A supplementary police report assists in the collection of information for police investigations. It is secondary to the primary report and can contain information as minor as a second complaint of loud music at a party to information as major as the discovery of a murder weapon by a pedestrian days after the crime had occurred. Additional witness statements can also be taken on such reports.
A supplemental police report is one of several pieces of paperwork used to document crimes, investigations and incidents. It is attached to and filed with the police report to which it is supplementary. Police departments often do not permit a supplementary report to be filed on a case if a standard police report has been filed because the paperwork for a supplementary police report is not designed to obtain the same amount of information as a standard report.
When They Are Used
Police departments use a supplementary police report when additional information is brought forward after the initial report was filed. Victims or witnesses usually come forward with information that is included in a supplementary report. Also, crime investigations that involve several officers may contain supplementary reports from other officers. If police are searching for a shooting suspect and one of the officers finds a gun, the officer may file a supplementary report to document the discovery if enough time has passed for the original report to be filed.
Requirements to Use One
Many police departments require a standard police report to be filled out before a supplementary report can be filed. Although it’s not common, some police departments that have a web presence provide downloadable supplementary police reports to the public. Others may offer an online filing format that can act as a minor complaint form for departments that are not staffed to send officers to certain crimes as non-emergency automobile burglaries.
There are time when it is not appropriate to report information via supplementary report, although these policies vary by department. Some departments, for example, may prohibit the filing of a supplementary police report if there is an ongoing dangerous situation; if there is evidence to collect; if the information relates to the location of a suspect; if it is to report the firing of gunshots; if the crime involves domestic violence; or if there is significant property loss or if a vehicle has been stolen.
A Continuing Narrative
Some departments use a supplementary report to continue the narrative of a police report if it runs too long to fit on the standard report. Most supplementary reports are primarily lined sheets of paper with space for a case number at the top and a signature at the bottom. Occasionally officers use a supplementary report to document an incident that did not require the same accounting of victims and suspect information as found in a standard report. These incidents are regarded as minor and tend not to lead to any criminal investigation.
While it may be just a lined piece of paper or a blank web form, a supplemental police report is an official police document, with a case number and signature, used to add additional information to the original police report.
Eric Miller is a newspaper reporter based in Middle Tennessee. His crime and government articles appear regularly in several publications in Sumner County and the Nashville area. He has a natural thirst for knowledge and enjoys sharing what he learns.