For the past 15 years, Writers’ Police Academy has offered a plethora of specialized classes designed to help writers evoke a sense of hyperrealism in their stories. The event’s unique hands-on training sessions stimulate the senses of participants, enabling them to convert those real-life experiences and emotions into believable fiction. Our goal is to help attendees develop and write accurate, realistic, and compelling scenes and characters.

This year we’ve decided to focus our attention on the crime of murder since that’s a major plot point in crime fiction. Therefore, we created Killer Con, a hands-on homicide and crime scene investigator training academy. This special event is designed to guide writers through the various stages of investigations.

Yes, participants will experience what it’s like to enter a crime scene as an investigator.

To guide attendees through the processes, we are pleased to feature top-tier law enforcement instructors and forensics experts as presenters. They are undoubtedly some of the best in the business, and their sessions are magnificent. Prepare yourself to be amazed.

So, without further ado, it is my pleasure and honor to introduce you to the second group of 2024 Killer Con presenters, beginning with these three (in no particular order). Also included are the classes offered by each presenter. More to come in the days following this post.

Processing and Preservation of Fingerprint Evidence

Learn and apply the same fingerprinting tools, techniques, and skills taught to and utilized by police investigators and other crime scene investigation professionals. Attendees locate, develop, lift, and preserve latent prints from a variety of surfaces. There is more to this process than meets the eye, and certainly more to it than is depicted on TV shows. Hands-on training.

Location – CC205

Instructor – Ian Nishimoto, Master Instructor – Defensive and Arrest Tactics, Firearms/Tactical Rifle, Scenario Assessment, Tactical Response

Ian Nishimoto’s mother and father were born and raised in Hawaii. His father served in the US Army for 30 years, allowing Ian to live in many areas of the United States and hence his place of birth was Staten Island, New York. Ian completed his master’s degree at the University of Wisconsin—Stout in Training and Development. He began his 30+ years of law enforcement experience at the Outagamie County Sheriff’s Department as a deputy sheriff and worked part-time for U.S. Marshal Service and other local agencies. He recently retired after 25 years of teaching from Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, where he instructed in the Police Academy and the Law Enforcement Associate Degree program. Ian is a certified master instructor in Defensive and Arrest Tactics, Firearms/Tactical Rifle, Scenario Assessment and Tactical Response. He is currently an adjunct faculty member at NWTC.

Ian and his wife have been married for 41 years, and currently reside in Oneida, Wisconsin.  They have two daughters, two sons, and five grandchildren.

Processing and Preservation of Fingerprint Evidence


Body Trauma and Gunshot Wounds

Curtis Greene knows the information writers need to breathe life into shooting and trauma scenes in crime novels, having “been there, done that” for nearly two decades as a Coroner for Manitowoc County WI, serving as a Paramedic for 24 years, and managing the Emergency Room, Ambulance, Lifeline and Specialized transport division for a major hospital.

In this course, Greene shares his first-hand knowledge and experience of the effect gunshots and various injuries have on the human body. Class includes images of a variety of wounds and trauma.

Location – CC212

Instructor – Curtis Green, Elected Coroner, AS-EMTP (retired), ABMDI-F (retired)

Curtis Green

Curtis Green is currently the Elected Coroner for Manitowoc County WI.  He has held this position for 16+ years and is serving his final term in that position.

He earned his basic EMT certification in 1983 and became licensed as Wisconsin’s youngest Paramedic in 1985. He began his career at County Rescue Services, Metro Ambulance Service and several other services including time in Los Angeles and San Bernardino Counties CA.  After leaving California he managed the largest Air Ambulance Service in the United States, American Medical Transport, based out of Milwaukee WI.  He served as a paramedic for a total of 24 years.  He was a Department Head for Manitowoc Memorial Hospital in the late 80’s managing the Emergency Room, Ambulance, Lifeline and Specialized transport division.  He was the owner of one of Wisconsin’s largest specialized transport services for 16 years and was responsible for approximately 350,000 specialized transports annually.

