Okay, the really BIG NEWS first … the REACHER PRIZE!

Are you a fan of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher novels?

Are you also a fan of the REACHER Amazon Prime television series?

Yes?

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to meet the real-life Jack Reacher, stunningly portrayed by Alan Ritchson, and to see him in action?

Another yes?

But meeting the living, breathing, and extremely muscular Jack Reacher/Alan Ritchson could never happen to me, you say …

Well, Lee Child and I (Lee Lofland) anticipated the last statement, the one where you thought you could not in a million years see Alan Ritchson in person. So Lee and I, by way of the Writers’ Police Academy, thought the proper thing to do was to make it possible for you to meet the star of the REACHER TV series.

But meeting Alan Ritchson didn’t seem to be quite enough to satisfy the needs of diehard REACHER fans.

So here’s what we did …

We’re offering to one extremely lucky person the opportunity to join Lee Child on the set for Amazon’s Reacher Season Two, sometime in the fall, and (hopefully!) show up as a background extra in the show.

Now, here’s how you can be the winner of this jaw-dropping, once in a lifetime prize.

Each year the Writers’ Police Academy hosts a raffle and auction with proceeds helping to offset the whopping expenses of producing the event. This jackpot opportunity, the REACHER PRIZE, is available by sealed bid. You do not have to attend the Writers’ Police Academy event to enter your bid. Although, sealed bids will be accepted at the June 2-5, 2022 Writers’ Police Academy.

To submit your bid by email, please enter REACHER BID in the subject line. In the body of the email please include your bid (in U.S. dollar amount), your name, address, and phone number. Then send the email to Lee Lofland at lofland32@msn.com

Bidding ends on June 19, 2022 at midnight EST. The winner of the REACHER Prize will be notified on June 21, 2022.

*The REACHER PRIZE – “Will involve international travel to Canada (expenses paid, but winner must provide passport and any necessary paperwork) and might be canceled if Covid affects travel or local regulations. If canceled, the winning bid will be refunded.” ~ Lee Child


2022 Writers’ Police Academy Updates

Changes to the 2022 WPA Schedule

Steve Spingola, an investigator for the Oxygen Channel’s TV show Cold Justice, was scheduled to present a special session Thursday night. But he was suddenly called to testify out of state for a case he’d investigated as part of the television show.

Anne Schwartz, journalist who broke the Jeffrey Dahmer news story

Anne E. Schwartz

Replacing Steve is Anne Schwartz, the former Milwaukee Journal newspaper reporter who broke the story of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer and wrote the book, The Man Who Could Not Kill Enough: The Story of Milwaukee’s Jeffrey Dahmer. Anne and the reporting team were nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. She’s since written and published an updated version of her book titled Monster, which is also the title of her Thursday night presentation, so hold on to your seats as Anne takes you behind the scenes and into one of the most heinous crimes of our lives.

Today, with more than 35 years’ experience, Anne E. Schwartz is the award-winning print and broadcast journalist, author, and internationally recognized trainer and advisor on strategic communication and public relations practices for Law Enforcement, Prosecutors, Tribal Police, Fire/EMS and others in Criminal Justice and Public Safety. With hundreds of presentations and training sessions internationally, Anne has a unique background in how to manage communications in a variety of scenarios as an expert in providing communication strategies in officer involved deaths and ensuing civil unrest.

Anne’s updated book was released in 2021 as “Monster: The True Story of the Jeffrey Dahmer Murders” with a new preface and final chapter, available for the first time in both audio and digital editions. Anne is featured in dozens of documentaries on the Dahmer case, on global TV networks and streaming services.

She has partnered with the U.S. Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL), Department of Justice (DOJ), American Bar Association (ABA), United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) to share communications best practices with criminal justice professionals in the U.S. and abroad. She has deployed to the countries of Albania, Armenia, North Macedonia, and the Republic of Maldives to provide training on best practices in criminal justice communications strategies. Anne has conducted training seminars for prosecutors and judges from Bosnia, Lebanon and Uzbekistan through the ABA Rule of Law Initiative. She is a communications/media trainer for the Wisconsin Department of Justice, and she is an Adjunct Professor in strategic communications at the National Criminal Justice Training Center.

 

"Monster," by Anne E. Schwartz

“Monster,” by Anne E. Schwartz


Alan Hardwick, former police chief and member of an FBI counterterrorism task force, is the new featured speaker for the Friday night special session. Alan, a guitarist, saxophonist, and singer with the popular Seattle area musical group One Love Bridge, is also the entertainer for the Friday night meet and mingle. Yes, he’s his own opening act!

Alan Hardwick, former acting police chief and member of an FBI counterterrorism task force

Allan Hardwick, former acting police chief and member of an FBI counterterrorism task force

Alan Hardwick’s presentation is:

COPS DOING COUNTERTERRORISM: LIFE IN THE JOINT TERRORISM TASK FORCE

In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on 9/11/2001, state and local government officials around the country were faced with a sobering reality: the job of preventing and responding to terrorism was not solely the responsibility of the federal government. Moreover, the work of the 9/11 Commission revealed the problems of depending on select agencies with classified investigations: sharing the previously un-shareable with local partners was a necessary part of the solution. But should John McClaine be entrusted with exceptionally sensitive national security information? Which Jack has the need and the right to know? Bauer? Ryan? Reacher? Black? Sparrow? Retired Acting Assistant Chief Alan Hardwick discusses his experience transitioning from parking tickets and domestic disturbances to briefing the nation’s leaders on secret operations, along with the impact on local investigators who never dreamed they’d be in the middle of a secret war not only for their country, but for their own lives.

Alan is the author of Never Been This Close to Crazy.

“A poignant and heartbreaking tale of one man’s fight to save himself and his family from the ravages of mental illness. Hardwick is wise, uplifting and utterly compelling. He challenges our fundamental beliefs about good parenting.”

– Robert Dugoni, International Best-Selling Author Of the Tracy Crosswhite Series.

