Streamlining Police Officer Paperwork with Word and Visual Basic

My VB Project Is An Official Police Department Form

My officers are required to submit a “Statement in Support of Warrantless Arrest” (Warrantless Arrest) and a “Determination of Probable Cause” (PC) to the courts when arresting someone on new charges. Much of the same information on the Warrantless Arrest such as the subject’s name, the subject’s date of birth, date and time of arrest and crimes charged, etc. are also required on the PC. I wanted to find a way to allow officers to only enter that information once. More info can be found on the main project page.

Approved for use!

On July 30, 2015 my deputy chief approved the use of my Combined Probable Cause and Warrantless Arrest Form and made it available to patrol officers. The form was created by modifying current forms and creating Visual Basic code to retrieve information and populate the form.

The two biggest issues I had was getting feedback from my officers during development enabling spellcheck from the document.

You would think working on a project that would make the officers’ work easier would mean that I would have plenty of willing testers. I did not. Luckily, the head of our Records Department was great at testing the form and responding quickly which allowed me to finish the project.

Enabling spellcheck was a pain because I needed to keep the document protected, but also allow spellcheck for the narrative officers have to write to complete the Warrantless Arrest. I also had to make sure the functionality was baked into the document since officers would be using different computers to complete the form. Here is what I ended up creating:


The orange text is set to only visible on the screen. It then unprotects the document, checks spelling, then protects the document after it is done. I realize this is not the most secure way and that I’m sure if someone wanted to bork up the document it wouldn’t be hard, but it works for this case.

I’m looking forward to working on a few more projects to improve things at my department, but for now, this one is done!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *