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What Are Police Records

Police records consist of arrest records and incident reports. State, local, and county law enforcement agents document their work, and this becomes police records. Local police, the FBI and DEA all create police records. Traffic violations, DUIs, arrest warrants, arrest logs, along with search warrants and coroner’s reports are some of the examples included in police records. Police records do not include convictions or any court documents, but they are part of a person’s full criminal history, and police records account for only a portion of that information. Arrest records show limited information and not whether or not someone was convicted.

Types of Police Records

Police generally create four types of police records. The first is when they observe, listen and write down what they experienced; this includes incident reports. The second type of police report is when an officer watches, listens then takes steps to investigate further and record what happens. The third type is when the officer watches, listens, investigates and then takes action to resolve the issue; this can include arrest warrants or searches. The fourth is a more in-depth investigation to gather probable cause for searches and warrants. All of these records are kept in a central law enforcement database.

How to Obtain Police Records

You have the right to request a copy of your police record. First, you must contact the correct agency, local police, state or government bureau. Most of them have online portals where you can request a copy online. They may offer the results instantly, but you may have to wait and request a copy be mailed to you. You can also visit the police station in person, but they may or may not have rules about how quickly you can get a copy of your police record. You will have to fill out and sign a request form with all the pertinent information. In some cases, you will also need to provide a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Be sure to check hours and policies regarding copies of police records first.

Incorrect Information on a Police Record

Police records sometimes contain errors. When they do, it is up to the parties involved to contact the officer who made out the report and get it corrected. For example, if you are involved in a traffic accident, and the police officer jots down the wrong details, you may have trouble getting your insurance to pay for repairs. It is crucial to review police reports for accuracy and bring any discrepancies to their attention as soon as possible. It is ultimately up to the officer in charge whether or not they want to amend their original report.