Book cover - Never Been This Close to Crazy, by Alan Hardwick

Never Been This Close to Crazy, by Alan Hardwick


Marco Conelli is unable to make it to the event this year. Due to the late and unavoidable timing of the cancellation (last week) we were unable to secure a replacement instructor; therefore, attendees who signed up for Marco’s class were reassigned to a substitute session. We apologize for the inconvenience.


Rain or Shine

The Writers’ Police Academy is a “rain or shine” event. Some activities take place outside, so please bring and be prepared to utilize your rain gear, if necessary. Hopefully, we’ll see clear, sunny days.


BANGS and BOOMS!

Remember, the Writers’ Police Academy provides actual hands- on law enforcement training, some of which includes gunfire, sirens, squealing tires, and yes, we will be deploying explosive devices during the tactical entry sessions. So be prepared for unexpected loud bangs and booms.

Don’t be alarmed, though, it’s just writers having fun!


Thursday Afternoon Activities are Incredible

The Thursday afternoon session at the Fox Cities Exhibition Center features indoor displays, demos, and tours of police, fire, and marine vehicles and equipment, including SWAT drones, CSI, and a demonstration of how injured police canines are treated in the field.


Raffle and Auction items

As always, fun and exciting raffle and silent auctions items will be available at the event – the REACHER PRIZE, of course, Kindles, signed books, your name appearing in the next books of international bestselling authors Karin Slaughter and Charlaine Harris, registration to the 2023 Writers’ Police Academy event (over $500 value), three registrations (up to $300 value) to 2023 Writers’ Police Academy Online classes, television scripts, and more.

And the REACHER PRIZE, of course (priceless!).


See you on June 2-5, 2022, in Green Bay and Appleton, WI

Yes, the 2022 Writers’ Police Academy is spread out over two Wisconsin cities, and Oneida Tribal Land.

The event hotel is the Hilton Paper Valley (formerly Red Lion) in Appleton. Public Safety Academy classes are in Green Bay. We provide transportation to and from the academy. We also provide lunches while at the academy.

Tami Hoag, the #1 international bestselling author of over thirty books, is GIVING AWAY two registrations ($515 value each) to the 2022 Writers’ Police Academy taking place on June 2-5 in Green Bay, WI. That’s right, she’s giving them away to two lucky people!
 

To enter the drawing type “I WANT TO WIN” in the comments below.
 

*Prizes cover registration fee only. Hotel, banquet, and travel are not included. Writers’ Police Academy (WPA) provide lunches at the public safety academy on Friday and Saturday. Breakfasts are included for WPA hotel guests. Winners to be selected by random drawing. Contest ends May 14, 2022 at midnight EST. Winners will be announced on May 15th.
 

Click here to view the exciting hands-on classes and other sessions offered art the 2022 Writers’ Police Academy.

WRITERS’ POLICE ACADEMY

Writers' Police Academy logo

 

 

Writers’ Police Academy
June 2-5, 2022
Green Bay, WI

Writers’ Police Academy Online is officially open, with a brand new June 25, 2022 class, new website, new design, new server, and exciting new, user-friendly live/online and on-demand courses currently in development. Class formats are video, audio, and/or text, or a combination of one or more. Details about the June class are below.

In the meantime, here are a few tidbits of information.

Why do law enforcement officers train by repetition – over and over again?

Each time an officer draws their weapon they perform a series of movements—place hand on the pistol, grip the pistol, release retention devices that prevent someone from taking the officer’s sidearm, remove pistol from holster, aim the gun toward the threat, insert finger into trigger guard, place finger on trigger, and finally, fire the gun.

Because officers train repetively, performing those same actions at the firing range, over and over again, the brain builds heavy-duty motor neural conduits

At the same time, myelin, a fatty substance, forms a layer of insulation that surrounds nerve cell axons. Myelin also escalates the rate at which electrical impulses move along the axon

As a result of repetitive firearms training, shooters build a high- speed connection that provides the ability to perform the “grip, release, aim, shoot” sequence without having to direct thought resources toward the details of the movement.

Instead of losing precious fractions of a second to analyzing “what’s step one, two, three, and four” the officer reacts instinctively to a threat.


WPA Scholarships Available for Writers’ Organizations

As a way of giving back to the many writers and writers organizations within the crime-writing community who’ve supported the Writers’ Police Academy over the years, we’re pleased to offer your organization a free registration/scholarship to the 2022 Writers’ Police Academy.

For details, please ask a board member of your group to contact Lee Lofland at lofland32@msn.com. The process is simple, request a scholarship and it will be yours to award to a member of your organization.

*Scholarship covers registration fee only. Hotel, travel, and banquet are not included.


Interactive 3D Police Lineups Improve Witness Accuracy

The capability of eyewitnesses to correctly recognize a guilty suspect from someone who’s totally innocent of a crime is known as discrimination accuracy.

Since misidentification is the single greatest cause of wrongful convictions in the U.S., it is paramount to develop better discrimination accuracy when it comes to police lineups.

Researchers at the University of Birmingham’s School of Psychology developed new interactive police lineup software that allows witnesses to view lineup faces in 3D. Using the program, witnesses can rotate and maneuver the faces of potential suspects to various angles that most likely correspond to the orientation of the face they remember from the crime scene.

During the experimental study where over 3,000 test witnesses observed a video of a crime in progress, results were astounding. Without a doubt, accuracy improved significantly when the witnesses viewed the lineup from the same angle at which they had seen the offender commit the crime. The results were better still when witnesses rotated the lineup faces to match the angle of the culprit’s face in relation to how they saw it while the crime was in progress.