Curtis was a founding member of Prevent Suicide- Manitowoc County.  An organization formed to help reduce the number of suicides and to help families cope with suicide deaths. His commitment to this cause is deep-seated in Curtis.  He has had immediate family members die by suicide and homicide and brings a level of empathy to this cause from a unique perspective.

Curtis saw a need for drug prevention and education as the deaths from drug overdoses began to rise in the earlier 2000’s.  Curtis has been providing education and training for those affected by drug overdose deaths and the collateral damage drug addiction inflicts on families, friends, EMS and Law Enforcement professionals.  For his volunteer work, Curtis was honored to receive the 2015 Health Award from the Manitowoc County United Way. Curtis plans to continue to provide continuing education to Law Enforcement, EMS and Death Investigators following his retirement in 2027.

Curtis has 4 daughters and 6 grandchildren and lives on the hobby farm where his children were raised. He enjoys spending his limited free time at his off-grid 176 acres of riverfront property in the north woods of Wisconsin.

Coroner Curtis Green – 2023 Writers’ Police Academy

Virtual Reality – Mental Health Training Simulator

Officers are in regular contact with individuals who are undergoing a personal crisis, such as problems relating to the opioid epidemic, someone diagnosed on the autism spectrum, or one of a variety of psychiatric issues. Dealing with those situations can be challenging for law enforcement, especially when they often occur within mere seconds of arrival at a scene. There is often no time to know or research the person’s history, background, or medical diagnosis; therefore, officer responses to the situations are often reactionary to what is sometimes perceived as violent threats to their safety or the safety of others, including that of the person in crisis.

Virtual reality mental health training simulators place law enforcement officers into the shoes and minds of those suffering from an emotional disturbance or experiencing a mental health crisis. This realistic training experience helps police better comprehend what these individuals are experiencing, and to recognize and understand how to handle a subject who is undergoing psychiatric distress.

Killer Con attendees have the unique opportunity to participate in this hyper-realistic, eye-opening training experience.

Location – SC142

Instructor – Erik Walters, Public Safety Training Complex Specialist – Wisconsin Department of Justice Certified Instructor in Defensive and Arrest Tactics, Vehicle Contacts, Scenario, EVOC, Tactical Response, Physical Fitness, Firearms

Eric Walters – Writers’ Police Academy

Erik Walters is the Public Safety Training Complex Specialist at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College.  In that role, Erik oversees all the public safety training facilities and equipment at 4 different locations.  He’s also a Public Safety Training Academy instructor. Prior to coming to the college Erik spent 15 years at the Manitowoc Police Department, where he attained the rank of patrol sergeant.

Erik is a Wisconsin Department of Justice certified instructor in Defensive and Arrest Tactics, Vehicle Contacts, Scenario, EVOC, Tactical Response, Physical Fitness, and Firearms.





Spaces at this unique and exciting event are limited and will be filled on a first-come first-served basis. To claim your spot I strongly urge you to sign up right away. The 2023 Writers’ Police Academy event was sold out!

We also urge you to make your hotel reservations ASAP. We’ve already had to extend the room block!! There is no sister hotel available for overflow.

2024 Guest of Honor

Killer Con is extremely pleased to announce that internationally bestselling author Charlaine Harris is our 2024 Guest of Honor.

Charlaine delivers her keynote talk at the Saturday night banquet, and she will sign copies of her books immediately afterward.

Special Guests Include:

Dr. Katherine Ramsland – bestselling author and expert on forensic psychology and serial killers.

Robert Bruce Coffin – former detective sergeant (homicide and violent crime) and award-winning mystery author.

Carrie Stuart Parks – bestselling author and internationally recognized forensic artist who is the most widely known instructor of forensic art in the world.

Michael A. Black – Chicago area police sergeant – homicide, SWAT, investigations (ret.), and bestselling author of both fiction and nonfiction.

On-Site Crime Scenes and Hands-on Workshops

Killer Con is a hands-on training event for writers, with classes taught by top forensic experts and DOJ-certified law enforcement instructors.

