When an incident requires police intervention, a report is filed by the police officer who handles it. An automobile accident, a theft and even an altercation with a neighbor involving physical contact – all are backed up with a police report, which is used to determine liability. Once that report is filed with the police department – and this usually takes a few days – copies are emailed to all parties or are available for pickup at the police headquarters.
Occasionally, errors are discovered within the report, such as incorrect vehicle information or a misspelled name. These corrections might not replace the original report; instead, they’ll appear as an amendment to the police report.
Correcting Factual Errors
A misspelled name, an incorrect automobile make or model, an inversion of the numbers on an address – all these can be corrected easily. Bring proof of the correct information to your police department and ask to have the incorrect items changed. It’s up to the police officer to determine if the changes replace the original information on the report or if they are added as an addendum.
“He Said-She Said” Disputes
Your version of the incident conflicts with the police report. Whether you’re disagreeing with the police officer’s version or the story the other party offered, the police report stands as the official version. Amending it is difficult, but not impossible.
Write your version of the incident. Be clear and concise. Point out instances in which, in your opinion, the police report differs from the account as it actually occurred. Request your report to be added as an addendum. Do not point fingers, but be as factual as possible. You want the police officer to consider your version and add it to the report. Whether he does is the officer’s decision.
Reports With Omitted Information
After you stepped away from the car accident, you mentioned to the police officer that you knocked your head against the steering wheel, and, as a result, you feel a bit woozy. This information is vital when you file an insurance claim, but the police report does not include it. It’s up to you to discuss this omission with the police officer and to persuade him to add it to the report. Bring any doctor’s reports with you as ammunition for your case.
Read More: Information on Police Reports
Amending Disputed Facts
You reported that the neighbor’s dog came onto your property, and it bit you. The neighbor claims you were on his property when the incident occurred. Your best chance of getting the report amended is to provide eyewitness accounts.
Find out if the dog in question has a history of attacking people. Do your neighbors consider the dog to be vicious? Disputed facts are like the “he-said, she-said” version of a situation. The best chance you have of getting your version added to the police report as an amendment is to provide thorough backup information.
Uncovering a Crime
If, during the process of investigating an automobile accident, the police officer uncovers an illegal weapon in the glove compartment or drugs in one of the cars, the case turns into a criminal procedure. Amending the police report becomes more difficult as the initial report won’t be issued for several months. If there is no criminality involved, expect to receive the report in approximately 10 days.
Attitude Is Important
When you’ve gathered all your information and are ready to present your case to the police officer who wrote the report, walk in with a positive attitude. Be polite, soft-spoken, non-accusatory and work together to resolve your problem.
Submit all backup information you’ve gathered, including photographs, medical reports and written eyewitness accounts. Do this as soon as you notice a conflict with the original police report. A timely rebuttal is easier to correct than one that’s delivered long after the report was filed.
A writer for many years, Jann has contributed to television programming revolving around legal issues, written for magazines and web sites regarding the law, and her manuals on real estate law specifics are used in real estate schools in Florida.