15 Survival Tips for Real and Fictional Officers

  1. Remember these three words. You will survive! Never give up no matter how many times you’ve been shot, stabbed, or battered.
  2. Carry a good, well-maintained weapon. You can’t win a gun fight if your weapon won’t fire.
  3. Carry plenty of ammunition. There’s no such thing as having too many bullets.
  4. Treat every situation as a potential ambush. You never know when or where it could happen. This is why cops don’t like to sit with their backs to a door.
  5. Practice shooting skills in every possible situation—at night, lying down, with your weak hand, etc.
  6. Wear your body armor.
  7. Always expect the unexpected.
  8. Everyone is a potential threat until it’s proven they’re not. Bad people can have attractive faces and warm smiles and say nice things, but all that can change in the blink of an eye.
  9. Know when to retreat.
  10. Stay in shape! Eat healthy. Exercise.
  11. Train, train, and train.
  12. Use common sense.
  13. Make no judgements based on a person’s lifestyle, personality, politics, race, or religion. Treat everyone fairly and equally. However, remain alert and cautious at all times.
  14. Talk to people. Get to know them. Let them get to know you. After all, it’s often a bit tougher to hurt an officer they know and trust.
  15. Talk to people. Get to know them. Let them get to know you. After all, it’s often a bit tougher to hurt an officer they know and trust.

Presented by Writers’ Police Academy Online – “Behavioral Clues at Crime Scenes”

June 26, 2022

11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. EST

Registration is OPEN for this fascinating live, online seminar taught by Dr. Katherine Ramsland. Session covers staging, profiling, character development, and more!

Sign up today at writerspoliceacademy.online

While you’re there, please take a moment to sign up for the latest updates, news, tips, tactics, and announcements of upcoming courses and classes.

About Dr. Katherine Ramsland

Dr. Katherine Ramsland teaches forensic psychology at DeSales University in Pennsylvania, where she is the Assistant Provost. She has appeared on more than 200 Dr. Katherine Ramslandcrime documentaries and magazine shows, is an executive producer of Murder House Flip, and has consulted for CSI, Bones, and The Alienist. The author of more than 1,500 articles and 69 books, including The Forensic Science of CSI, The Forensic Psychology of Criminal Minds, How to Catch a Killer, The Psychology of Death Investigations, and Confession of a Serial Killer: The Untold Story of Dennis Rader, The BTK Killer, she was co-executive producer for the Wolf Entertainment/A&E documentary based on the years she spent talking with Rader. Dr. Ramsland consults on death investigations, pens a blog for Psychology Today, and is writing a fiction series based on a female forensic psychologist.


In addition to the Writers’ Police Academy Online website moving to a new server, The Graveyard Shift is officially and finally up and running on the same server. Its new look is underway. The Writers’ Police
Academy is next to make the move and to receive an overhaul.

By the way, there’s still time to sign up for the 2022 Writers’ Police Academy!

Click here to view 2022 WPA hands-on sessions

If you’ve already registered please reserve your hotel rooms asap!

Reserve Your Room

Hilton Appleton Hotel Paper Valley
333 W College Ave, Appleton, Wi. 54911 – Phone: 920-733-8000
When calling, request reservations for the Writers Police Academy Block or, if reserving online, select dates of stay and enter group code 0622WRPA.

Online Reservations


Writers’ Police Academy Merch

Writers’ Police Academy merchandise is available through our Zazzle store, including the 2022 t-shirts in a variety of colors.

Click here to view the selections. 


Together we can better the world of crime fiction, one scene at a time.

The weekly REACHER Review has been delayed until next week because we’re in the process of moving the Graveyard Shift to a new server. Also, the site is undergoing a much needed major overhaul which will appear in the near future.

After 15 years of posting articles and thousands of images and videos, well, the website is the size of a busload of bloated brontosauruses on steroids, and moving it is a challenge. We may lose a few bits and bobs during the switch but everything was backed up this week so I don’t anticipate a major loss of information, if any.

In addition, our other sites—Writers’ Police Academy and Writers’ Police Academy Online—will also make the journey over to the new server. The Writers’ Police academy Online site should be in its new home shortly after the Graveyard Shift is settled in. The WPA website will transition after the June event to avoid any disruption to the registration process. Those sites are also under construction with their new looks to be revealed.

The exciting new Writers’ Police Academy Online website is undergoing a huge remodel and is designed to host both live and on-demand courses and classes, from daylong webinars and Zoom classes, to courses where you can learn and study the material at your own pace at any time of the day or night, from anywhere in the world where internet access is available. Courses will include videos, photos, case studies, how-to writing and publishing advice and tips from agents, editors, and authors, and much more.

So, until next week, after the server switch is complete, have a good weekend.

Thanks so much for your patience.

In the meantime, there’s still time to sign up for the 2022 Writers’ Police Academy. Please tell your friends, family, fellow writers. And please share the information to your social media. Thanks!


 

June 2-5, 2022

Location –  NWTC Public Safety Training Academy

Green Bay. Wi

www.writerspoliceacademy.com

 

Easter is nearly here and with its arrival I’m reminded of two horrific murder cases, one of which occurred on Easter Sunday. The other, nearly twenty years later in a house across the street from the first homicide scene.

I’ve visited both locations, and I’ve interviewed people directly involved with each case, including family members and friends of the victims and killers, law enforcement, investigators, media, prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges, court clerks, coroner, coroner’s investigators, chief of police, neighbors of both victims and killers, and I have copies of all official documents—crime scene(s) and other photos, statements, confessions, etc.—relating to both cases. With each person I met and after delving into the documentation and history of the offenders, the stories, personalities, and traits of the killers grew darker, depraved, and more deeply haunting.

As a former police detective who’s seen more than any one person’s fair share of gruesome deaths, I don’t think I’ve encountered two more cold-blooded, wicked, and barbaric murderers. Not to mention, two killers from the same block of the same street.

Hamilton, Ohio – Easter Sunday, March 30, 1975—probably sometime near the time of day you’re reading this article, James Ruppert was in the process of killing his entire family.

James was an excellent marksman so there was no better way to execute his mother, brother, sister-in-law, and each of their eight kids than to shoot them point blank, as if they were nothing more than a row of empty and discarded tin cans. And that’s precisely what he did, starting with his brother Leonard.

Next came Leonard’s wife, Alma, followed by James’ own mother, Charity. And, before either of the children could escape disaster, James shot and killed each of them, including four-year-old John, the youngest of the Ruppert brood.

