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How to obtain police reports

Updated April 16, 2019

Each time a police officer responds to a call or makes an arrest, they write up a police report. These reports are stored for referencing later on. If you were involved in an accident you will want a copy of the police report to use in court. If someone drove through your mailboxe, you will need a copy of the police report to file a claim with the driver's insurance company. The reports are not hard to get as long as you take the proper steps.

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  1. Get the address to your local police department. To request a copy of a police report you will need to go to the office.

  2. Ask the officer on duty for a request for public records form. Have your photo ID ready as they will want to record your name and address for their records.

  3. Fill out the form by inserting the names of all of the parties involved in the incident, the date the incident happened, and where the incident happened. If you already know the police report ID number you can enter that on the form as well. This information is necessary for the officer to locate the police report.

  4. Give the form to the officer on duty. They will need your phone number to contact you when the report is found and ready for copying. It can take anywhere from one to five days depending on how busy the department is at the time of your request.

  5. Go back to the police station when your copy is ready. The officer will then let you know how much money you need to pay to have the report. The fee is based on the number of pages they had to copy so you won't know what the cost is until after the report has been located.

  6. Tip

    Request the report as soon as possible so that it is prepared in time for your court date.


    Personal information of the opposite party will be blackened out to protect their privacy so don't be surprised if you have black marks all over your police report.

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Things You'll Need

  • Police Department's Address
  • A photo ID
  • Public records request form
  • Money
  • Incident information

About the Author

Alicia Bodine

Alicia Bodine has been a professional writer for 13 years. She has produced thousands of articles for online publications such as Demand Studios, GoBankingRates and WiseGeek. Bodine is passionate about gardening, travel, education and finance. She has received awards for being a top content producer.

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