We are pleased to announce that renowned toxicologist Dr. M. Fredric Rieders has joined the 2021 MurderCon stellar lineup. This is an unbelievable opportunity to learn from one of the world’s leading toxicology experts! His session, “Forensic Toxicology: Homicidal Poisoning,” is an entertaining and educational discussion of the history of homicidal poisoning with case discussions of real poisoners and elaborate M.O.’s.

There’s still time to sign up, so hurry!

https://writerspoliceacademy.com

 

About Dr. Rieders

Dr. M. Fredric Rieders serves as Treasurer and a Director at NMS Labs in Horsham, Pennsylvania.

NMS Labs, Inc. is a US and internationally (ISO) accredited private, independent clinical diagnostic toxicology and forensic science laboratory serving justice and public health since 1970. Dr. Rieders was CEO from 1988 – 2008 and interim CEO from January – July 2020.

Dr. Rieders is a Fellow of The American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) where he was Chairman of the AAFS Opioids and Emerging Drugs Crisis Committee from 2017 – 2019. He remains active as Chair of the Information Sharing Sub-Committee and as a member of the Toxicology Section.

He is a Member of the American Public Health Association (APHA) where he participates in the following Sections: Alcohol/Tobacco and Other Drugs; Environment; Aging and Public Health.

Dr. Rieders is a member of the Society of Forensic Toxicologists (SOFT), The International Association of Forensic Toxicologists (IAFT), the World Association of Medical Law (WAML), and The National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME) where he serves on their Strategic Planning Committee, Foundation Board and Advocacy Committee. He served on Pennsylvania’s Commission on Wrongful Convictions where he worked with the Forensic Science Subcommittee on recommendations to improve the forensic science investigation system. Dr. Rieders has qualified as an Expert in Forensic Toxicology and testified in numerous criminal, civil and arbitration proceedings.

He earned a Chemistry degree from Arcadia University (formerly Beaver College) in 1980, and a PhD in Pharmacology/Toxicology from Thomas Jefferson University in 1985 where he was active as volunteer faculty and lectured in Toxicology. He is past President of the Jefferson College of Graduate Studies Alumni Association where he was honored as Distinguished Alumnus. Dr. Michael F. Rieders was the 2015 honoree of the Jefferson President’s Award which is given to Jefferson’s strongest supporters, truest servants and closest friends. He continues to serve on Jefferson’s Institutional Advancement Pillar Board.

Dr. Rieders served as a Term Trustee on the Arcadia University Board from 2009 – 2012, and as a volunteer faculty member serving as a course director and lecturer in Toxicology at Arcadia’s Master of Science in Forensic Science (M.S.F.S) program. He serves as Chairman of the Board of Advisors and Fellows at The Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Sciences at New Haven University and is on the Board of Trustees of the Fredric Rieders Family Foundation in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, as a Director and Chief Scientific Officer. Dr. Rieders is a member of The Vidocq Society, the premier US cold murder case investigation organization which examines cases and assist law enforcement agencies in identifying leads that may help solve homicides. He was awarded the Dr. Halbert E. Fillinger, Jr. Medal and Lifetime Achievement Award by The Vidocq Society in 2013.

He was an editor of the Pennsylvania Academy of Sciences publication Science Technology and National Security, and wrote a chapter in Forensic Aspects of Chemical Terrorism and recently published an article on his work with NASA: “Management of a Potentially Toxic Accidental Trialkylamine Ingestion during Spaceflight” in Aviation, Space and Environmental Medicine.

Dr. Rieders was featured as a Forensic Scientist in the BBC film, “How Sherlock Holmes Changed the World of Forensic Science” and Smithsonian Channel’s “Forensic Firsts: Proving Poison”. He is a frequent guest speaker and presenter at numerous conferences and seminars. Dr. Rieders is an avid advanced open water scuba diver, a sushi chef and enjoys gardening, photography and international travel.


