Police records contain information about all police arrests and incident reports. Law enforcement agencies keep these records for future reference by police officers.
Police records are different from criminal records or jail records because they aren't filed through the court system. Therefore, they are mostly unavailable to the public. Most police departments and sheriffs' offices are reluctant to release police records. This is especially true for cases that are still under investigation, or when releasing the information might endanger those involved in the incident.
However, most police departments provide online access to incident logs, warrant logs, and other information from their reports, usually in summary form.
This site will give you the tools to find police records quickly and easily.
There are several types of police records available from law enforcement agencies. Some, like police summary logs and arrest warrants, are available to the public. Other records, like police reports for ongoing investigations, may be harder to obtain.
The first category of police records includes arrest reports and incident reports. Any incident involving the police will leave a record.
Arrest reports include the basic information about an arrest, such as the names and physical descriptions of those arrested, as well as various details of the event. This includes the location, time, and any events that occurred during the arrest. If an individual resisted arrest or the officer used force, this will be recorded in the arrest report. The time and date of booking, the number of charges, and the bail amount are also included in an arrest report.
Incident reports are records of police action that did not involve an arrest. This can include accident reports, citizen reports of crimes, and 911 calls for assistance. Incident reports contain the time, location, and nature of the incident along with a detailed description of what happened, who was involved, and any injuries or weapons found at the scene.
It is difficult for the public to obtain arrest reports and incident reports. If the police do not charge a suspect with any crimes, these police records are not typically included in court records. Because of this, the public may not be able to access these reports.
However, the police produce summary logs to record arrest reports and incident reports. These are often made available to the public, and they can be searched through online databases maintained by local police departments.
In some cases, certain summary logs may be withheld from public access if law enforcement officers believe that the information could endanger anyone involved in the case or hinder an ongoing investigation.
The second type of police record includes search warrants and arrest warrants. These warrants require a judge's approval, as well as an affidavit by the police officer showing probable cause for the search. Since these warrants are court records, they are almost always available to the public.
Search warrants contain the specific application for a search filed with a judge, along with a police affidavit showing probable cause. These police records will include a description of the specific items the police are seeking, the judge's approval for the search warrant, and a list of anything seized by the officers during the search.
In order to locate a search warrant, you may need the search warrant file number. This can be obtained from the prosecutor or the police officers involved in the case.
In some instances, law enforcement officers may request that search warrants in the police record remain sealed if they believe public access might endanger those involved in the case or hamper the police investigation.
An arrest warrant also requires a judge's approval, making it a court record. An arrest warrant includes the name of the accused, details about the crime he or she is suspected of committing, the bail amount and the name of the judge and court that signed the warrant. Many arrest warrants are not available to the public, with some exceptions.
Because there are multiple types of police records, and the public availability of these documents varies, it is important to choose the right search platform to find police records.
Some police records are not available to the public. However, there are ways to obtain police records.
One of the best ways to find a police record is to look in court records. If an arrest led to charges and a trial, the police records will be available in the court record. Court records often contain the original arrest report or incident report. Search warrants and arrest warrants are often included in court records because they require a judge's approval.
In many cases, obtaining court records is a more effective way to locate police records than checking the publicly available police logs.
News reporters have the right to ask for certain police records, including arrest records and incident records. However, law enforcement officers are not required to turn over every police record to reporters. In many cases, police records are only made available to reporters after an investigation has concluded. In other cases, the police records are permanently sealed.
If an individual is convicted of a crime and incarcerated, their police records are often included in jail and prison records. However, police records involving individuals who have not yet been convicted or sentenced won't be found in jail records.
Court records, jail records, and prison records can be very helpful in obtaining police records. Many of these records are available in public databases free of charge. The tools on this site can help you locate police records in the most efficient way possible.
Your local county sheriff's office or police department likely provides public access to certain police records on their website. This includes arrest logs and incident logs, which are nearly always available to the public.
Not every department makes its police records available online. But many local newspapers also publish arrest records.
You will need information about the incident in order to find police records online. The more information you can collect, the better your chances of obtaining the correct police records. At a minimum, try to get the names of those involved, the nature of the crime, and the approximate time and location of the incident. This will help you narrow down your police record search.
Police records will typically include a statute number that corresponds with the penal code and describes the nature of the crime. You can find websites that list those penal statute numbers along with the corresponding crime in order to decipher the police report.
The publicly available arrest logs and incident logs usually don't contain all the information about an arrest or incident. These documents are summarized from the original police records. However, if the arrest or incident eventually results in a court case, more complete documents can be obtained through a court record search.
The best way to find police reports and court records online is through this site, which contains comprehensive information about all public records.