Charity Ruppert, the family matriarch—her midsection a mangled mess, fell to the cold linoleum floor, dead. Her right hand rested above her right breast. The left stretched above her head, as if reaching for something just out of her grasp. Her slacks and dress shoes painted in blood spatter. Her eyeglasses lay beside her on the floor, tangled in her wavy hair. Mouth gaped open. The expression frozen on her face was one of surprise and disbelief. Her eyes stared blankly skyward.

The massacre lasted no more than five minutes.

Hamilton One 142

Leonard Ruppert, his wife, Alma, and their children.

After slaying his family, James positioned his weapons throughout the house, staging the scene much as would a Realtor who carefully and meticulously places items in preparation of showing a house to potential clients.

Then, when he was satisfied that everything all was in order, James called the police and calmly stated, “There’s been a shooting.”

Hamilton One 168

Ruppert crime scene photo – living room

Officer Bob Minor was the officer who responded to the call. Officer Terry Roberts would arrive a few moments later, as backup.

Ruppert home

Officer Minor, no stranger to gruesome homicide scenes, had never witnessed anything close to the carnage he saw inside the Ruppert House—the once neat-as-a-pin living room cluttered with the corpses of Charity Ruppert’s precious grandchildren, and a kitchen so full of dead bodies that Minor couldn’t make his way through without stepping on an arm, leg, or a torso. There was so much blood, Minor later told me, that it had begun to seep through the floorboards, dripping into the basement.

Ruppert7

Ruppert crime scene photo – kitchen

James Ruppert was originally found guilty of eleven counts of 1st degree murder. However, on appeal, a three-judge panel  found Ruppert guilty only of the murders of his mother and brother. They ruled him not guilty by reason of insanity for the nine other deaths.

Rupoert was sentenced to a minimum of 10 years to a maximum of a life for each conviction. The two sentences are to be served consecutively. He entered the Ohio state prison on July 30, 1982.

Ruppert has been denied parole at each hearing since his the day his incarceration began. His next parole hearing is scheduled for February, 2025, just shy of his 91st birthday.

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James Ruppert inmate photo in 2015

James Ruppert inmate photo in 2020


Hamilton, Ohio – June, 1996

Twenty years after the Ruppert murders, a second gruesome killing occurred in a two-story duplex across the street from the house at 635 Minor Avenue, the home where James killed his family.

It was at 622 Minor Avenue, in the upstairs apartment, where Timothy Bradford slashed the throat of his girlfriend, Tina Mott, killing her.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

622 Minor Ave. I stood in the front yard of the Ruppert house to take this photo.

Bradford, in attempt to cover his tracks, slowly and methodically used 19 knives, a hacksaw, a meat cleaver, and a pair of pliers to dismember his girlfriend’s body. He later scattered most of her remains in a nearby field and lake.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Bathtub where Timothy Braford dismembered and skinned the body of his girlfriend, Tina Mott.

Skull2

Two young boys found Tina’s skull while fishing.

Skull4

Marks on the skull indicated the use of a serrated knife blade to scrape away flesh and tissue.

Tina9

Tina Mott

Tina’s former next-door neighbors told me that after her death they’d occasionally seen her shadow pass by the windows in her apartment. Another neighbor firmly believed that Bradford consumed portions of Tina’s flesh after cooking it on a grill outside on the balcony.

The upstairs apartment where Tina lived and died burned in April 2020. The fire started on the balcony.

*Tina expressed on numerous occasions how spooky it was to live across the street from the Ruppert house, a place where people had been murdered.


Here’s part of Bradford’s confession to police.

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New Picture (13)

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Per a negotiated plea agreement, Timothy Bradford was convicted of voluntary manslaughter and abuse of a corpse.

Bradford’s booking photo at the time of his arrest

He was sentenced to 12-25 years for his crimes—Voluntary Manslaughter, Misuse of Credit Cards (He used Tina’s credit card after he killed her), Theft, and Abuse of a Corpse. He entered Ohio’s state prison system on September 24, 1997, just over a year after he murdered Tina Mott. He, too, has been denied parole at each hearing, including the last in June of 2015.

Bradford is scheduled for mandatory release on December 6, 2023. He will have completed serving his full 25-year sentence at that time.

Bradford

Timothy Bradford’s 2015 inmate photo.

Timothy Bradford’s current inmate photo.

*     *     *

I wrote about each of these murders and the story, Murder on Minor Avenue, was published in the true crime anthology, Masters of True Crime, Chilling Stories of Murder and the Macabre.

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Masters of True Crime is also available as an audio book.


Are you registered or plan to register to attend the 2022 Writers’ Police Academy? If so, you could receive an exciting offer from Writers’ Police Academy – a $50 rebate and FREE registration to a special live Writers’ Police Academy Online seminar taught by renowned expert Dr. Katherine Ramsland.

Dr. Ramsland’s Writers’ Police Academy Online session, “Behavioral Clues at Crime Scenes.”
Class description – Crime scenes always tell a story, which shows up most clearly in behavioral clues. This can mean anything from signatures that link crimes to indicators of staged crimes to predictors of dangerous future behavior. This session shows writers how to spot and interpret behavioral clues during criminal profiling, crime reconstruction, or psychological autopsy. 

To qualify for this amazing deal, you must register or already be registered to attend the 2022 Writers’ Police Academy. That’s step one. Step two – have a friend sign up to attend. It’s that easy! If your friend brings a friend then they, too, receive the same bonus opportunity.

Of course, you and your friend must attend the Writers’ Police Academy event in June to receive the rebate and free seminar registration. There is no limit as to how many rebates you may receive. If you refer ten friends and they each attend the WPA, well, you’ll receive $50 for each one. Twenty friends equal a rebate of $1,000! And so on.

Participants must notify Lee Lofland at lofland32@msn.com when referring a friend. The person you refer must be.a new registrant, not someone whose already signed up to attend. Rebates to be mailed in mid-June, after the conclusion of the 2022 Writers’ Police Academy. The date of Dr. Ramsland’s “Behavioral Clues at Crime Scenes” seminar is June 25, 2022. Session time – 11:00-12:30 EST.

