How to Locate Police Reports & Records

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Most police reports and records can easily be found at the city or town's local police department administration office that made the report. For example, if the report was made in the city of ABC, then you would go to the ABC police department to retrieve the report. Most police records and reports are a matter of public record and can be accessed by anyone seeking to review it. These records or reports are made available to the public to allow them to control the community or live better by monitoring any criminal development.

The best way to locate the police record or report is to go down to the local police department that houses the report and make an inquiry to the administration office. The clerk will assist you in locating the record and allow you to view it. However, if you wish to take a copy of the report or record, then you may be charged a fee.

Try contacting the police department's administration office by phone. Most clerks in the office will assist you in locating the record if you have the information they need to locate it (see "Things You'll Need" section). Following this step may save you a lot of time in tracking down the record and then going to see it. If you walk into the department, then you are taking a gamble that it actually has it.

Finding a record or report online may be a faster and easier way for the public to review certain records, but in some cases it does come at a cost. A lot of commercial Internet websites post public records from government agencies or law enforcement agencies, but in most cases, they request you join as a member of the site or even pay a fee to review the documents they have on file. If you don't have a problem paying to review the document, then this is by far the fastest and easiest way to review the document. These sites are very diligent in keeping their records up to date and keeping their customers happy. The fee goes toward the creation and maintenance of these databases that the sites keep.


  • Most police administration offices will go above and beyond their duties to assist you in locating this record or report, if you have patience and make the effort to help them locate it as well (coming back with more information).
  • All departments keep a booklet for press members to review for the latest reports or incidents out in the lobby area. This booklet is free to the public to review as well.



About the Author

William Robinson has been writing for over 20 years and to date has published two books in his lifetime, "The Search for Excalibur" and "Don't Love Me." He holds two doctorate degrees in philosophy and a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice from Alameda University in California. He is also a veteran of the United States Marine Corps.