Public Communication has enjoyed a big boost with the advent of the Internet and Public Arrest Reports is one of the biggest beneficiaries. Through this medium, they are now reaching more people more efficiently with more effect. The main objective of posting these periodical reports publicly is to keep people informed of arrests made by the authorities. In a way, those who might be having ulterior ideas are also warned.
An Arrest Report is a record by law enforcement authorities of apprehensions that lead to detention or confinement. It constitutes a list of all arrestees with their personal details plus other information surrounding the incidents together with the ensuing charges if any. Individually, they form part of the Public Arrest Records of the offender.
Public Arrest Reports are commonly referred to as Public Police Reports as they are predominantly generated by the Police. Having that said, there are other enforcement authorities that are also in the capacity to do so. Although there may be variations from one state to another, it is also a general practice that Public Arrest Reports are befittingly taken charge of by the Police.
By procedures, an Arrest Report is prepared shortly after an arrest is made to record the incident in official document. It is then submitted to an assigned Case Intake official, who is usually the assigned Prosecutor for subsequent action. The report would detail all the facts pertaining to the arrest. In general, they present the personal particulars and bio-data of the arrestee, the time and place of occurrence, case number and type, witness information, surrounding factors like weather conditions, crowd, noise and so forth.
Free Arrest Reports are posted on various media by many Police Departments and Sheriff Offices for public viewing and attention. Weekly update is the norm but there is no fixed schedule, with some as frequent as live and some at monthly intervals. Cumulative lists over the years are also commonly available. Such reports are usually of a collective nature listing all arrests conducted over a certain period within a particular locality. Expunged records and those of arrestees below a certain age are usually omitted.
The primary purpose of Public Arrest Reports is to document those incidents on record. Being effectively an official statement, it is also often used as evidence or substantiation to make charging decision by the Prosecutor or Grand Jury. Although it is well known that Public Arrest Reports are almost always one-sided, it will still have a strong bearing upon the Prosecutor in his willingness to plea bargain, trial tactics and case approach.
Public Arrest Reports are considered as a public service. They can thus be requested from government agencies tasked with the function as long as procedures are followed. An alternative and preferred way to retrieve them is by purchasing them from commercial information providers. On top of government sources, they also tap into private and proprietary information networks, often coming up with extras but fees are charged.