While the interaction is happening, it might not be safe to take notes. But it is a good idea to try to remember as many details as you can and to write them down immediately afterwards, in the order in which they happened, including:
What Can I Do If My Rights Were Violated?
Should I take notes during an interaction with police?
- The police officers’ names, badge numbers, division numbers, police car numbers and licence plates – if you can see them safely.
- Anyone else who was there at the time, including friends and bystanders. Include, if you can, their names and phone numbers. If you do not know their names, write down their descriptions.
- Write down what happened before, during, and after the interaction – what were you doing? What did the police do?
- If you were charged with an offence, what was the offence?
- Were you detained, questioned, asked for ID?
- Did you get a ticket, a receipt, or any other document?
- Were you searched? What was searched? Did the police ask for your consent?
- Were you given the opportunity to speak to a lawyer? What about a parent or guardian if you are under 18? At what point were you given this opportunity?
- Be sure to write down specifics of where everyone was during the interaction.
- The date and times of key parts of the interaction – be as specific as you can.
- Be sure to include when police approached you and how long the interaction was.
- If you don’t remember specific times, use approximate times, and try to write down the order in which things happened.
- Did the police give a reason why they were stopping you?