Classes and workshops begin on Friday, starting with a live shooting scene response scenario.  Participants will see the event unfold in real-time as first responders, detectives, EMS, the coroner, and others arrive in response to a 911 call where the frantic caller states, “Help, someone’s been shot … I think they’re dead!”

Next, Dr. Katherine Ramsland hosts a murder scene where Killer Con attendees learn particulars about the crime and then explore the scene to determine the evidence needed to solve the case. Following Katherine’s workshop, participants attend classes and hands-on training sessions on Friday and Saturday. Information and techniques learned in these sessions provide the tools to solve this case and others.

Did You Solve the Case?

At the conclusion of Saturday classes, Dr. Ramsland reveals the case details from Friday’s Crime Scene Workshop. Attendees will then know if they solved the case or not.

… And More!

Killer Con begins Thursday at noon with a massive indoor “Touch-a-Truck” event featuring a variety of public safety vehicles, fire apparatus, CSI Unit, drones, SWAT vehicles and equipment, and other items for attendees to view, examine, and explore. Officers, firefighters, and other experts will be available for Q&A and live demos.

Thursday night ends with forensic artist Carrie Stuart Park’s session Don’t Lie To Me, a forensic study of the language of deception.

Friday evening features Dr. Katherine Ramsland’s presentation, Encounters with Killers.

Saturday ends with a banquet and keynote address by guest of honor Charlaine Harris. A book signing follows her talk.

Killer Con festivities end on Sunday with a fun and informative panel discussion with experts who answer attendees’ questions.

Click to watch the Killer Con promo video below. Please turn on the sound and watch to the end.


When the topic of identifying skeletal remains arises, two world-renowned renowned forensic anthropologists immediately come to mind—Dr. Elizabeth A. Murray and Dr. Kathy Reichs. Both experts are at the top of their profession and are two of approximately 100 anthropologists certified as Diplomate by the American Board of Forensic Anthropology.

Law enforcement and other investigators around the world have relied on Drs. Murray and Reichs, as well as other forensic anthropologists, for their help with solving high-profile criminal cases, and to help identify recovered bones.

However, in many instances, on-the-scene law enforcement investigators don’t have speedy access to experienced experts, and they need to know right away if the bones they or someone else discovered are human. This immediate knowledge helps them decide whether the remains belong to a person, and if what they have before them could be a crime scene, or the found bones are those of an animal, which could be the remnants of a family pet, wild animal, or farm livestock.

Knowing the differences between the two bone types (animal and human) could mean a significant saving in costs and/or wasted time of valuable resources if the bones are of bovine origin, for example. If the remains are likely human then it’s time to initiate a full-blown criminal investigation with all the bells and whistles.

So, what do cops and other people with little or no training do when they need to quickly determine if bones are human or animal?

Well, they could turn to OsteoID, a new tool designed to help identify the type of skeletal remains.

Designed by Dr. Heather Garvin and her group from Des Moines University Osteopathic Medical Center, OsteoID is an easy-to-use online tool in which anyone can use simple measurements and morphological information to determine whether a particular bone is human. If not, OsteoID points the user to which animal species it belongs. It’s that simple, and best of all it’s free! Even better, it’s available to everyone, including authors who want and need this sort of detail in their next mystery or thriller.

Here’s how it works.

Users first view a series of high-quality photos to help determine the identity of the bone(s) in question (humerus, tibia, femur, etc.). Once identified, the user is prompted to enter basic measurements—bone length, etc.). The program then returns detailed photos and, when available, 3D surface models/images, of the potential species to allow for comparison.

The list of species included in the system includes (from the OsteoID website):

Mammals: Humans, Black Bear, Brown Bear, Cow, Elk, Moose, White-Tailed Deer, Mule Deer, Pig, Horse, Sheep, Goat, Coyote, Wolf, Domestic Dog, Domestic Cat, Grey Fox, Red Fox, Racoon, Opossum, Rabbit

Birds: Golden Eagle, Goose, Chicken, Duck, Turkey

Turtles: Box Turtle, Snapping Turtle

For more, please click here to visit the OsteoID website.

