How to Obtain a Police Report in California

By Melly Parker

If you're the victim of a crime in California, or if you're a lawyer or an insurance agent, then you may be entitled to request a copy of a police report at your local police department. While the rules for requesting a report, as well as the prices of each report, vary based on the precinct you're located in, it's possible to obtain a police report in person.

Go in person to the precinct that filed the police report, or use the precinct website to determine its procedure on obtaining a criminal report at that specific precinct. For example, in Los Angeles you must write to the police department's Records and Identification Division.

Know the victim's name and address, the date and location of the incident, and the police report number, if possible. The report won't be released without this information, even if you know the crime happened in California.

Pay the police department for the cost of each police report you're ordering. This ranges from $1 to $30, depending on what part of California you're in. In San Jose, for example, police reports are only 20 cents per page, while Los Angeles police reports can be obtained for a flat rate of $23.

Submit the request for the report, along with payment and the information the precinct will need to process it, to the precinct that filed the report, either in person or in the mail. Be sure to include the address that the precinct should send the police report to. If you expect it to be a large document---or if you're located at a great distance from California---contact the police station first to ensure that the fee you're paying will cover the cost of mailing.

Order the report online through the police department's website. You'll have to pay with a credit card, and the report can take several weeks to reach you because the precinct will have to search their files and post the report.