How to Obtain Copies of Police Reports

In domestic relations cases, particularly in those that involve domestic violence and/or children, parties will want to obtain copies of police reports which don’t necessarily name them within them.  For example, maybe there was a domestic violence incident at your child’s other parent’s home between the other parent and a third party.  People often wonder how they can obtain copies of these reports.  One way to do so is through the Freedom of Information Act, or, to make a “FOIA” request.

The Freedom of Information Act allows third parties to make a request for a police report, any police report.  Every police precinct has their own procedure for obtaining these documents, but it generally requires some basic information about the parties named, an address, and filling out a form/application with the police department.  Once this information is requested, the police reports will be mailed to you.  However, a lot of the personal information of the people listed is redacted, so it typically isn’t admissible in Court.  In order to obtain copies without the personal information redacted, usually a subpoena has to be sent.  In any event, a police report, to be admissible, generally requires the police officer who completed the report attend the hearing and certify the authenticity, as well as be subject to cross-examination.

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