“I wish I would have drank more last night”
Have you ever noticed no one ever says these words?
No one ever complains that they had a crummy night because they didn’t have those extra three tequila shots. Nobody ever says how stupid they were because they didn’t finish the whole bottle. But we have all heard complaints from those (including me) who regret their excesses.
Policing is no different. No investigator ever says “boy I wish I wouldn’t have made so many notes”
This never happens. Our problem is almost always because we don’t make enough notes. Like regretting over consumption, many of us have experienced the pain of under-preparation and going to court with only a few pages of notes for what amounts to a significant investigation. This is that sick feeling in your gut when you realized your lack of notes is now the ammunition the defence will use to make their case while embarrassing you. It doesn’t matter what it is- it just matters that whatever you left out will now become the crucial element the defence will use to further their case.
You were there- you saw it-you experienced it but for some reason you didn’t include this pertinent fact in your notes. You know your about to get publicly clobbered and you begin secretly hoping for a plea bargain so you don’t end up in the media looking like a dufus.
Worse yet- don’t you hate it when your “Will Say” statement is considerably longer than your actual notes? Why does this happen and what can we do about it?
This site offers some great tips and advice for anyone who is about to testify.
Whether your an experienced cop or a civilian about to take the stand, take a minute and refresh your memory on what is expected of you in court.
Remember -following this advice for a successful day in court is predicated on having complete and comprehensive notes.
So take your time, make detailed, copious notes.
Even if you had that extra tequila the night before; having complete, detailed notes will ease that tension and ensure that you did everything possible for your case.