University of California Santa Cruz Police Department
UC Santa Cruz PD Policy Manual



Report Preparation


Report preparation is a major part of each officer's job. The purpose of reports is to document sufficient information to refresh the officer’s memory and to provide sufficient information for follow- up investigation and successful prosecution. Report writing is the subject of substantial formalized training and on-the-job training.



Employees should ensure that reports are sufficiently detailed for their purpose and free from errors prior to submission. Reports requiring prompt follow up action because of the sensitive nature of the report, active leads, or due to arrests where the suspect is in custody shall be completed before going off-duty.

It is the responsibility of the assigned employee to complete and submit all reports during his/her scheduled shift, before going off-duty, unless permission to hold the report has been approved by a supervisor. If at the end of the employee’s shift the reports are still not complete, a supervisor may direct the employee to complete the necessary reports before going off-duty.

Nonetheless, all reports, including those returned for correction, must be completed and submitted by the employee before going on days off.

All handwritten reports must be prepared legibly. If the report is not legible, the submitting employee will be required by the reviewing supervisor to promptly make corrections and resubmit the report. Reports shall contain proper punctuation and appropriate grammar. Employees who generate reports on computers are subject to all requirements of this policy.

All reports shall document all necessary facts of an incident or crime, and accurately reflect the scene or the crime or incident, identity of all the persons involved, statements, physical evidence, injuries, description and valuation of property, all pertinent information seen, heard or assimilated by any other sense, and any actions taken. Employees shall not suppress, conceal or distort the facts of any reported incident, nor shall any employee make a false report. Generally, the reporting employee’s opinions should not be included in reports unless specifically identified as such.



Written reports are required in all of the following situations on the appropriate department approved form unless otherwise approved by a supervisor.



When an employee responds to a call for service, or as a result of self-initiated activity becomes aware of any activity where a crime has occurred, the employee is required to document the activity. The fact that a victim is not desirous of prosecution is not an exception to documenting the crime or incident in a report. Activity to be documented in a written report includes:

(a) All arrests 

(b) All felony crimes

(c) Non-felony incidents involving threats or stalking behavior

(d) Situations covered by separate policy. These include but are not limited to:

  1. Use of Force Policy
  2. Domestic Violence Policy
  3. Child Abuse Policy
  4. Adult Abuse Policy
  5. Hate Crimes Policy
  6. Suspicious Activity Reporting Policy

(e) All misdemeanor crimes where the victim desires a report.

  1. Misdemeanor crimes where the victim does not desire a report shall be documented in a crime report.

(f) All incidents where force is used against any member of the department.

(g) For documentation in compliance with the Clery Act or other provisions of federal and state law.



The following incidents shall be documented using the appropriate approved report:

(a) Anytime an officer points a firearm at any person or displays an intermediate use of force option at any person to gain compliance.

(b) Any use of force against any person by a member of this department (see the Use  of Force Policy)

(c) Any firearm discharge (see the Firearms Policy)

(d) Anytime a person is reported missing, regardless of jurisdiction (see the Missing Persons Policy)

(e) Any found property or found evidence

(f) Any traffic collisions involving a department member or vehicle

(g) Any traffic collisions above the minimum reporting level (see Traffic Collision Reporting Policy)

(h) Suspicious incidents that may indicate a potential for crimes against children or that a child’s safety is in jeopardy

(i) All protective custody detentions (e.g. 5150 WIC or 300 WIC, etc.)

(j) Suspicious incidents that may place the public or others at risk, including welfare checks (see the Welfare Check Policy)

(k) Non-criminal hate incidents

(l) Any non-investigative sexual assault (see the Non-Investigative Sexual Assault Policy)

(m) Whenever the employee believes the circumstances should be documented or at the direction of a supervisor

(n) As directed by policy

(o) As prescribed by any state of federal law


345.2.3     DEATH CASES

Death investigations require specific investigation methods depending on circumstances and should be handled in accordance with the Death Investigations Policy. The handling officer should notify and apprise a supervisor of the circumstances surrounding the incident to determine how to proceed. The following cases shall be appropriately investigated and documented using the approved report:

(a) Sudden or accidental deaths.

(b) Suicides.

(c) Homicide or suspected homicide.

(d) Unattended deaths (No physician or qualified hospice care in the 20 days preceding death).

(e) Found dead bodies or body parts.



Reports shall be taken if an injury occurs that is a result of an act of an University of Californiaemployee. An employee includes but is not limited to faculty, staff, student, volunteer, or contractor on any property owned or controlled by the Regents. Additionally, reports shall be taken involving damage to University of California property or University of California equipment.



Any injury that is reported to this department shall require a report when:

(a) The injury is a result of a drug or alcohol overdose or suspected drug or alcohol overdose

(b) Attempted suicide

(c) The injury is major/serious, whereas death could result

(d) The circumstances surrounding the incident are suspicious in nature and it is desirable to record the event

(e) Any injury or complaint of pain is the result of any action taken by a department member

The above reporting requirements are not intended to be all-inclusive. A supervisor may direct an employee to document any incident he/she deems necessary.



