Are You Writing What You THINK You Know?

Are you writing what you think you know

I’ve been writing this blog for nearly five years, and I have to say it’s sometimes tough to come up with a new topic each and every day. However, as long as writers continue to write stories about cops and crime, I suppose there’ll always be questions that need answering.

Today, though, I thought I’d put the shoe on a different foot and have you, the blog reader, answer the questions. I want to see just how much you know about the world of cops and robbers. After all, it’s what you write…right?

So here goes…

(By the way, I’ve seen each of these used incorrectly in at least one book, or on someone’s blog)

1. Revolvers eject spent brass with each pull of the trigger. T or F

2. Thermal imagers can “see” through black garbage bags, allowing officers to identify the contents without opening the bag. T or F

3. How many locks are on a pair of handcuffs? One, Two, Four, or Six?

4. Speed Loaders are competition shooters who are extremely skilled at loading their weapons in a very short amount of time. T or F

Read about speed loaders on a past blog post

5. Vehicles almost always explode when hit by gunfire. T or F

6. DNA evidence is used to convict defendants in nearly every case. T or F

7. The FBI can take over any case, any time, from local police. T or F

8. Kevlar vests worn by officers (or similar types) are designed to stop punctures from knives and other sharp objects. T or F

9. Are cops required to advise a suspect of Miranda (you have the right to…etc.) the moment they’re arrested? No, only when suspects are in custody AND prior to questioning. No questioning = no advisement of Miranda. Some departments may have policies that require Miranda advisement at the time of arrest, but I’ve never encountered one.

10. Are police officers required by law (in every state) to wear seat belts while operating a police car? No. In fact, some state laws also allow certain delivery drivers to skip buckling up (USPS letter carriers, for example).

11. Are all deputy sheriffs sworn police officers? No. Normally deputies who work in the jails are not police officers.

12. Some California sheriffs also serve as county coroner. T or F

13. Small town police departments never investigate murder cases. T or F

All police officers are trained to investigate crimes, and small town officers investigate homicides all the time.

14. Robbery and burglary are synonymous. T or F

15. Narcotics dogs are fed small amounts of cocaine at an early age to get them used to the drug. T or F

16. Shotguns and rifles are basically synonymous. T or F

17. It’s fairly easy to knock someone unconscious with a quick blow to the back of the head, or neck. T or F

18. No one has ever escaped from death row. T or F

19. CornerShot is a bendable device that allows officers to shoot around corners. T or F

Read about CornerShot

20. Cops are trained to aim for arms, legs, and/or to shoot a knife or gun from a suspect’s hand. T or F

Officers are taught to shoot center mass of their target. It is extremely difficult to hit small, moving targets while under duress. Again, officers DO NOT shoot hands, legs, elbows, or weapons (well, not on purpose).

21. Officers always shoot to kill. T or F

Police officers are NEVER trained to “shoot to kill.” Instead, they’re taught to stop the threat. When the threat no longer exists the shooting stops, if it ever starts. Often, the threat ceases before shots are fired.

22. It would be fantastic if the Writers’ Police Academy could get one of the world’s leading DNA experts to speak at the 2013 event. T or F ?????


20 replies
  1. Les Edgerton
    Les Edgerton says:

    Couple of observations, Lee. A few years ago, a guy who killed a home invader was convicted because he’d fired more than once, which “proved” (according to the prosecutor) that his intent was to murder. He should have fired once and then checked to be sure the guy wasn’t still coming. When I read that, I went ballistic. When I was in the Navy, we were taught to keep firing until the person was stopped. Not “fire and then look.” A good way to end up room temperature. I guess not many have been in the military is why folks aren’t aware of that. A smart person would empty the clip–maybe save one shell in case–before looking if a guy is coming at them with a weapon. The other is, in Indiana, many of the folks working inside a jail aren’t deputies but simply turnkeys who are civilians and not deputies at all. I have a cousin who does that and I may be wrong but he’s designated simply a turnkey (they have a more “professional” name for his job than that, but that’s what he is) and with no deputized status as far as I know.

    You’ve probably commented on this before, but I missed it if you did, but I was reminded of the fact in reading about ejecting brass, that one of the chief results of using a handgun with a clip is that often it fails to fire a second shot because the shells haven’t been moved in a long time and the spring is no longer any good and can’t move the shells. One of the things I see often in books are guys who strip and clean their weapon, but don’t take the shells out of the clip and then replace them. Eventually, the spring tension is lost in many guns.

    As always, really informative article.

