Iowa Legal Update

2022 Lesson 9: Documentation of High-Risk Incidents

Legal

Release Date: 

9/1/2022

This is an online technical skills course for Iowa police officers focused on the documentation of high risk incidents.


Section one addresses defines “high risk” for purposes of the lesson. In addition to physical risk, it describes the following risks officers face: reputation damage, administrative discipline, civil liability, and criminal prosecution.


Section two provides general principles of report writing and explains how good police reports can help mitigate risks. It examines the wide range of audiences who use police reports. It also provides tips for gathering information to include in field reports and identifies fundamental content that to include in police reports.


Section three provides guidance on information officers should include in use of force reports in consideration of the legal standards that apply to an officer’s use of force.


Section four provides guidance on reporting writing for officer-involved injuries and in-custody injuries. It provides tips for what to document and where to document it, even in cases involving apparently minor injuries.


Section five addresses report writing for high-risk search and seizure incidents based on the legal standards that apply. It also provides considerations for the documentation of consensual encounters that could lead to liability.


Section six addresses report writing regarding exculpatory information. It explains the risks involved when officers become aware of exculpatory information regarding a suspect. It provides guidance proper documentation.