A report shall be taken when any incident in which a child 18 years or younger suffered an unintentional or self-inflicted gunshot wound. The Records Section shall notify the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) of the incident, on a form provided by the state. Forms may be obtained from the CDPH website (Penal Code § 23685).



The University of California, Santa Cruz Police Department does not have an online or other self-completed reporting process. As such, department members will take reports as required by policy. This requirement includes reports for the following:

(a) Lost property.

(b) Misdemeanor thefts of property, other than firearms or materials that threaten public safety, when there is no suspect information, serial number or ability to trace the item.

  1. Misdemeanor thefts of cellular telephones may be reported even though they have a serial number.

(c) Misdemeanor vandalism with no suspect information and no hate crime implications.

(d) Vehicle burglaries with no suspect information or evidence.

(e) Stolen vehicle attempts with no suspect information or evidence.

(f) Annoying telephone calls with no suspect information.

(g) Identity theft without an identifiable suspect.

(h) Online or email fraud solicitations without an identifiable suspect and if the financial loss classifies the crime as a misdemeanor.

(i) Hit-and-run vehicle collisions with no suspect or suspect vehicle.

(j) Supplemental property lists.

In addition to documenting an incident or crime, members may refer victims to online victim assistance programs (e.g., Federal Communications Commission (FCC) website for identity theft, Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) website for computer crimes).



In general, all officers and supervisors shall act with promptness and efficiency in the preparation and processing of all reports. An incomplete report, unorganized reports or reports delayed without supervisory approval are not acceptable. Reports shall be processed according to established priorities or according to special priority necessary under exceptional circumstances.



Some incidents and report forms lend themselves to block print rather than typing. In general, the narrative portion of those reports where an arrest is made or when there is a long narrative should be typed..

Supervisors may require, with the foregoing general policy in mind, block printing or typing of reports of any nature for departmental consistency.



County, state and federal agency forms may be block printed as appropriate. In general, the form itself may make the requirement for typing apparent.



The report writing format consists of seven separate sections used to complete and submit reports. In general, these sections will be documented in the following order: Synopsis, Scene, Physical Evidence, Injuries, Narrative, Statements, and Additional Information. This format will also be used for any supplemental reports.

(a) Synopsis: This section provides a very brief overview of the incident or crime. It explains the nature of the report by giving a brief statement of what happened, including the elements of the crime. This section normally consists of a single paragraph containing 5-7 sentences. It is not designed to provide all of the details   of the incident or crime. A more complex crime does not mean a longer synopsis. Specific details or actions taken by officers would be documented in the narrative section of the report.

(b) Scene: This section provides a brief overview of the scene(s), including the physical location(s), and where physical evidence was located. This section is not a substitute for including the information in the narrative.

(c) Physical Evidence: This section describes the physical evidence gathered in a case. It includes a description of each item of evidence, evidence item number, who found it, where it was found, where it was booked and who booked it. A connection should be given between the evidence and the suspect or victim. This section is not a substitute for including the information in the narrative.

(d) Injuries: This section describes any injuries sustained. Injuries should be described in detail, inlcuding how the injury was caused and any treatment given, offered       or refused. This would include injuries to any victim(s), suspect(s), witness(es) or officer(s). This section will also describe if any photographs were taken and the corresponding evidence item number(s), if applicable. This section is not a substitute for including the information in the narrative.

(e) Narrative: This section documents all the necessary facts of an incident or crime in a clear, detailed, and chronological manner. Employees will write in third-person, past tense sentence construction. The exception to this is when an employee refers to actions he/she took, in which case first-person, past tense sentence construction is to be used. 

  1. In addition to any other required reports, a thorough description of stolen, lost, found or missing property is necessary. Property will be described in detail.
  2. Description of property - minimum elements: When reporting stolen, lost, found or recovered property, when possible, obtain and record the below listed descriptive information:
  • QUANTITY: Report the number, quantity, etc., of each type of property.
  • TYPE: Report the specific classification (i.e., "television").
  • TRADE NAME: Report the brand name of the article (i.e., "motorcycle").
  • PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Describe the following minimum physical characteristics: Model - Style - Design - Shape - Size - Color -Material - Condition (include age)
  • IDENTIFYING NUMBERS/MARKS: Report the serial number, unique marks or identifying damage will be reported.
  • VALUE: When determining value of property the following guidelines will be used for lost, stolen, or found property

(a) ESTIMATING VALUE: The victim's estimate of value on lost or stolen property will be indicated in the narrative and property sheet. If the victim is unable to estimate a value, reasonable attempts to estimate the value will be made by the employee. A minimum of $1.00 shall be used.

(b) EXCEPTION: Reporting members will adhere to the following procedures when reporting the value of the unsold or transit merchandise and U.S. currency or other negotiable documents.

