Things to Remember When Requesting a Police Report

MPD

Police reports can be a vital source of information when investigating any personal injury claim.  This is because the police arrive on scene almost immediately, are able to investigate the collision, and they make an initial determination of who was at fault.  Police reports can provide an attorney with key information in the early investigation of a claim.  For this reason, one of the first things we ask clients when they come in is if there was a police report taken at the scene.  If so, it is one of the first things we request.

Anyone that has requested a police report can tell you that it isn’t always as easy as you think it might be.   There are a number of things that can delay a report being ready.  It may be that the client doesn’t have the report number, or the officer may not have processed the paperwork yet, or maybe he did, but there was a mistake and it had to be sent back to him for correction.  Since we are located in Washington DC, most of the reports I request are from the DC Metropolitan Police Department.  Generally when I request a police report, I just walk down to the station by our office and pick it up in person.  When I recently requested a report, I discovered that they now require anyone not named in the report to provide a copy of a retainer agreement, or a notarized letter signed by the client authorizing them to release the report.  Although this isn’t a very onerous requirement, if you’re like me and didn’t know about it, you may end up taking a second trip down to the station, or the report may be delayed for a couple days if you’re mailing the request.  We have since added an authorization letter as part of our standard intake documents that the client signs so that anyone named in the letter can pick up the report.

There are couple important things to remember when requesting a police report, regardless which police department you are dealing with.  First, if you don’t have the report number, don’t worry, they can look up it up by the date, time, and location of the crash.  Second, always call and see if the report is available before submitting your request.  Third, and most importantly, if you are the person named in the report, then you do not need to include a processing fee, as most departments will provide you with a free copy of the report.  I thought it might be helpful if I listed the information for some of the police departments that I frequently request reports from in the Metro D.C. area. Because each police department has slightly different procedures for requesting a report, you will want to contact the department directly, but the information below should be a good place to start.

Washington D.C.

Metropolitan Police Department

Police reports can be picked up at any station.

Or submit your request by mail to:

Public Documents Section
MPDC Headquarters
300 Indiana Avenue, NW
Room 3075

T: 202.727.4357

Include a $3.00 check payable to DC Treasurer.

Maryland:

Maryland State Police

Website: http://www.mdsp.org/Downloads.aspx

Submit your request by mail to:

Central Records Division
Maryland State Police
1711 Belmont Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21244

Montgomery County Police Department

You can order non-fatal reports online at http://www2.montgomerycountymd.gov/VARPS/Home.aspx

T: 240.773.5330

Email: Police.VARPS@montgomerycountymd.gov

Reports are usually published online five to seven days after the crash.

Anne Arundel County Police Department

Submit your request online at: www.aacounty.org/Police/PublicRecords.cfm#.Un0BQCfsYTA

Or by Mail:

Anne Arundel County Police Department
Central Records
8495 Veteran’s Highway
Millersville, MD 21108

T: 410.222.8750

Include a $6.00 check and a self-addressed stamped envelope.

Prince George’s County Police Department

Your can request reports via the automated request line at 301.985.3660

Or by Mail:

Police Records Center
4923 43rd Avenue
Hyattsville, MD 20781-2020

Include a $10.00 check and a self-addressed stamped envelope.

Virginia:

Virginia State Police

Effective July 1, 2013 Virginia State Police no longer provide copies of Virginia Accident Reports.  Any requests must be submitted to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles.

Virginia DMV

Website: www.dmv.virginia.gov/general/#records/accident.asp

Submit your written request by mail, fax, or email.

Mail:

Virginia Department of Motor Vehicle
Customer Records Work Center
Room 514
Post Office Box 27412
Richmond, VA 23269

Fax: 804.367.0390

Email: CustomerRecords@dmv.virginia.gov

Include a $8.00 check if requesting by mail, or pay by credit card if faxing or emailing the request

Arlington County Police Department

You can download a copy of the report online at www.crashdocs.org/va-arlingtoncounty.

Or by mail at:

Arlington County Police Department
1425 North Courthouse Road
Suite 2100
Arlington, VA 22201

T: 703.228.4292

Include a $3.00 check.

Fairfax County Police Department

Website: www.fairfaxcounty.gov/police/services/records-check.htm#TrafficCrashReports

Submit you request by mail to:

Fairfax County Police Department
Central Records Section
10600 Page Avenue
Fairfax, VA 22030

T: 703.691.2131

Include a $5.00 check and a self-addressed stamped envelope.

Fairfax City Police Department

Submit your request online at www.crashdocs.org/va-cityoffairfax

Or by mail:

Fairfax City Police Department
Attn: Records
3730 Old Lee Highway
Fairfax, VA 22030-1800

T: 703.385.7950

Include a $5.00 check.

Loudoun County Sherriff’s Office

Submit your request by mail:

Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office
880 Harrison Street SE
Leesburg, VA 20175

T: 703.777.0627

Include a $10.00 check and a self-addressed stamped envelope.

Prince William County Police Department

Download the report online at www.pwcgov.org/government/dept/police/Pages/Crash-Reports-On-Line.aspx

If you can’t get the report online, call 703.792.6590.