CAREER DEVELOPMENT / JAN. 04, 2015
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How Would Poor Writing Skills Affect a Police Officer?

The general image with the public is that work as a police officer involves chasing criminals, shootouts and exciting vehicle pursuits. However, the truth is that police officers spend their day responding to distress calls, preparing and filing reports and studying volumes of paperwork to collect evidence to present in court. It is therefore paramount that police officers develop excellent writing skills.

First Impression

Your written work often gets to judges and highly ranking officials at the workplace before you have an opportunity to meet them physically. It may be an arrest report or a more complex presentation of a survey or study, but the individual will base their opinion of you and your work based on a written document. Grammatical errors and typos give you the reputation of a careless individual who does not pay attention to her work. Often, people think poorly of a person with poorly presented work and it may affect their attitude towards the report or you and your work.

Sensitivity

Police officers’ documents play a role in criminal cases. A document that fails to communicate to the judge, investigators and lawyers can lead to the acquittal of an innocent man or release of a guilty person. Each report must be articulate and follow a well-organized format that others can follow and understand. It must also communicate your observations and experiences clearly to help inform a case appropriately. A poorly written document can lead to disregard of relevant information in a court or in the investigation process, diluting the justice system. Additionally, it may affect valuable information you are trying to pass on to your bosses. For example, after a study, you may make recommendations to change certain policies. Failing to communicate this clearly in your report may affect law and order in your area.

Proper Communication

Communication plays a significant role in the maintenance of law and order. Police officers must be able to articulate their actions and reasoning on paper to gain confidence with the public and other law enforcement agencies. Poor writing may affect the exchange of information between the police and the public or within law enforcement agencies. For example, in high profile incidences, the media refers to police records for information; poorly written records can lead to miscommunication and in extreme cases, subject the police force to legal action from the public.

Records

The work of a police officer revolves a lot around records. They will refer to previous cases to inform present cases. Filing poorly written work gives your colleagues a hard time as they cannot understand the document or use it confidently as a reference point. It is also difficult for the police force to keep track if you file work that others cannot read and understand. Proper writing ensures that others can refer to your work easily and present it as evidence if necessary.

Police officers must acquire proper writing skills in their line of work. Poor writing within the police force affects the justice system and the public’s opinion of the police negatively. Police officers can take up language and writing courses to improve their written communication.

 

Image source: Oregonlive

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