police records

Incident Logs

A police department keeps an incident log of citizen calls for assistance, accident investigations and reports of crimes. The logs will include some details on the circumstances of the calls. These logs generally are presumed to be public.

These are the details about incidents reported to police (which are often referred to as public requests for assistance or complaints, and which also include accident reports) that should be made public under the California Public Records Act:

  • Time and date of the incident or complaint
  • Location of the complaint
  • The substance of the complaint
  • Time, date and nature of the police response
  • Time and date of any police report on the incident
  • Name and age of the victim (although this information is withheld in the case of many specific crimes, such as sexual assault, and it can be withheld at the request of the victim)
  • The factual circumstances surrounding the incident
  • A general description of any injuries, property, or weapons involved in the incident

However, even these details can be withheld if "disclosure of a particular item of information would endanger the safety of a person involved in an investigation or would endanger the successful completion of the investigation or a related investigation."

What's Available Online - Sample Incident Logs

Some police departments put their incident or report logs online.

Here are some examples:

California Highway Patrol

California Highway Patrol Traffic Incident Log

To see San Francisco Bay Area traffic incidents, click on the Communication Centers drop-down menu at the top left and select Golden Gate. To decipher abbreviations used in the incident logs, in the drop-down menu under Resources in the upper right select Glossary.

Berkeley Police Department

Berkeley Police Department Daily Calls for Service Log

Posted daily in pdf format.

Martinez Police Department

Martinez Police Department Daily Log

Posted daily in pdf format.

Palo Alto Police Department

Palo Alto Police Department Report Log

Posted daily in pdf format.

Davis Police Department

Davis Police Department Arrest Log & Daily Activity Log

Combines log of arrests and incident log.