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The Building Blocks of Report Writing

Report Writing-it is a crucial aspect of a security officer’s duties, but for some of us who have little to no experience or training in writing reports, how do we make our reports reflect the professionalism we display in every other aspect of our job? This month I have included a few foundational building blocks of report writing that will assist you in the field or the office.

First, no matter what report I am writing, I always look to answer the following six elements in my narrative: who, what, where, when, why, and how. It’s not a factual guarantee, but if you can skim through your report upon its completion and see that you have answered these six foundational elements, then you are well on your way to writing professional, articulate, and organized reports. Remember that there can be multiples of any of the above elements. You may have only one “where” but have four different “who’s.” This is perfectly normal.

Second, ALWAYS proofread your reports; if you have a typed report (preferred), make sure you have run the narrative portion of the report through software such as Microsoft Word or Grammarly, which is designed to correct spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc. Use your resources to your advantage.

Third, make a genuine attempt to get a second pair of eyes on your report. Even if the person didn’t witness the event or know what happened, they can read your report from a fresh perspective, see if the narrative reads easily, and have a smooth flow for the reader to easily comprehend what took place. Remember never to list what another officer did, said, etc., in your report. We don’t want to end up testifying in court about what another officer did or said, we are only responsible for our words and our actions. If an incident is significant enough for you to write a report, it likely warrants a report from every officer on the scene. Let each officer be accountable for their own words and actions in their own report.

As always, please contact me by phone or email if you want any further tips or advice regarding training or report writing, training is my passion, and I look forward to helping you along your journey with TriCorps.

Brad Ross

Training Officer, TriCorps Security

Phone: 405-621-9006