Bail Reform: Preliminary Law Enforcement Incident Report

by | Jan 8, 2017 | Blog, Criminal Law, Law Reform and Amendments

“A Preliminary Law Enforcement Incident Report prepared pursuant to this Directive is intended only to document basic information known to the officer preparing the report at the time of arrest that may be needed to establish probable cause and/or to inform the decision whether to issue a complaint-summons or apply for a complaint-warrant. The fact that the officer preparing a Preliminary Law Enforcement Incident Report does not check a check-off box should not be construed to mean that such fact or circumstance does not exist, but rather only that the officer at the time of completing the preliminary report does not have sufficient basis, or immediate need, to indicate the existence or non-existence of such fact or circumstance in an initial, preliminary report that may be supplemented by subsequent reports that are more comprehensive and detailed. It should be clearly understood that the information documented in a Preliminary Law Enforcement Incident Report is prepared at the time of the arrest/booking process and is subject to being supplemented, clarified, or modified as additional information is learned or corroborated in the course of an ongoing investigation/prosecution.

A Preliminary Law Enforcement Incident Report shall be in addition to, not in lieu of, any regular police arrest, incident, or investigation report(s) subsequently prepared pursuant to the agency’s standard operating procedure, policy, and/or customary practices, or at the prosecutor’s request.”

Once again, we see gamesmanship and efforts to side-step the laws that our state’s chief law enforcement officer is supposed to enforce. The language “or immediate need” as used above makes no sense and no effort is made to explain it. Logic dictates that pretrial services, judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys need as much information as possible in determining whether conditions of pretrial release are appropriate as well as what those conditions should be. This looks like thinly-veiled language encouraging law enforcement to omit information that undermines the alleged strength of their case against a suspect.