 

We can’t wait to see you at the WPA in June!

Register to attend at the 2022 Writers’ Police Academy at www.writerspoliceacademy.com

Click here to see the list and descriptions of the 2022 classes.

Click here to read about the 2022 WPA instructors and presenters.


About Dr. Katherine Ramsland

Dr. Katherine Ramsland

Dr. Katherine Ramsland teaches forensic psychology at DeSales University in Pennsylvania, where she is the Assistant Provost. She has appeared on more than 200 crime documentaries and magazine shows, is an executive producer of Murder House Flip, and has consulted for CSI, Bones, and The Alienist. The author of more than 1,500 articles and 69 books, including The Forensic Science of CSI, The Forensic Psychology of Criminal Minds, How to Catch a Killer, The Psychology of Death Investigations, and Confession of a Serial Killer: The Untold Story of Dennis Rader, The BTK Killer, she was co-executive producer for the Wolf Entertainment/A&E documentary based on the years she spent talking with Rader. Dr. Ramsland consults on death investigations, pens a blog for Psychology Today, and is writing a fiction series based on a female forensic psychologist.

Dr. Ramsland is a Special Guest Speaker at the 2022 Writers’ Police Academy, where she’ll present “Conversations with the B.T.K. Killer, Dennis Rader.” The class focuses on the immersive process of interviewing a serial killer, the challenges of the prison system for such work, and the experience of co-producing the documentary. After hundreds of hours spent inside the mind of this serial killer, the B.T.K. Killer, Dennis Rader, in the context of many other killers Dr. Ramsland studied, she offers multiple insights for crime and mystery writing.


Sign up today!

www.writerspoliceacademy.com


 

Putrefaction is the destruction of the soft tissue caused by two things, bacteria and enzymes.

As bacteria and enzymes do their jobs, the body immediately begins to discolor, and it slowly transform into liquids and gases. The odd thing about the bacteria that destroys the tissue at death is that much of it has been living in the respiratory and intestinal tracts all along. Of course, if the deceased had contracted a bacterial infection prior to death, bacteria, such as septicemia (blood poisoning), would aid in increasing the rate of decomposition.

Temperature also plays an important part in decomposition. 70 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit is the optimal range for bacteria and enzymes to do what they do best, while lower temperatures slow the process. Therefore, and obviously, a body will decompose faster during the sweltering days of summertime.

A blood-filled circulatory system acts as a super-highway for those organisms that destroy the body after death. Without blood the process of putrefaction is slowed.

Therefore, a murder victim whose body bled out will decompose at a slower rate than someone who died of natural causes.

People who were overweight at the time of their deaths decompose faster than skinny people. People who suffered from excessive fluid build up decompose faster than those who were dehydrated. And people with massive infections and congestive heart failure will also decompose at a more rapid rate than those without those conditions.

Bodies adorned in thick, heavy clothing (the material retains heat) decompose more rapidly than the norm. Electric blankets also speed up decomposition.

A body that’s buried in warm soil may decompose faster than one that’s buried during the dead of winter.

The type of soil that surrounds the body also has an effect on the rate of decomposition. For example, the soil in North Carolina is normally a reddish type of clay. Its density can greatly retard the decomposition process because it reduces the circulation of air that’s found in a less compacted, more sandy-type of earth.

Adult bodies buried in a well drained soil will typically become skeletonized in approximately 10 years. A child’s body in about five years.

The rule of thumb for the decomposition of a body is, (if at the same temperature) 8 weeks in well-drained soil equals two weeks in the water, or one week exposed to the air.

Now, hold on to your breakfast…

The first sign of decomposition under average conditions is a greenish discoloration of the skin at the abdomen. This is apparent at 36-72 hours.

Next – Small vessels in the skin become visible (marbling).

Marbling is followed by glistening skin, skin slippage, purplish skin, blisters, distended abdomen (after one week—caused by gases), blood-stained fluid oozing from body openings (nose, mouth, etc.), swelling of tissue and the presence of foul gaseous odor, greenish-purple face, swollen eyelids and pouting lips, swollen face, protruding tongue, hair pulls out easily, fingernails come off easily, skin from hands pulls off (gloving), body swells and appears greatly obese.

Internally, the body is decomposing and breaking down. The heart has become flabby and soft. The liver has honeycombed, and the kidneys are like wet sponges. The brain is nearly liquid, and the lungs may be a bit brittle.

Hmm … Flabby hearts and liquid brains. Sounds like a couple of my former employers.


Are you registered or plan to register to attend the 2022 Writers’ Police Academy? If so, you could receive an exciting offer from Writers’ Police Academy – a $50 rebate and FREE registration to a special live Writers’ Police Academy Online seminar taught by renowned expert Dr. Katherine Ramsland.

Dr. Ramsland’s Writers’ Police Academy Online session, “Behavioral Clues at Crime Scenes.”
Class description – Crime scenes always tell a story, which shows up most clearly in behavioral clues. This can mean anything from signatures that link crimes to indicators of staged crimes to predictors of dangerous future behavior. This session shows writers how to spot and interpret behavioral clues during criminal profiling, crime reconstruction, or psychological autopsy. 

To qualify for this amazing deal, you must register or already be registered to attend the 2022 Writers’ Police Academy. That’s step one. Step two – have a friend sign up to attend. It’s that easy! If your friend brings a friend then they, too, receive the same bonus opportunity.

Of course, you and your friend must attend the Writers’ Police Academy event in June to receive the rebate and free seminar registration. There is no limit as to how many rebates you may receive. If you refer ten friends and they each attend the WPA, well, you’ll receive $50 for each one. Twenty friends equal a rebate of $1,000! And so on.