WELCOME TO MURDERCON

MurderCon is a killer event that features renowned experts who train top homicide investigators from around the world.

Writers, please take advantage of this opportunity to learn from those who are the best in the business of crime scene investigation. I say this because this incredible event may not come your way again.

Sign up today while there’s still time.

*2021 Guest of Honor – Andrew Grant

Register here

 

 


Welcome to MurderCon. It’s a killer event that features renowned experts who train top homicide investigators from around the world.

Writers, please take advantage of this opportunity to learn from those who are the best in the business of crime scene investigation. I say this because this incredible event may not come your way again.

Sign up today while there’s still time.

*2021 Guest of Honor – Andrew Grant

Register here.

Click the play button below to view the video.


2021 MurderCon Video Teaser from Sirchie on Vimeo.

Leading characters should be written as real people with real problems and real goals. They’re people a reader wants to care about. Protagonists are likeable and smart, yet flawed in some way.

Sure, the hero will win, we know that, and we love seeing them doing what they do to solve the murder du jour. But what should they NOT do while poking and prodding through crime scenes? Well, here’s a short list of eight things we shouldn’t see in your books.

Don’t touch!

1. Picking up the murder weapon at an already secure homicide scene is a no-no. First, investigators should be sure the weapon was photographed exactly as it was found. Next, when the time comes to move the firearm, the detective should use care to protect possible fingerprints, trace evidence, and DNA. Of course, if the scene is not secure and 100 people are still running through the area like crazed zombies, officers should immediately secure the weapon using whatever means available, if any, to prevent contamination and to avoid the possibility of becoming murder victim number two.

2. Don’t let your hero cover the body with things found at the crime scene (blankets, sheets, the living room rug) because doing so could transfer potential evidence from the covering to the body, or from the body to the covering. I promise, the dead guy doesn’t care that he’s lying on the floor in his birthday suit.

3. Don’t let TV cops blunder around inside your protagonist’s crime scene. Outsiders are apt to step on evidence, spill things, move evidence, bring things into the crime scene (fibers, etc.) that shouldn’t be there, and they always, always, always touch things.

A crime scene isn’t the place to have a conversation about going to Cape Cod on vacation while walking from room to room drinking a cup of coffee. This also isn’t the time for shyness. If necessary, have the hero use their best command presence and demand that looky-loo’s remain outside the perimeter.

4. Please don’t have your hero dig a bullet from the door casing and then immediately say, “Just as I suspected, the murder weapon is a 9mm SIG Sauer.” It’s darn near impossible to know the caliber of misshapen bullets/fragments merely by looking at them, and cops, or anyone else, certainly wouldn’t be able to guess which brand of gun fired it. The same is true about entrance and exit wounds. You can’t judge the caliber size merely by glancing at an wound in human flesh.

5. Revolvers do NOT automatically eject spent brass. If empty casings are found at the crime scene it’s likely because the shooter manually dumped them there, which would be highly unlikely. Semi-automatics and automatic weapons do automatically eject spent casings, but you won’t find them in a neat little pile beside the body. Normally, semi- and fully-automatic weapons eject brass a few feet away from the shooter, and they may bounce in several directions, depending upon the surface/item they strike—concrete floor, wood flooring, lamps, tables, carpeting, etc.

Inanimate objects cannot be robbed. Stealing from a home is burglary.

6. Robbers cannot rob a house. A robbery occurs when a bad guy forces someone—a person, not an inanimate object—to give him money/items. Breaking into an empty house and taking a TV or jewelry is burglary. The two are not synonymous. They are not the same! I’ll say it again, robbery and burglary are not the same.

7. Cordite. Need I address this again? Your hero won’t smell cordite because the stuff is no longer used in modern ammunition.

