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by Peter Moskos

October 5, 2014


The ninth in a series from Sgt. Adam Plantinga's excellent 400 Things Cops Know: Street-Smart Lessons from a Veteran Patrolman:
Most critical incidents you’re involved in take anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes to resolve themselves. The paperwork that follows takes hours. You’ve got the incident report, the clearance report, the inventory forms, the DA sheets, the arrest report, the prisoner statement, and supplemental reports for all witness interviews. Then the reports are signed by the lieutenant, copied, stapled and routed. But not all reports are copied in the same quantities or colors. The liaison office receives an extra clearance report. The incident report requires a pink copy that stays at the district and the clearance report, which was originally green, needs white copies that are sent to the DA with the green original routed to Central Records. The arrest report needs six copies, one for the booker, one for the captain, three for the county jail, and two for the DA. Some copies are one-sided. Some are two. Some are collated. Some are stamped. You stare at the Xerox machine dully and try to remember these clerical vagaries while at the same time thinking about how Baretta never had to do any of this crap.

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