Participants must notify Lee Lofland at lofland32@msn.com when referring a friend. The person you refer must be.a new registrant, not someone whose already signed up to attend. Rebates to be mailed in mid-June, after the conclusion of the 2022 Writers’ Police Academy. The date of Dr. Ramsland’s “Behavioral Clues at Crime Scenes” seminar is June 25, 2022. Session time – 11:00-12:30 EST.

 

We can’t wait to see you at the WPA in June!

Register to attend at the 2022 Writers’ Police Academy at www.writerspoliceacademy.com

Click here to see the list and descriptions of the 2022 classes.

Click here to read about the 2022 WPA instructors and presenters.


About Dr. Katherine Ramsland

Dr. Katherine Ramsland

Dr. Katherine Ramsland teaches forensic psychology at DeSales University in Pennsylvania, where she is the Assistant Provost. She has appeared on more than 200 crime documentaries and magazine shows, is an executive producer of Murder House Flip, and has consulted for CSI, Bones, and The Alienist. The author of more than 1,500 articles and 69 books, including The Forensic Science of CSI, The Forensic Psychology of Criminal Minds, How to Catch a Killer, The Psychology of Death Investigations, and Confession of a Serial Killer: The Untold Story of Dennis Rader, The BTK Killer, she was co-executive producer for the Wolf Entertainment/A&E documentary based on the years she spent talking with Rader. Dr. Ramsland consults on death investigations, pens a blog for Psychology Today, and is writing a fiction series based on a female forensic psychologist.

Dr. Ramsland is a Special Guest Speaker at the 2022 Writers’ Police Academy, where she’ll present “Conversations with the B.T.K. Killer, Dennis Rader.” The class focuses on the immersive process of interviewing a serial killer, the challenges of the prison system for such work, and the experience of co-producing the documentary. After hundreds of hours spent inside the mind of this serial killer, the B.T.K. Killer, Dennis Rader, in the context of many other killers Dr. Ramsland studied, she offers multiple insights for crime and mystery writing.


 

Sign up today!

www.writerspoliceacademy.com


 

Are you registered or plan to register to attend the 2022 Writers’ Police Academy? If so, you could receive an exciting offer from Writers’ Police Academy – a $50 rebate and FREE registration to a special live Writers’ Police Academy Online seminar taught by renowned expert Dr. Katherine Ramsland.

Dr. Ramsland’s Writers’ Police Academy Online session, “Behavioral Clues at Crime Scenes,” covers staging, profiling, character development, and more.

To qualify for this amazing deal, you must register or already be registered to attend the 2022 Writers’ Police Academy. That’s step one. Step two – have a friend sign up to attend. It’s that easy! If your friend brings a friend then they, too, receive the same bonus opportunity.

Of course, you and your friend must attend the Writers’ Police Academy event in June to receive the rebate and free seminar registration. There is no limit as to how many rebates you may receive. If you refer ten friends and they each attend the WPA, well, you’ll receive $50 for each one. Twenty friends equal a rebate of $1,000! And so on.

Participants must notify Lee Lofland at lofland32@msn.com when referring a friend. The person you refer must be.a new registrant, not someone whose already signed up to attend. Rebates to be mailed in mid-June, after the conclusion of the 2022 Writers’ Police Academy. The date of Dr. Ramsland’s “Behavioral Clues at Crime Scenes” seminar is TBA.

 

We can’t wait to see you at the WPA in June!

Register to attend at the 2022 Writers’ Police Academy at www.writerspoliceacademy.com

Click here to see the list and descriptions of the 2022 classes.

Click here to read about the 2022 WPA instructors and presenters.


About Dr. Katherine Ramsland

Dr. Katherine Ramsland

Dr. Katherine Ramsland teaches forensic psychology at DeSales University in Pennsylvania, where she is the Assistant Provost. She has appeared on more than 200 crime documentaries and magazine shows, is an executive producer of Murder House Flip, and has consulted for CSI, Bones, and The Alienist. The author of more than 1,500 articles and 69 books, including The Forensic Science of CSI, The Forensic Psychology of Criminal Minds, How to Catch a Killer, The Psychology of Death Investigations, and Confession of a Serial Killer: The Untold Story of Dennis Rader, The BTK Killer, she was co-executive producer for the Wolf Entertainment/A&E documentary based on the years she spent talking with Rader. Dr. Ramsland consults on death investigations, pens a blog for Psychology Today, and is writing a fiction series based on a female forensic psychologist.

Dr. Ramsland is a Special Guest Speaker at the 2022 Writers’ Police Academy, where she’ll present “Conversations with the B.T.K. Killer, Dennis Rader.” The class focuses on the immersive process of interviewing a serial killer, the challenges of the prison system for such work, and the experience of co-producing the documentary. After hundreds of hours spent inside the mind of this serial killer, the B.T.K. Killer, Dennis Rader, in the context of many other killers Dr. Ramsland studied, she offers multiple insights for crime and mystery writing.


 

Sign up today!

www.writerspoliceacademy.com


All officers hear those familiar words, and they’re likely repeated many, many times each and every day all across this great land of ours.

It’s a phrase spoken by the wisest of the wise—the soothsayers of the legal world. They’re the top legal minds of street corners, sour mash guzzling patrons of back road honky-tonk juke joints, and professional crack and meth smokers everywhere. It’s forcefully uttered by masked basement keyboard warriors who’re out for their weekly brick-throwing adventures, and by pickup truck cowboys out hee-hawing it up after a night of two-stepping at Myrtle Mae’s Bar and Grill in the strip mall next to the Sizzler that closed some six years ago.

That famous line is typically presented in a sing-songish manner—gently and soothingly, almost like a lullaby.

More times than I care to count, the person delivering the line is a scrawny, wiry sort of guy who prefers to go shirtless, exposing a set of bony ribs that could replace any xylophone in any symphony in the world. They’re the hoodlum wannabes who guzzle three six-packs of Natural Light followed by six shots of Jack Black as a warmup before they start their serious drinking. Of course, members of all sexes/genders dive in to offer their own spectacular versions of the diatribe and, like the aforementioned folks, they, too, come in all shapes and sizes and from varied backgrounds.

