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Press release - Grade? C-

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

McHenry County, Illinois

Press release - Grade? C-

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
December 10, 2010

Take a look at this press release from the Crystal Lake (Ill.) Police Department. Look not so much at what it says, but rather how it says it.

This is what cops go to school for - to learn how to write reports and to write press releases. Police institutes provide instruction to students; law enforcement students follow the instructions. It probably doesn't matter that a fourth-grade student would say, "Huh?"

Anyone care to critique this press release and suggest how it could have been written to inform the public of the essentials of the incident and arrest?

"On December 1st, 2010 at around 04:39 am, a Crystal Lake police officer attempted to conduct a traffic stop on a black 1998 Ford Explorer. The officer’s attention was drawn to the vehicle as it was speeding approximately 30 mph over the posted speed limit (30 mph zone). The officer positioned his police cruiser in order to affect a traffic stop. The subject failed to stop, and the Officer continued to attempt compliance. The offending vehicle traveled east bound Route 176 and then northbound on Terra Cotta Road entering a residential sub-division. While on Glenbrook Road the suspect vehicle entered a cul-de-sac, the officer stopped his police cruiser, at which time the suspect intentionally rammed the marked police cruiser head-on. The suspect vehicle and police cruiser were both disabled following the collision. The suspect then fled the scene on foot and could not be located.

"The subsequent investigation revealed that the black Ford Explorer was stolen out of Lake County, Illinois and the offender was identified as Jakob D. Nelson (M/W, D.O.B. 06/28/1993) of 23543 N. Cottage Rd., Lake Zurich, IL.

"The incident was reviewed by the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office. The following criminal charges were approved during the felony review process. One count of Possession of Stolen Motor Vehicle (Class 2 Felony), one count Aggravated Battery (Class 2 felony), three counts Criminal Damage to Government Supported Property (Class 3 Felony) and one count of Aggravated Fleeing and Eluding (Class 4 Felony). Jakob D. Nelson turned himself in to the Crystal Lake Police Department on December 9, 2010 and TOT MCSO as he was unable to post bond ($60,000). His court date is set for December 14, 2010.

"Note: The officer involved in the original incident sustained only minor injuries requiring no immediate attention."

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