  1. MERCHANDISE - UNSOLD OR IN TRANSIT: Goods taken from a store or a warehouse or stolen in transit will be valued at the invoice cost, not the retail sale value. The invoice cost is a matter of record. This represents the amount of loss suffered by the merchant or transfer agent.
  2. U.S. CURRENCY, NEGOTIABLE DOCUMENTS, AND CHECKS: Any denomination of U.S. Government issued currency will be reported at full value. Negotiable documents, such as money orders, will be reported at face value. Checks and promissory notes themselves have no value unless an actual property transfer resulted from the issuance of such documents. When a property transfer does occur, the loss is then determined by the value of the goods or monies so transferred
  3. DESCRIPTION OF SPECIFIC ARTICLES: The Property Report descriptor fields will be completed as thoroughly and specifically  as possible in order to maintain accurate recording of property collected. Whenever possible, known serial number(s) will be included in the report.
  4. If no serial number is known or available, it should be documented as "unknown."
  5. Serialized property will be entered into CLETS. At a minimum, the associated FCN will be included on the property report for each item, when applicable. 

(f)  Statements: The statement(s) of any victim(s), witness(es), or suspect(s), etc., are included in this section. Statement should include the person’s location at the time of the incident, the person’s role in the event and name (unless confidential per 293 PC or a confidential informant). Any suspect statement is to be preceded by a description of who read the suspect his/her Miranda rights and the suspect's responses to the waiver questions. Statements will be referred to in the Narrative but detailed in this section.

(g) Additional Information: Additional information or recommendations for follow-up investigation, routing, case cross referencing, additional charges, etc., are to be listed in this section. This section should not include employees opinions.



Supervisors are responsible for becoming familiar with reports initiated by subordinates and, when necessary, for providing guidance and counseling in proper report writing methods and procedures. All reports must be reviewed and approved by a sergeant or lieutenant. The supervisor reviewing the report should be the employee's immediate supervisor. In the absence of the immediate supervisor, the on-coming shift supervisor will be responsible for reviewing the report, unless another supervisor is designated.

(a) All supervisors have the authority and responsibility to review all reports critically. Supervisors will remain aware quality of the reports submitted by their subordinates, checking for proper chronology, readability, punctuation and grammar. Supervisors shall review reports for detailed content and accuracy. Supervisors are responsible for ensuring that the reports include sufficient details to support the issuance of a criminal complaint. .

(b) When reviewing reports, supervisors will ensure that the following topics, at a minimum, are thoroughly covered, if applicable to the incident:

  • Legal authority for theemployee's activity (i.e. consent, reasonable suspicion and/or probable cause clearly articulated)
  • Elements of the crime(s) are clearly articulated
  • Statements from all victims, witnesses and suspects are clearly detailed
  • Detailed description of crime scene(s), location of evidence found, the manner by which it was located and how evidence was processed. A connection should be given between the evidence and the suspect(s) or victim(s)
  • A detailed description of injuries, and the manner by which they were caused, to any involved party to the incident, including officers, victims, and suspects, as well as the treatment given, offered and refused
  • Investigative activity by department members (e.g. canvassing, follow-up contacts, evidence examination, show-ups, "be on the lookouts," department and outside agency resources involved and/or contacted (e.g. ambulance, fire, etc.), restraining order and/or emergency protective order, etc
  • Notifications as required by law or policy

A. If an employee is delayed at shift's end, the employee will submit the report to the on duty supervisor for review.

B. If a report is held for a specific supervisor to review, it is the responsibility of the employee who authored the report to ensure the supervisor is notified of the held report, and that it is reviewed and approved prior to end of shift.

C. If a correction is necessary, the reviewing supervisor should complete the Report Correction Form stating the reasons for rejection. The original report and the correction form should be returned to the reporting employee for correction as soon as practical.
D. Employees are required to complete their reports, correct the reported deficiencies, and submit the report for review, along with the Report Correction Form, prior to going off duty, unless the reviewing supervisor approves otherwise.
E. It shall be the responsibility of the originating [officer_deputy] to ensure that any report returned for correction is processed in a timely manner.
F. When applicable, the supervisor reviewing the resubmitted and corrected reports should be the original reviewing supervisor. If the supervisor is not available, the supervisor on duty supervisor will review the report, unless it is held for a specific supervisor to review.
G. Once the report is approved, it will be processed as prescribed by policy.
H. All Report Correction Forms will be filed in the employees supervisor file for evaluation, training, and possible disciplinary actions.
I. All Report Correction Forms will be maintained and retained in a manner consistent with policy and law.



Reports that have been approved by a supervisor and submitted to the Records Section for filing and distribution shall not be modified or altered except by way of a supplemental report. Reviewed reports that have not yet been submitted to the Records Section may be corrected or modified by the authoring officer only with the knowledge and authorization of the reviewing supervisor.



The University of California Santa Cruz Police Department has established an electronic signature procedure for use by all employees of the University of California Santa Cruz Police Department. 

The Patrol Lieutenant shall be responsible for maintaining the electronic signature system and ensuring that each employee creates a unique, confidential password for his/her electronic signature.

  • Employees may only use their electronic signature for official reports or other official communications.
  • Each employee shall be responsible for the security and use of his/her electronic signature and shall promptly notify a supervisor if the electronic signature has or may have been compromised or misused.



Policy 345 PDF