Now, let’s delve a bit deeper into a couple of the areas I mentioned in the above list of things a protagonist should not do. For instance, I highlighted the fact that detectives should NOT cover the body with any item found at the scene. I also detailed that people entering a crime scene could contaminate the area by bringing in trace evidence on their shoes, clothing, etc. Tertiary transfer, my good friends, is the reason why these things should never take place, and here’s why not.

8. Tertiary DNA Transfer – DNA can be accidentally transferred from one object to another. A good example could be the killer who shares an apartment with an unsuspecting friend. He returns home after murdering someone and then tosses his blood-spattered shirt into the washer along with his roommate’s clothing. The machine churns and spins through its wash cycles, an action that spreads the victim’s DNA throughout the load. Police later serve a search warrant on the home, seize the clothing, and discover the victim’s DNA on the roommate’s jeans. The innocent roommate is arrested for murder.

Tertiary Transfer of DNA Evidence

The same can occur with touch DNA. A man shares a towel with his wife and his DNA is subsequently transferred to her face and neck. Later, a stranger wearing gloves chokes the woman to death, transferring the husband’s DNA from the victim’s face to the killer’s gloves. The assailant removes the gloves and leaves them at the scene. Police confiscate the gloves, test them, and find the husband’s DNA. He is then charged for his wife’s death while the real killer is free to murder again.

The example above (the choking case) actually happened, and those of you who attended the Writers’ Police Academy session taught by DNA expert Dr. Dan Krane heard him speak of it. He was the expert who proved this was indeed possible and he testified to it in the groundbreaking case involving accused killer Dr. Dirk Grenadier.

By the way, I’ve been talking about tertiary transfer/secondary-transfer of DNA evidence for a few years now. In fact, I first wrote about it in my book on police procedure, but I don’t think everyone believed me.

Here’s what I wrote (page 170 – 171 of Police Procedure and Investigation).

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“It’s actually quite easy to transfer DNA evidence. When evidence is transferred from a person to an item, it’s called a primary transfer of evidence. When evidence is transferred from one item to another, it’s called secondary transfer. Tertiary transfer occurs when the DNA that’s been transferred to a second item is again transferred to a third item. 

DNA can also be transferred to people who then use that item, such as a towel that’s been used by someone else. DNA can even be transferred from one article of clothing to another in a clothes washer.

Evidence that’s been cross-contaminated will exhibit false results and could be used to convict the innocent and allow the guilty to go free.”


“In December 2012 a homeless man named Lukis Anderson was charged with the murder of Raveesh Kumra, a Silicon Valley multimillionaire, based on DNA evidence. The charge carried a possible death sentence. But Anderson was not guilty. He had a rock-solid alibi: drunk and nearly comatose, Anderson had been hospitalized—and under constant medical supervision—the night of the murder in November. Later his legal team learned his DNA made its way to the crime scene by way of the paramedics who had arrived at Kumra’s residence. They had treated Anderson earlier on the same day—inadvertently “planting” the evidence at the crime scene more than three hours later.” ~ by Peter Andrey Smith, Scientific American


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Exciting News!

The Writers’ Police Academy is pleased to announce the June 2022 return to in-person, hands-on training at one of the country’s top law enforcement training academies. Registration for this action-packed, thrilling event often sells out quickly. Therefore, for the first time ever you’ll have a chance to secure your spot now. In addition, this offer includes a 5% discount off the 2022 registration fee.

Here’s all you have to do to take advantage of this incredible opportunity—sign up to attend 2021 MurderCon. It’s that simple!

Once you’ve registered for MurderCon, your 2022 WPA spot is automatically reserved at the specially discounted rate (5% discount off the 2022 rate).

Writers drive police vehicles in hot pursuit, then perform PIT maneuvers. THRILLING and HEART-POUNDING!

This offer applies retroactively to everyone who’s already registered to attend the 2021 MurderCon event!

Those of you who elected to rollover your Writers’ Police Academy registrations from the 2020 event that cancelled due to COVID, your spot is reserved for the 2022 WPA, at the 2020 rate. 

