This week our class met with J.D. Callaway, Public Information Officer for the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. This week’s speaker I think was by far the most informative one yet.
Everyone received hand-outs of all the many forms deputies must fill out for the various crimes committed. Having these documents helps us “beginning reporters” figure out what all the cop lingo means and how we can write a story from it.
The one that I found to be most helpful for reporters is the criminal report affidavit or C.R.A. for short. This document gives the reporter all of the beginnings of a story. The who, what, when, and where.
If you’re pressed for time and can’t make it to the jail, and you need some basics, then the charge report is good document to get. Minutes after someone is booked into jail, the charge report can be viewed and printed on-line. In this document the reporter can see a picture of the accused, address, date of birth and all of the charges.
Something interesting Callaway said was when deputies or firefighters are arrested, their home address is not listed on the charge report. One thing this class has taught me though, you can use other public records to get their address if need be!
Another piece of great information given was about traffic crash reports. Callaway said these documents are only available to the parties involved, insurance companies and attorney’s. All others must wait six months. This is so ambulance chasers can’t get their greedy little hands on the victims personal information and bombard them with inquiries on if they need a lawyer.
This week’s winner for most valuable tips- there is a three records a day rule, so choose your records carefully and be prepared to make many trips to the sheriff’s office!
Good page to bookmark: