How to Cite Police Reports

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Reliable sources are essential when writing a school paper. Government reports are considered very reliable sources, as are police reports. Information such as the facts of a crime, witness statements and even the parties involved can be gleaned from a police report. Though there do not appear to be hard and fast rules for citing police reports, there is a way to adapt MLA and APA rules in order to cite police reports in your next paper.

In MLA Format

  • Use the MLA rules for citing a government document. Use the name of the officer writing the report as the author. Use the last name first and separate it by a comma.

  • Place a period and then the name of the police department. In italics type the name of the report. Add a period afterward.

  • Type the name of the city where the report was created, a colon, the police department and precinct number, another comma and the date. Use the MLA standard abbreviation "Dept." in place of the full word. State the date as the numeric date, the month abbreviation and then the year.

  • Place a period, then the word "Print" and another period.

  • Use the in-text citation rules. These rules require the author's last name, and the page on which the information is found, to be listed inside parenthesis, separated by a comma. If the author's name is used in the text requiring citation, then omit this name and the comma from the parenthesis. Use the department name in place of the author name if no author is identified.

In APA Format

  • Use the APA rules for citing government documents. Type the name of the officer writing the report, last name first, separated by a comma.

  • Add a period and then the year that the report was written, followed by a period. Next, type the official name of the document in italics. Add another period.

  • Type the number given for the report, a period, and then the name of the police department where the report was written. Add a colon and the name of the specific department that the officer/author belongs to. End with a period.

  • Use one of three APA in-text citation methods. State the year of the report and the author name in the text, or state the author name, followed immediately by the year in parenthesis. You may also put both the author's last name and the year in the parenthesis, separated by a comma.

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