Reporting Vehicles to Law Enforcement

by Bill Froehlich

from the Column “Bill on Justice” on Scanner Group

Save the Vehicle Information Card on this page to your phone to have a quick guide on what information to collect immediately after an incident.

Key Points for Citizens Reporting Vehicles:

  • The #1 identifier you should obtain is LICENSE PLATE NUMBER.

  • Collect all information you can including common like color and info that sets the vehicle apart, like logos, stickers, and gear.

Last time, we covered description skills related to two legged bandits. Today we will discuss bandits with four wheels.

Vehicles come in many different shapes, sizes and colors. This relates to color, make and model. Sounds easy to say, but all of us are up against a large amount of information to memorize and then disseminate to others.

The NUMBER ONE, and I repeat, the NUMBER ONE descriptor is the LICENSE PLATE NUMBER. Registration information shows the owner and if the vehicle or plate is stolen.

The following identifiers need to be provided:

  1. Color(s)
  2. Make
  3. Model
  4. How many doors
  5. Tinted windows
  6. Dents or damage
  7. Fancy wheels
  8. Any other descriptors that may set this vehicle apart from another.
  9. Driver description and how many occupants
  10. Direction of travel and street

Things to practice:

  1. Plate information-numbers and letters
    a. Learn the dispatch phonetic alphabet (extra credit)
  2. Vehicle logos on the trunk area, such as Honda, Toyota, Ford, etc.
  3. Vehicle logos on the hood area
  4. While sitting at a red light, look at a few plates and recite to yourself using the alphabet,
    the plate information and then the make, color and model of the vehicle.
  5. Practice identifying vehicles by looking at the descriptors in the order listed above.
  6. Verbal practice will place you in a regimented vernacular when you have to report the
    information to a dispatcher or officer.
  7. AND, of course, the reason for the problem.
  8. After PRACTICE, it will become second nature and you will have fun doing it.

Again; remember, it could be your description of the bandit’s vehicle who preyed upon another person, or closer to home, you; that gets him