Lately, though, the famous words have been adopted by the likes of soccer moms, college students, sovereign citizens, kids, grocers, butchers, bakers, and candlestick makers.

But no matter from whose lips they cross, the message is the same, and it’s shouted and screamed and yelled into the faces of law enforcement officers. It is …

“I. Know. My. Rights, you fat dumbass son of a whore doughnut-eating pig! I’m gonna have your job. You gotta let me go ’cause you didn’t read me my rights! Now take off these cuffs … NOW … afore I open a can of whupass on you like you ain’t never seen!!!!”

Well, Mr. Canary-Chest TinyPants, your legal analysis is incorrect, and your threats of violence against  well-armed and well-trained officers do very little to intimidate them. Especially when you’ve shown the world the physical attributes you have to back up those strong promises of ass-whuppins.

So let’s examine TinyPants’ claim regarding Miranda and when it’s required.

Miranda

When is a police officer required to advise a suspect of the Miranda warnings?

I’ll give you a hint, it’s not like we see on television. Surprised?

Television shows often have officers spouting off Miranda warnings the second they have someone in cuffs. Not so. I’ve been in plenty of situations where I chased a suspect, caught him, he resisted, and then we wound up on the ground fighting like street thugs while I struggled to apply handcuffs to his wrists. And yes, words were spoken once I managed to get to my feet, but “Miranda” wasn’t one of them. Too many letters, if you know what I mean. Words consisting of only four letters seemed to flow quite easily at that point.

When Is Miranda Required?

Two elements must be in place for the Miranda warning requirement to apply. The suspect must be in custody and he must be undergoing interrogation.

Writers, this is an important detail – A suspect is in police custody if he’s under formal arrest or if his freedom has been restrained or denied to the extent that he feels as if he’s no longer free to leave.

The fellow wearing the handcuffs in the photo below is not free to leave. Therefore, should the officer wish to question him he must advise him of his right to remain silent, etc. However, if the officer decides to not ask questions/interrogate, then Miranda is not required.

arrest-take-down.jpg

I’ve arrested criminals, many of them, in fact, and never advised them of their rights. Not ever. And that’s because I didn’t ask them any questions.

Sometimes officers receive a stack of outstanding arrest warrants for a variety of cases and it’s their job that day to go out and round up those folks. Those officers have no clue as to the circumstances of the crime or case details, therefore they’d not know the appropriate questions to ask. All they know is that the boss handed them a pile of warrants and told them to fetch. This, by the way, is often one of the mundane duties assigned to rookie officers, along with directing traffic and writing parking tickets.

So, the warrant-serving officers locate the person named on the warrant and haul them to the station, or jail, for processing/booking. The officer who had the warrant issued may or may not question the arrested person at a later time. But the arresting officer, the one who played hide and seek with the crook for a few hours on a Monday morning is most likely out of the picture from that point onward. So no questioning = no Miranda.

Interrogation

Interrogation is not only asking questions, but any actions, words, or gestures used by an officer to elicit an incriminating response can be considered as an interrogation.

If these two elements are in place officers must advise a suspect of the Miranda warnings prior to questioning. If not, statements made by the suspect may not be used in court. Doesn’t mean the arrest isn’t good, just that his statements aren’t admissible.

Officers are NOT required to advise anyone of their rights if they’re not going to ask questions. Defendants are convicted all the time without ever hearing the police officer’s poem,  You have the right to …

Miranda facts:

Officers should repeat the Miranda warnings during each period of questioning. For example, during questioning officers decide to take a break for the night. They come back the next day to try again. They must advise the suspect of his rights again before resuming the questioning.

If an officer takes over questioning for another officer, she should repeat the warnings before asking her questions.

If a suspect asks for an attorney, officers may not ask any questions.

If a suspect agrees to answer questions, but decides to stop during the session and asks for an attorney, officers must stop the questioning.

Suspects who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs should not be questioned. Also, anyone who exhibits signs of withdrawl symptoms should not be questioned.

Officers should not question people who are seriously injured or ill.

People who are extremely upset or hysterical should not be questioned.

Officers may not threaten or make promises to elicit a confession.

Many officers carry a pre-printed Miranda warning card in their wallets. A National Sheriff’s Association membership card (same design and feel of a credit card) has the warnings printed on the reverse side.

Fact: The Miranda warning requirement stemmed from a case involving a man named Ernesto Miranda.  Miranda killed a young woman in Arizona and was arrested for the crime. During questioning Miranda confessed to the slaying, but the police had failed to tell him he had the right to silence and that he could have an attorney present during the questioning. Miranda’s confession was ruled inadmissible; however, the court convicted him based on other evidence.

Miranda was released from prison after he served his sentence. Not long after his release he was killed during a bar fight.

His killer was advised of his rights according to the precedent setting case of Miranda v. Arizona. He chose to remain silent.

*Some individual department/location policies requires their officers to advise of Miranda at the point of arrest. However, the law does not require them to do so.


Writers’ Police Academy
June 2-5, 2022
Green Bay, WI

The 2022 Writers’ Police Academy offers a unique opportunity for attendees to participate in many of the same hands-on training classes—basic and advanced—taught to Law Enforcement, Fire, EMS, and Corrections personnel. These incredibly exciting cutting-edge sessions are typically reserved only for professionals. Until now.

Four days of exciting hands-on training. at a renowned public safety training academy. Real police equipment and vehicles. Over 30 certified instructors and top law enforcement and forensics experts.

Attendees of the 2022 Writers’ Police Academy earn continuing education credit and a certificate from Northeast Wisconsin Technical College.

Sign up today to reserver your spot at this one of a kind event!

Realism in fiction is important, when it’s needed and when placed in the proper context. The ability to weave fact into fiction is a must. But writers must have a firm grasp of what’s real and what’s made-up before attempting to use reality as part of fiction. Otherwise, the author is offering readers fiction as reality, and that’s a fact. Or is it fiction?

