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police reports

Police departments strive to collect and disseminate police report information in a timely and accurate manner. Police report information reflects crimes as reported to the police department as of the current date.

Crime classifications included in police reports are based on preliminary information given to the police department by the reporting parties—and the preliminary classifications may be changed at a later date based upon additional investigation. Therefore, police departments do not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, timeliness, or correct sequencing of the information contained in police reports.

Due to the preliminary nature of police reports, media outlets and other interested parties should make a diligent effort to confirm any information not included in news or press releases issued by the police department prior to reporting it or otherwise relying on the information. Information contained in police reports can generally be confirmed by contacting the police department’s public relations office.

Police departments often provide access to criminal offense reports on their websites. But in the process of providing this information about reported criminal incidents, police departments must also comply with current laws that regulate the release of potentially sensitive and confidential information.

To ensure that privacy rights are protected and legal standards are met, the following categories of information will generally not be made available on a police department’s website:

• Sexually oriented offenses

• Offenses where juveniles or children (individuals under 18 years of age) are involved

• Reference to individuals considered suspects and witnesses

• Listing of property items that are considered evidence

• Offenses deemed “Attempted Suicide”

• Individuals who believe that additional or more complete information is warranted are encouraged to submit a public information request, per state law.

In Texas, police departments aim to provide timely and accurate police report information, which includes crime classifications based on initial reports. These classifications may be subject to change following further investigation, and the departments do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information. Media and other parties are advised to verify information through the police department's public relations office before dissemination. While police departments may offer access to criminal offense reports online, they must adhere to laws protecting sensitive and confidential information. Consequently, certain information, such as sexually oriented offenses, juvenile-related incidents, suspect and witness identities, evidence items, and attempted suicide cases, is typically withheld from online publication. Individuals seeking more detailed information can file a public information request in accordance with Texas state law, which includes the Texas Public Information Act (Government Code Chapter 552), allowing the public to access government records with certain exceptions for privacy and confidentiality.

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