Once upon a time, police reports had just a page of boxes to fill out under the title Incident Report. The form required the officer to name or describe the suspect ("collared shirt, jeans, thin facial hair"); name the victim and his/her sex, date of birth, address, and phone number; and name the location and nature of the crime. After filling in these sections, the cop would then write the NT, the narrative of what happened. For example: "I was dispatched to a car prowl at the above listed address. On scene, I contacted the complainant/victim, who verbally identified himself as John Marcus Wilson. He told me the following..." That simple form is now no more. The new police report, which went into circulation about three months ago, has four pages of boxes and categories that must be filled in before an officer begins the NT.

The new police report wants to know everything. It has four main categories: one for the victim, one for the suspect, one for the property or place, and one for the general offense. Each category is a dense field of boxes. For example, the form for the victim, Entity Victim Person Form, requires the officer to determine if he/she/thing has a residential status, is on drugs or drunk, is armed, is in a car, and if in a car, where in the car—front left, front middle, front right, middle left, middle middle, middle right, rear left, rear middle, rear right, truck bed, trunk. It also wants the cop to declare the relationship status of the victim. Here is half of that list:

Relationship unknown

Victim was a Babysittee (baby)

Victim was Boyfriend/Girlfriend

Victim was Child of Boyfriend/Girlfriend

Victim was Grandparent

Victim was Grandchild

Victim was Spouse

Victim was Homosexual Relationship

Victim was Offender

Victim was Stranger

(I had no idea a relationship could be a victim.)

There is also a section for the "Assault Circumstances"—Assault of an Officer, Criminal Killed by Officer, Criminal Killed by a Private Citizen, Organized Crime Involvement, Mercy Killing, Hunting Accident, Gun-Cleaning Incident, Other Negligent Killings. (I had no idea people hunted with guns in the city limits.)

Out of all the sections in the categories, and there are so many of them, the one at the bottom of the form for General Offense Report, "Bias/Anti (Hate Crimes)," has the most curious list of victims. To name but a few:

Anti-Atheist/Agnostic/Etc.

Anti-Multiple Racial Group

Anti-Mental Disability

Anti-Protestant

Anti-Sensory Disability

(All that is missing from the list is Anti-Anti Hate Crimes.)

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How an officer's head must ache when he/she looks over these forms. How he/she must long for the days when all he/she had to do was write the race, the age, the sex, the date, the crime, and the NT. recommended

mudede@thestranger.com