Chicago Police DepartmentSpecial Order S09-05-01
Department Reports and Letters of Clearance
Issue Date:13 August 2003Effective Date:14 August 2003
Rescinds:S03-13-01
Index Category:Information Management
I.Purpose
This directive:
  • A.defines the Department’s reporting standards and establishes their issuing authority.
  • B.specifies requirements and responsibilities for preparing official Department reports.
  • C.establishes the procedures by which the general public may obtain Department reports or a Letter of Clearance (CPD-31.421 or 31.422 or 31.423).
II.Reporting Standards
  • A.Field Reporting Manual (CPD-63.450)
    • 1.The Field Reporting Manual establishes the standards and procedures for the completion of incident case reports. The manual is issued in the name of the Superintendent and authenticated by the command staff member of the Research and Development Division.
    • 2.The Policy and Procedure Section of the Research and Development Division will maintain and update the Field Reporting Manual.
  • B.Incident Reporting Guide (CPD-63.451)
    • 1.The Incident Reporting Guide lists the established Illinois Uniform Crime Reporting (I-UCR) codes, offense classifications, incident descriptions, report types, and location codes. This guide is issued in the name of the Superintendent and authenticated by the command staff member of the Research and Development Division.
    • 2.The Research and Analysis Section, Research and Development Division will maintain and update the Incident Reporting Guide and the related reporting standards, codes, code tables, and informational guides.
III.Department Reports
  • A.General Functions
    Department reports provide:
    • 1.an accurate record of the official actions of Department members concerning matters of police concern;
    • 2.necessary information to Department members and personnel from other authorized agencies to facilitate the completion of an effective investigation;
    • 3.information needed to determine the efficient assignment and distribution of Department personnel and resources;
    • 4.a basis for supervisors to evaluate work performance and provide guidance to subordinates;
    • 5.data for statistical analysis, appraising crime conditions, and evaluating the effectiveness of law enforcement strategies;
    • 6.protection against groundless accusations against Department members;
    • 7.a record of victims’ injuries or property loss or damage; and
    • 8.documentation relating to court orders and subpoenas in civil and criminal proceedings.
  • B.Illinois Supreme Court Discovery Rule
    Illinois Supreme Court Rule 412 governs the discovery of relevant evidence and reports to a requesting defense attorney. Subject to discovery under Rule 412 are written or recorded statements of defendants or witnesses, memoranda containing substantially verbatim reports of oral statements of defendants or witnesses, Department reports, other documents, notes, photographs, or tangible objects which the prosecutor intends to use in a hearing or trial. Additionally, materials or information which would be discoverable if in the possession or control of the prosecuting attorney but which are in the possession or control of other governmental personnel shall also be made available for use by the defendant’s counsel.
  • C.Completion of Preliminary Case Reports
    • 1.Detailed instructions for the completion of a case report are listed in the Field Reporting Manual. Members will follow these instructions when completing any case report.
    • 2.Members will complete and submit all preliminary case reports within their tour of duty.
    • 3.Members who complete a case report by using an automated application (such as AIRA, CHRIS, or CLEAR) will provide all necessary information required by the application’s fields in the manner described in this directive, the Field Reporting Manual, Incident Reporting Guide, and the user’s manual for the application.
    • 4.Every case report will be classified consistent with the Field Reporting Manual and the standards of the I-UCR program as indicated in the Incident Reporting Guide.
      • a.Reporting classifications will be selected based upon the facts of each incident.
      • b.Once the appropriate classifications have been determined, the member will obtain a Records Division (RD) number by choosing the corresponding I-UCR code from the Incident Reporting Guide and:
        • (1)requesting that the dispatcher assign an RD number or;
        • (2)entering the required information in the appropriate computer menu screen on either a (PCAD) terminal located in a unit or a PDT or:
        • (3)contacting the administrative desk of the Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC).
      • c.In lieu of an I-UCR code for Traffic Crash Reports, members will use the:
        • (1)Code 99A for Type A traffic crashes.
        • (2)Code 99B for Type B traffic crashes.
    • 5.Members will accurately record the RD number in the designated box(es) on the report or in the application.
    • 6.For each report, members will obtain the OEMC "event number," which is a daily sequential numbering of all incidents reported to the OEMC. For reporting purposes, the event number consists of the last five digits of the sequential number.
      • a.On traffic crash reports, the event number will be listed in the bottom margin of the report, directly below the signature box of the reporting member, and will be designated as "Event #" followed by the five digits.
      • b.In all other case reports, the event number will be recorded in the specified box or, if no specified box, as the first item in the narrative as "Event #" followed by the five digits.
    • 7.When assigned to a bona fide traffic crash investigation and the member discovers criminal or noncriminal activity that needs documentation, the member will complete both a Traffic Crash Report and the appropriate case report to document the criminal or noncriminal activity. The member will obtain a separate RD number for each report, with the first RD number assigned to the traffic crash.
    • 8.If a complaint is determined to be unfounded before an RD number has been obtained, the reporting member will not complete a case report and will handle the assignment consistent with the procedures established in the Department directive entitled "Miscellaneous Incident Reporting Procedures."
    • 9.If a complaint is determined to be unfounded after an RD number has been obtained, the reporting member will note in the narrative portion of the appropriate report that the incident is to be unfounded.
    • 10.Reporting members will inform the victim/complainant of the RD number and provide a completed Victim Information Notice (CPD-11.380 Part 3) to the victim / complainant when applicable.
