paramedic.

Witness Report:

"A neighbor in a nearby apartment knocked on the door and said she had witnessed the female being harmed by the suspect more than once. The witness, Alice Mercado, 27, bilingual and employed as a maid in a nearby motel, said she had heard fighting coming from the apartment in the past on many occasions. Sometimes she was afraid to come to see what was happening because the suspect was unpredictable and explosively violent when under the influence of alcohol and crack cocaine, she said. She told this officer that she once had a relationship with the suspect prior to his marriage to her neighbor. She broke off the relationship, she said, when he became involved with drugs. She reported that he smoked marijuana in the house even though she asked him to smoke outside because of the health aspect for a non-smoker, which she said she is. Asked if he had ever harmed her, she hesitated then said he forced her to have sex with him on several occasions, and when she resisted he slapped her repeatedly before having his way with her.

"She did not witness any of the activities on this particular night, but she did hear a disturbance she said, and she was the one who called 911 for help because she knew the past behaviors of the suspect. The neighbor, Ms. Mercado, explained that her friend Ms. Garcia had been encouraged to call police in the past but her ex-husband said he would kill her if she ever notified the police. Mrs. Mercado said that Ms. Garcia changed the lock on the front door but when her ex-husband was drunk and wanted to get in, he found a way, sometimes jimmying the window in the living room and climbing in through it."

Concrete Experience and Abstract Conceptualization (Kolb learning style).

I watched officer Phil go to the suspect in the back of the Crown Victoria and when Phil discovered that the suspect did not have any identification on his person, I watched Phil retrieve the suspect's car keys and go to the 1994 Ford pickup truck in search of the suspect's billfold. Phil found the wallet in the glove compartment and he called in the suspect's driver's license number to his police station.

As I approached all these events unfolding right in front of me, it seemed like it was a bad dream, or a surreal experience in a movie. As I watched the officer handcuff the inebriated suspect, I know I was processing the experience to decide whether or not I wanted to do what Phil does at some time in the future. Through watching him, as per the David Kolb learning strategy, I was approaching the fact that I could approach these actions and activities from a diverging and assimilating perspective.

Diverging (feeling and watching): I have had a broad range of intellectual and social experiences in my life and I am a creative person. So at almost any time I can re-create whatever reality I'm viewing as a play where there are actually actors, a scene, a setting, stage props, dialogue, conflict, irony, a protagonist and probably an antagonist too. I am fascinated with people and not really sure though that I want a career in police work. The investigative part of it fascinates me but I find the grind with low-life people, drunks, drugs, and the whole nasty scene a bit too dark for me to take on a daily basis. My dialectical response to what I saw did not create conflict within me because I can look at a situation and transform it in my mind into a play, as I said earlier, with characters. In this particular play, the officer Phil was the protagonist going about his job in his uniform with his badge and weapon clearly visible.

Obviously the suspect was the antagonist in this scene; I preferred to watch and not do anything, but in any event that was what I was supposed to do. Kolb says humans choose our approach to any task or experience (diverging by feeling and watching or assimilating by watching and
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thinking, which is what I do pretty often) but I had not thought that through until now. I obviously had an emotional response to the experience and as I thought it through later I realized that I had just immediately grasp the experience, as Kolb relates, in a reflective observation. I preferred to step back from the reality of it in my own consciousness and see it all as a room full of actors playing out the parts that they had been assigned by the director, who was not on site.

My style (Kolb) was to revert to "reflective observation" of the whole scene. I'm not even sure the officer wanted me in the room. I just followed him up the steps and when he was inside and left the door open I stepped in and went into a corner where I would not be in any danger nor would I be in the way. I was feeling, watching, thinking but not doing; my logical sense clicked in and I saw an abstract event playing out in front of me, not for my benefit, but that I was allowed to be an audience member and be able to objectively observe what was happening while not becoming emotionally or physically involved in it. Was I engaged in a converging learning experience? I do like to experiment with new ideas and I like to stimulate others with thoughts and ideas that come into my creative mind. But I would not say I was an accommodating person in the sense of being a "hands on" person in any learning situation. I like to study what is going on, make creative little stories in my head about how these individuals came to be in this place at this time doing these things.

When the poor wife of the suspect in apartment number 21 was crying and bleeding I was thinking what a great talent she would be showing if this were really a play in a theater somewhere. But that was just me, assimilating (watching and thinking -- a concrete experience and an abstract conceptualization of that experience) the situation and just as quickly my mind clicked back to the horror of the moment for that poor woman who got punched in the nose. We don't know whether she threw a frying pan at him or hit him first, because he wasn't saying and he didn't appear to be hurt. But in any event when a man beats up on a woman, there is something very tragic about that and I revert to my abstract conceptualization of the scene whenever I want to in my mind, and it is both surreal and hurtful.

The smell of stale beer and of cigarette smoke in the room made me think of a dive bar near where I lived going to college; there were fights in that bar every week and the police had to come in often and haul drunks and fighters away with those plastic hand cuffs securing their wrists behind their backs. So when I entered the room immediately my brain lurched back to those days in that dive bar -- the smell was very familiar to me -- and I bantered around in my mind about whether the suspect had gotten himself drunk in a bar like that before coming over here to apartment number 21 to beat up his ex-wife. I wondered in my abstract conceptualization if he had maybe a shot or two of cheap bourbon in addition to all those beers he likely drank. I even conceptualized that he would be hung over in the morning -- but would he immediately light up a cigarette before he brushed his teeth like an old roommate of mine used to do? Foolish ideas come into my brain because I am good at integrating the reality in front of me with a series of actors I pretend are really playing out this scene.

Technical Report Writing -- Watching and Thinking

I asked Phil if I could look at his technical report when he got it completed. He said it would be the next day before he got to finish it. He said he would let me look at another report he wrote where there was violence used. "Technical reports are totally unavailable to the public," he said, "so legally I can't let you see it. But since I know your dad and your family, I'll let you look at partly because the case has already gone to trial and the…

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