To claim your discounted rate, you must complete a new registration form. The 2022 WPA registration opens in February. Details coming soon.

In the meantime, sign up to attend the 2021 MurderCon, the ultimate training event featuring incredibly detailed and cutting-edge workshops. 

*MurderCon sessions, taught by some of the world’s leading experts, have never been available to writers, anywhere.

From the start of the Writers’ Police Academy over a dozen years ago, we’ve taken writers inside the typically closed world of law enforcement, forensics, EMS, and firefighting. We’ve introduced you to world-renowned experts. We’ve helped establish contacts between writers and experts, writers with agents and editors, and more. We’ve seen beginning writers grow, and we’ve seen seasoned authors expand their knowledge in ways that were once not possible.

It’s been a long and exciting journey, one that we’ve made together.

Our 2021 event, MurderCon, continues the tradition of delivering spectacular, unique classes. So without further ado … the fabulous 2021 lineup.

2021 Guest of Honor – Andrew Grant (Child)

Andrew Grant was born in Birmingham, England in May 1968. He went to school in St Albans and later attended the University of Sheffield where he studied English Literature and Drama. After graduation Andrew set up and ran a small independent theatre company which showcased a range of original material to local, regional and national audiences. Following a critically successful but financially challenging appearance at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival Andrew moved into the telecommunications industry as a ‘temporary’ solution to a short-term cash crisis. Fifteen years later, after carrying out a variety of roles—including a number which were covered by the UK Official Secrets Act—Andrew escaped from corporate life, and established himself as a critically-acclaimed author. He published nine novels under his own name, and in 2020 began a collaboration—writing as Andrew Child—with his brother Lee, to continue the internationally-bestselling Jack Reacher series.

He is married to novelist Tasha Alexander, and lives on a wildlife preserve in Wyoming, USA.

 

1. Rescue Your Characters from Sticky Situations: Fingerprinting Problematic Surfaces

Learn how experts process fingerprints on problematic surfaces, such as the sticky sides of various tapes, wet and/or textured surfaces, firearms, and more. Class includes instruction on forensic chemical processing and the use of powders and brushes to develop and capture prints. Attendees will receive training from one of the most knowledgeable experts in the field, who will lead the class in real-time, hands-on fingerprinting exercises using the kit supplied to attendees by Sirchie.

*All MurderCon attendees will receive the Sirchie kit in advance of the event!

Instructor – Andy Parker

Andy Parker has a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminology / Criminal Justice from Florida State University. He began his career in law enforcement with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. After seven years with FDLE, he worked crime scenes, analyzed latent prints and footwear evidence for the Tallahassee Police Department. In 2002 he began work with the City-County Bureau of Identification in Raleigh NC. At CCBI, he has held the position of Latent Print Examiner, Latent Print Section Supervisor, Deputy Director in charge of the Identification Division, Deputy Director in charge of the Laboratory and currently is responsible for the Investigations Division.  He is a certified Latent Print Examiner with the IAI. Andy is also a graduate of the FBI’s National Academy.


2. “Spatter” or “Splatter?” Have You Written it Right, or Wrong?

Attendees will witness the real-time creation of various bloodstain patterns, and then learn to recognize each configuration and how investigators determine where an injury or bleeding event occurred.

Former FBI Special Agent David Alford, a founding member of the FBI Evidence Response Team, presents the key information to each type of design and shape, and how the volume of blood, amount of force, and directionality of the force can form consistent patterns while still producing individual flares to each stain.

Combining this incredibly detailed training with their own observations, the class will understand how bloodstain patterns tell a story. This session is certain to help your stories zing with realism, including correcting an often-misused term. Is it Spatter, or Splatter? One is appropriate. The other is not.

Short Story Contest – Bloodstain pattern posters will be provided to attendees, who will then arrange them in their own unique order to build a crime scene. Then, when the plot begins to thicken, use those mysterious details to write a short crime story of 500-800 words to be submitted to contest judges. Prizes will be awarded to the authors of the top three stories. Contest to be judged blindly. Participation is merely a fun exercise and is not mandatory.