The above paragraph is as clear as mucky pond water, right? Well, that’s the sort of muddy writing readers must wade through when writers don’t conduct proper research before diving into to write their next story. For example, confusing a semi-auto pistol with a revolver, or a shotgun with a rifle. Those are the sorts of things that cause writers to lose credibility with their readers. A great example of this is in a current book I read a few weeks ago, where the main character racked a shotgun shell into the chamber of her rifle. Silly writer, shotguns shells are for shotguns, not rifles. Therefore, one does not “rack” a shell into the chamber of a rifle.

The writing in the book was absolutely wonderful … until I read that single line. At that point, as good as the book had been, as I continued to read I found myself searching each paragraph for more errors.

Anyway …

Have you done the unthinkable? Are there words in your latest tale that could send your book straight to someone’s “Wouldn’t Read In A Million Years” pile? How can you avoid such disaster, you ask? Fortunately, following these four simple rules could save the day.

1. Use caution when writing cop slang. What you hear on TV may not be the language used by real police officers. And, what is proper terminology and/or slang in one area may be totally unheard of in another. A great example are the slang terms Vic (Victim), Wit (Witness), and Perp (Perpetrator). These shortened words are NOT universally spoken by all cops. In fact, I think I’m fairly safe in saying the use of these is not typical across the U.S.

2. Simply because a law enforcement officer wears a shiny star-shaped badge and drives a car bearing a “Sheriff” logo does not mean they are all “sheriffs.” Please, please, please stop writing this in your stories. A sheriff is an elected official who is in charge of the department, and there’s only one per sheriff’s office. The head honcho. The Boss. All others working there are appointed by the sheriff to assist him/her with their duties. Those appointees are called DEPUTY SHERIFFS. Therefore, unless the boss himself shows up at your door to serve you with a jury summons, which is highly unlikely unless you live in a county populated by only three residents, two dogs, and a mule, the LEO’s you see driving around your county are deputies. Andy was the sheriff (the boss) and Barney was his deputy.

3. The rogue detective who’s pulled from a case yet sets out on his own to solve it anyway. I know, it sounds cool, but it’s highly unlikely that an already overworked detective would drop all other cases (and there are many) to embark on some bizarre quest to take down Mr. Freeze. Believe me, most investigators would gladly lighten their case loads by one, or more. Besides, to disobey orders from a superior officer is an excellent means of landing a fun assignment (back in uniform on the graveyard shift ) directing traffic at the intersection of Dumbass Avenue and Stupid Street.

4. Those of you who’ve written scenes where a cocky FBI agent speeds into town to tell the local chief or sheriff to step aside because she’s taking over the murder case du jour, well, grab a bottle of white-out and immediately begin lathering up that string of goofy words because it doesn’t happen. The same for those scenes where the FBI agent forces the sheriff out of his office so she can remove his name plate from the desk and replace it with one of her own along with photos of her family and her pet guinea pig. No. No. And No. The agent would quickly find herself being escorted back to her “guvment” vehicle.

The FBI does not investigate local murder cases.

I’ll say that again.

The FBI does not investigate local murder cases. And, in case you misunderstood … the FBI does not investigate local murder cases. Nor do they have the authority to order a sheriff or chief out of their offices. Yeah, right … that would happen in real life (in case you can’t see me right now, I’m rolling my eyes).

Believable Make-Believe

Okay, I understand you’re writing fiction, which means you get to make up stuff. And that’s cool. However, the stuff you make up must be believable. Not necessarily fact, just believable. Write it so your readers can suspend reality without stopping in their tracks to wonder if they should, even if only for a short time. If your character carries a rifle that accepts shotgun shells by “racking” them into the chamber, then you must devise a reason for that to become reality—your character is a wacky scientist who invented the new-fangled long gun, for example. Your readers must believe you and your characters.

Your fans want to trust you, and they’ll go out of their way to give you the benefit of the doubt. Really, they will. But, for goodness sake, give them something to work with, without an encyclopedic info dump. Provide readers a reason to believe/understand what they’ve just seen on your pages. A tiny morsel of believability goes a long way.

Still, if you’re going for realism then please do some real homework. I say this because you certainly do not want readers to barely make it halfway through the first chapter of your latest gem when when they suddenly toss it into my WRIAMY pile (Wouldn’t Read In A Million Years).

It’s sometimes painfully obvious when a writer’s method of research is a couple of quick visits to crappy internet sites, and a 15-minute conversation with a friend whose sister works with a man whose brother, a cab driver in Dookyboo, North Carolina, picked up a guy ten years ago at the airport, a partially deaf man with two thumbs on his right hand, who had a friend in Whirlywind, Kansas who lived next door to a retired security guard who, during a Saturday lunch rush, sat two tables over from two cops who might’ve mentioned a crime scene … maybe.

Please, if you want good, solid information, always speak with an expert who has first-hand knowledge about the subject. Not a person who, having read a book about fingerprinting or bloodstain patterns, suddenly believes they’re pro and hits the writers conference circuit teaching workshops. Sure, they may be able to relate what they’ve read on a page, however, those mere words are not the things writers need to breathe life into a story. Reading about bloodstains is not the same as standing inside a murder scene, experiencing the sights, sounds, smells, and emotions felt by the person who’s there in person. The latter is the true expert who can help a writer take their work to the next level, and beyond.

So, is there a WRIAMY pile in your house? Worse … have you written something that could land one of your tales in someone’s “Wouldn’t Read In A Million Years” pile of unreadable books? If so, perhaps it’s time to change your research methods.

A great means to assist in adding realism to your work is to, of course, attend the Writers’ Police Academy! Registration for the 2022 WPA’s 14th anniversary blowout is now OPEN! You will not want to miss this thrilling experience. It is THE event of the year! Sign up today, and please bring a friend!


After several days of downtime for an unexpected website redo, the 2022 Writers’ Police Academy registration is once again OPEN! We apologize for any inconvenience.

We invite you to join us for THE most exciting writer event of the year. And please, spread the word for us!

See you in June!

 

www.writerspoliceacademy.com