    Blue skies,

  2. Terry Odell
    Terry Odell says:

    I came in late to this one, and it’s clear that the answers are given. However, I did a ‘self test’ and got most of them right. And the ones I wasn’t sure of have never been in any of my books. The one all-encompassing “right” answer is “Do Your Homework.” Even if you think you know. (And thanks, Lee, for always answering my questions)

  3. Kelly Whitley
    Kelly Whitley says:

    Great blog post.
    I think I knew most of those.
    The best thing is to go to a reliable source. I don’t
    want an LEO to read my book and lob it across the room
    because of ridiculous police procedure.:~D
    Cheers, Kelly

  4. Pat Marinelli
    Pat Marinelli says:

    1-F, 2-T, 3-2, 4-F (they are used to load a revolver), 5-F, 6-, 7-F, 8-F, 9-No, 10-No, 11-No, 12-T, 13-F, 14-F, 15-F, 16-F, 17-F, 18-F, 19-T (saw this on Top Shot), 20-F (Double Tab, shoot to heart and head), 21-F (shot to stop threat) 22-T

  5. GunDiva
    GunDiva says:

    I would have gotten them all correct (even if the answers hadn’t been posted).

    #16 makes me twitch. Especially when news reports use them interchangably.

  6. Nancy D.
    Nancy D. says:

    Okay – I tried.
    1F, 2T, 3 – two per cuff? One to lock the cuff and one to prevent it from being tightened? Have to admit, I’ve never seen cuffs. Might have to do something about that.
    4F, 5F, 6F, 7F, 8F (but there are stab vests).
    9. I thought it was prior to interrogation, and repeated when someone new questions, or when time has lapsed since the last questioning – immediately upon arrest preferred, but may not always be practical?
    10. Encouraged but not required in all situations. 11.I think so.
    12T, 13 – unlikely, but never? I know a local Police Chief who investigated a murder for two decades – finally found the guy. So, F 🙂 Or did you mean officially? 😉
    14F, 15F (I hope), 16F, 17F (not for me, anyway), 18F,
    19 – 60 degrees, yes – not sure about 90.
    20F – center of mass, 21F – Stop the threat? 22. True. 🙂

  7. Terry Shames
    Terry Shames says:

    Most falst, bu tI thought # 12 was true, but I’m basing that on Texas.I also thought #11 might be true–that deputy sheriffs were sworn law officers. I had never thought about the handcuff question, and never heard there was more than one lock.

  8. Dave
    Dave says:

    1 – F, 2 – T, 3 – Two, 4 – F, 5 – F, 6 – F, 7 – F, 8 – T, 9 -Yes, 10 – Yes, 11 – Yes, 12 – T, 13 – F, 14 – F, 15 – F, 16 – F, 17 – F, 18 – F, 19 – F, 20 – F, 21 – T, 22 – T

  9. Elizabeth
    Elizabeth says:

    This is cool–how do I find out if I’m ‘getting it?’
    1. F, 2. F, 3. 2, 4. F, 5. F, 6. F, 7. F, 8. F, 9. No, 10. Yes, 11. No, 12. T, 13. F, 14. F, 15. F, 16. F, 17. F, 18. F, 19. F, 20. F, 21. T, 22. T

    What constitutes passing? or How do we evaluate our need to study? Prof. Lee?

  10. Diane J
    Diane J says:

    I’m saying False on all the True/False questions (A few I’m not sure about like the Coroner thing in California.)

    Most of those I’m confident in my answers because my localpolice department citizen’s academy did a wonderful job answering most of these questions. That was back in the beginning of the year.

    #2 – I never paid attention, but I think there are two.
    #9 – I hope this isn’t a play on words. Our PD says they have to advise anyone they will be arresting of their Miranda rights.
    #10 – Not too positive, but I think officers are suppose to wear their seatbelts. I think all states have seatbelt laws now, not sure.
    #11 – This one is a complete guess: Yes?

    Oh, I’m answsering True to a true/false on #22.

    Would be interested in knowing what, exactly, a Corner Shot and Speed Loader are.

    This provided a nice fun start to my day. Thank you!

  11. SZ
    SZ says:

    I got a lot of false as well. In the Police Academy, if I remember correctly, it is shoot at the chest area as it is the biggest area. I also did not learn or know the difference between burglary and robbery until I a few years ago when I was volunteering for the police department.

    Great questions Lee !

  12. Jane
    Jane says:

    Yes, I think they are all false except for 22, of course. As far as #19: I think there is some sort of device like this, but not 100% sure. I haven’t the foggiest idea about 10, 12 or 17.

  13. Daniel Smith
    Daniel Smith says:

    Agreed. Most are false. #19 is true though the weapon itself doesn’t tilt a full 90 degrees that I am aware of. The wording in the question makes it slightly ambiguous.

    Good choice for a new post, Lee.

  14. Tina
    Tina says:

    These are looking almost 100% FALSE to me (with the exception of a few IDKs (like about seat belts and California Sheriffs and other things which I have no clue about). Except for Number 22, which is a definite TRUE!

Comments are closed.