Note All Conditions, Events & Remarks

Sometimes during an emergency which requires a security officer to render first aid or assist in other emergency procedures, actual note taking may not be possible. However, as soon as possible after an incident, the security officer must reconstruct the order of events. If little or no notes were taken, before writing an incident report, the security officer should make notes of all relevant conditions, starting with when the officer was first notified of the incident.

The following items may be of critical importance when documenting the incident:

  • Date
  • Time
  • Location
  • Weather Conditions
  • Witnesses
  • Complainant
  • Physical Descriptions
  • Clothing
  • Odor or smells
  • Statements made by victim, witnesses or suspect

The essential parts of any report are the facts. Names, descriptions of individuals, vehicles, buildings, surroundings, correct dates and times are critical when attempting to reconstruct on paper what actually took place.

Often a report is written several minutes or several hours after an event has occurred. People who can provide answers may no longer be available for questioning.

Every security officer or supervisor should always carry a pen and small pocket notebook in order to document key facts as they occur. Names, titles and even descriptions can often be quickly noted even during an emergency. This information can prove to be critical months later.

The following are some helpful hints to remember when you are reconstructing the incident from your notes in preparation for writing your report:

  1. Write what happened in chronological order. What happened first, then what happened next, and next, etc.
  2. Be sure to include all names, positions, titles, and department numbers of all employees.
  3. Include names, addresses and, if possible, social security numbers of all non-employees who either witnessed or were involved.
  4. Explain in plain, simple English what happened. If you mention a building by its name or number, give its location as well. Remember, many people who read this report are not as familiar with directions and location as you are.
  5. When you begin to write your report, constantly refer to your notes. Don’t include your opinion or comments and don’t editorialize. You can give your opinion or comments about the incident in person to your superior.
  6. Don’t discard your notes. Keep them until your superior advises you to discard them.
  7. Write your report before you leave work. Leaving the job before your report is written gives a bad impression of your security department.