  • D.Case Report Signatures
    Members working a two-person beat car and completing a case report will personally sign the reports in the appropriate spaces. However, one member may sign for a second member by signing the second member’s name and placing the first member’s initials and star number immediately following the second member’s signature only if all of the following circumstances are met:
    • 1.the second member is unable or unavailable to sign; and
    • 2.the member actually completing the report advised the second member of the content of the report; and
    • 3.the second member gave the first member permission to sign the report on behalf of the second member.
  • E.Supervisory Review of Case Reports
    Supervisors will:
    • 1.promptly review submitted reports.
    • 2.return to the submitting member any report which is found to be incomplete, incorrect, or insufficient.
    • 3.ensure that only reports which have been properly completed and are acceptable are signed or otherwise designated as approved and forwarded for processing. Acceptable reports are those which:
      • a.are designated with classifications that are supported by the narrative consistent with the standards established in the Incident Reporting Guide.
      • b.have narratives that describe the facts of the incident.
      • c.contain all essential information such as victim’s name and address, contact phone numbers, address of occurrence, and other required information such as notifications and descriptions and identifying numbers of stolen, lost, or found property.
      • d.indicate that the reporting member conducted a thorough and complete preliminary investigation.
  • F.Completion of Arrest Reports and Related Documents
    • 1.Arrest Report Form Sets
      • a.Members will complete all un-shaded fields of an Arrest Report and ensure that the narrative of the report includes sufficient information to establish probable cause to arrest, substantiating each element of each charge placed against an arrestee.
      • b.The arresting member will sign the affirmation statement on the bottom of the narrative section of both the Permanent Record-Records Division (white) and Court Sergeant (blue) pages of all arrest reports in the presence of a Department member sworn as a deputy clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County.
      • c.The Department member acting as a deputy clerk will witness the arresting officer signing the affirmation statement before affixing his or her own signature on both pages of the reports.
    • 2.Automated Application for Arrests
      • a.Members will complete all required fields of the arrest application and ensure that the narrative includes sufficient information to establish probable cause to arrest, substantiating each element of each charge placed against an arrestee.
      • b.The signature and affirmation requirements listed in Item III-D will be satisfied by the member entering their own PC login into the application at the beginning of the reporting process or by such other digital or electronic process of authentication and approval as established in the related computer application.
  • G.Court Complaints
    • 1.Prior to submitting a court complaint to a complainant for their signature, members will indicate on the complaint:
      • a.the defendant’s name;
      • b.the complainant’s name;
      • c.the related charge information and corresponding date of the offense; and
      • d.the elements of the offense to be charged and the corresponding description of the offender’s actions which substantiate those elements.
    • 2.A member acting as a deputy clerk will witness the complainant signing the court complaint before affixing their own signature on the document.
IV.Public Access to Reports
  • A.Members of the general public may obtain a copy of a case report or other document containing information to substantiate a personal injury or a loss or damage to property. Such reports, except for Traffic Crash Reports, will be reviewed by Department personnel prior to their release in order to remove the investigative and statement portions as well as other such sensitive information. Members of the general public may initiate this process:
    • 1.in person, at Central Police Headquarters with the payment of the applicable fee as designated in Item IV-B.
    • 2.by mail:
      • a.addressed to Chicago Police Department, Records Inquiry and Customer Service Section, Unit 163
      • b.including the following information:
        • (1)the victim’s or reporting person’s name and address,
        • (2)the type and location of incident,
        • (3)the RD number,
      • c.accompanied by a:
        • (1)self-addressed stamped envelope;
        • (2)check or money order payable to the "Department of Revenue, City of Chicago" in the amount of the payment of the applicable fee as designated in Item IV-B.
  • B.Applicable Fees
    • 1.$.50 for each copy of a case report.
    • 2.$5.00 for each Traffic Crash Report (CPD-22.110)
    • 3.$20.00 for a report generated by an accident reconstruction officer or accident reconstruction team in the case of traffic crash.
  • C.If a member of the general public is unsatisfied with an edited report and requests full disclosure of the information contained in any official Department report, the requester will be advised to submit a request for such information under the Freedom of Information Act to the Manager, Records Services Division consistent with the procedures established in the directive Freedom of Information.
V.Letters of Clearance
  • A.A Letter of Clearance (CPD-31.421 or 31.422 or 31.423) is a letter that certifies whether or not a person has been convicted of a criminal offense (excluding traffic or minor regulatory ordinances). This letter is issued for passport, immigration, or adoption purposes only and cannot provide a character reference or identification.
  • B.Members of the general public requesting a Letter of Clearance must request such letters in person at the Records Inquiry and Customer Service Section, Records Services Division. Requesters can obtain these letters only for themselves, not for any other person, and will be required to present proper photo identification at the time of processing. A fee will be charged at the time of processing.
  • C.Department members receiving requests for a Letter of Clearance will direct such inquiring persons to the Records Inquiry and Customer Service Section, Records Services Division.
VI.Limited Authority for Signing Another Department Member's Signature to Any Official Departmental Document
Normally, members are required to sign their own name on any official Departmental document. However, a member may sign another member’s name to an official Departmental document ONLY if all of the following criteria are met:
  • A.The member whose signature is needed is not immediately available; AND
  • B.The member signing another member’s name indicates that he or she has signed for another by adding a slash and their own initials after the signature; AND
  • C.The member signing another member’s name believes in good faith that the member whose name he or she is signing has knowledge of the information contained in the document; AND
  • D.The member signing another member’s signature has permission from the unavailable member to sign the report on their behalf.
Terry G. Hillard
Superintendent of Police
03-042 LMT/TJL(PMD)[LBM]