Police Blotter Law and Legal Definition

Police blotter is a slang term that is used in police practice and procedures. It refers to a book that records arrests and other facts and events in a police station, on a daily basis. Arrests are recorded in a police blotter as they occur. Details such as name, age, and address of the suspect/person arrested, time and place of an incident, name of the officer who responded to the incident, and name of the victim/complaining person should be included in a police blotter.

Federal and state Freedom of Information laws mandate police agencies to keep a record of daily activities at the police station. Such records are known as police blotters. These records can be inspected by the public. Local newspapers review these blotters to print arrests or notable activities.

The following is an example of a state statute (Pennsylvania) defining the term.

According to 18 Pa.C.S. § 9102, "police blotter" means a “a chronological listing of arrests, usually documented contemporaneous with the incident, which may include, but is not limited to, the name and address of the individual charged and the alleged offenses.”