In 2012 Dr. Elizabeth Murray was a featured presenter at the Writers’ Police Academy. Her session included a discussion about skeletal remains and the tools associated with identification. She also provided information about NamUs (the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System) and some of its success stories. Since 1986, Dr. Murray has been involved in forensic and historic skeletal investigations worldwide.

In addition to working as a forensic anthropologist and professor of biology at the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati, Ohio (now retired), Dr. Murray is also the author of the books The Dozier School for Boys: Forensics, Survivors, and a Painful Past Death, and Corpses, Cadavers, and Other Grave Matters, a fascinating, enlightening nonfiction book for YA readers about the science of death. As an expert, Dr. Murray has also appeared on local and national television and in numerous documentary programs, such as Forensic Files and Skeleton Stories, and she’s featured in productions such as New Dominion Pictures’ series Buried Secrets.

To read about how Dr. Elizabeth Murray helped solve a complex murder case using core samples from a human skull, click here.

Dr. Kathy Reichs was a featured presenter at the 2013 Writers’ Police Academy. Her talk focused on how she transforms her real-life forensic experiences into fiction, in the form of books and the TV show Bones. Bones, of course, is based on Dr. Reichs’ career and her bestselling books of the same name, featuring protagonist Temperance Brennan. She was an executive producer of the show.

The following is from Dr. Reichs’ website:

“For years she consulted to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in North Carolina and to the Laboratoire de Sciences Judiciaires et de Médecine Légale for the province of Québec. Dr. Reichs has traveled to Rwanda to testify at the UN Tribunal on Genocide, and helped exhume a mass grave in Guatemala. As part of her work at JPAC (Formerly CILHI) she aided in the identification of war dead from World War II, Korea, and Southeast Asia. Dr. Reichs also assisted in the recovery of remains at the World Trade Center following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.”


2024 Killer Con registration opens in January 2024.

Be ready to sign up because this is a KILLER event that’s not to be missed!

Visit a homicide scene and solve the case using tactics, tools, and techniques learned throughout the event.

2024 Killer Con Guest of Honor is internally bestselling author Charlaine Harris.

Click the link below to visit the Killer Con (Writers’ Police Academy) website to view the schedule of events, classes, instructors, and special guest presenters.

2024 Killer Con

“I. Know. My. Rights!”

Officers hear those four familiar words many, many times each and every day all across this great land of ours.

It’s a phrase often spoken by the wisest of the wise–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- and moltov cocktail-throwing adventures, and by pickup truck cowboys out hee-hawing it up after a night of suds-swigging and two-stepping at Myrtle Mae’s Bar and Grill in the strip mall next to the Sizzler turned Bingo Parlor that closed some six years ago.

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 cheap beer followed by six shots of Jack Black as a warmup to 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 it crosses, the message is the same, and it’s shouted and screamed and yelled into the faces of law enforcement officers. Of course, the phrase is often followed by a series of threats, such as …

“I. Know. My. Rights, you fat dumbass son of a whore doughnut-eating pig! No offence to pigs, mind you. You work for me. I pay your salary. I’m gonna have your job and I’m gonna sue you and your mama and I’m gonna take your houses and cars and your pension and your mother’s Social Security checks. You gotta let me go. This arrest is illegal ’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.


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.


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 is not only asking questions, but any actions, words, or gestures used by an officer to elicit an incriminating response can be considered 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 as long as they’re not planning 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.
  • Officers may not ask questions if a suspect asks for an attorney.
  • 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 withdrawal 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. Here’s a copy of the reverse side of my old Virginia Sheriffs Association membership card (same design, size, and feel of a credit card). I could not begin to count the number of times I’ve used it to read the words to crimincal suspects.

Miranda Card

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 require their officers to advise of Miranda at the point of arrest. However, the law does not require them to do so.

Full event details TBA