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Officer cuts corners with DUI incident report

An incident report is very important when a police officer makes an arrest. This is no different for when an officer makes an arrest for suspected drunk driving. This detailed report chronicles everything from how an alleged offender was acting to what they said. It paints a clear picture of the situation instead of leaving the case to be determined by hearsay.

One South Carolina State Trooper's actions called into question whether or not police in the area are generating detailed enough incident reports when it comes to making arrests for DUI. Just recently, the officer arrested a man he suspected to be driving drunk. However, the incident report remained incredibly vague, simply stating: "Subject arrested for DUI refusal". The man arrested was a police officer in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.

A proper report should include details such as indicators that the suspect was drunk or what they told officers. A local newspaper questioned the South Carolina Department of Public Safety on the skimpy report and a spokesperson acknowledged that the report was insufficient. The spokesperson reiterated that all officers are instructed to draft up a complete and detailed report when making an arrest.

This one incident opens a can of worms and calls into question whether or not South Carolina police are tending to their duties properly. Many officers have admitted to relying on the video cameras mounted on the dashboards of their squad cars to document arrests. The officer will sometimes make note of things that do not happen in the camera's line of sight, but that information does not make its way to an incident report.

Even when police make an incident report, the Highway Patrol has become notorious for withholding this information and not making it available to the public as it should.

In this recent case, police knew that the insufficient incident report would not hold up in court. This is why the officer provided additional information for a case file. All these practices might illustrate the need for better transparency when it comes to arrests.

Source: The Post and Courier, "5-word report in DUI case a red flag," Andrew Knapp, March 16, 2012

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