Instructor – David Alford


3. Solving the Unsolvable: The Pandemic of Murder Cases Across the U.S.

With over 17,000 murders in the United States each year, and nearly 40% of the murders going unsolved, a quarter million unsolved murders remain in filing cabinets and databases across the country. As a member of the Vidocq Society that specializes in assisting law enforcement in solving the most complicated murder cases, the instructor details why cases “go cold” and how detectives can become more efficient and effective at solving the most violent and serious crimes committed in the United States.

Instructor – Dave Pauly.

David Pauly retired from The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command as a Special Agent-in-Charge/Commander and Forensic Science Officer. He performed duties in over a dozen states, and frequently worked with local, state, and federal agencies. He also performed duties in Panama, South Korea, Afghanistan, Haiti, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey, Sinai, Egypt, Canada, Guam, and Nigeria. He holds a Master of Forensic Science degree from The George Washington University and is currently the Director of Applied Forensic Science at Methodist University, Fayetteville, NC.

David graduated the FBI National Academy (Session 195), Canadian Police College – Major Crimes Course, Miami-Dade Police Department – Bloodstain Interpretation Course, and National Fire Academy – Arson Investigation Course. He is a Fellow of The American Academy of Forensic Science, and is a current, or past member of the International Association of Identification, North Carolina Chapters of the IAI and FBINAA, International Association of Bloodstain Pattern Analysts, North Carolina Homicide Investigator’s Association, The Vidocq Society, American Investigative Society of Cold Cases (AISOCC), and various other professional law enforcement and/or forensic science associations.


4. Case Study of the FBI

She had a lot going for her—living on the Presidio of San Francisco with a gorgeous view of the ocean, a husband in the US Army, two sons, and a good path forward. Little did she know, on one February day, people stood outside her front door waiting to kill her. When she opened it, she was shot seven times, beaten, and stabbed. If she’d had any hope of surviving the deadly encounter, those expectations were dashed when her attackers slashed her throat, from ear-to-ear.

This presentation is the story told by David Alford, the FBI agent who worked the case. You’ll see photos of the crime scene, and you’ll learn about the FBI investigation which took four years to unravel the convoluted details. Was the victim’s killer an upset boyfriend? Her husband, or his mother who was happy to “take care of her no-good daughter-in-law?” Were others involved? It took another six years to bring four defendants to justice.

The bloody crime scene was preserved the entire ten years, remaining much like it was found the night of her murder. The break in the case came during a call from Fort Worth, Texas, when a host of participants and witnesses relayed various pieces of information needed to solve the case, including a string of arsons, a heartless nurse and mother, a new wife, a box of money, a map from Germany, and sex games used to eliminate one of the witnesses. Truth is indeed stranger than fiction.

Instructor – David Alford


5. Criminal Homicide: Viewing a Murder Scene Through the Eyes of a Seasoned Detective

Acclaimed homicide detective Jeff Locklear takes the class inside the barriers of crime scene tape, to a place where only police and medical examiners are permitted to go. This is a rare opportunity for writers to learn insider details of investigating suspicious deaths, and to pick the brain of a highly successful homicide detective who’s solved hundreds of murders, including high-profile homicide cases featured in the national media.

Instructor – Det. Jeff Locklear

Detective Sergeant Jeff Locklear, a 22-year veteran law enforcement officer, currently works with the Fayetteville North Carolina Police Department as a homicide police specialist and training officer.

As a homicide detective he’s been involved with over 350 homicide investigations. He’s also investigated hundreds of violent felonies including rapes, robberies, aggravated assaults, and missing persons.

During his career he has responded to hundreds to death scenes such as suicides, homicides, accidental deaths, and natural and unexplained deaths.

Detective Locklear has conducted thousands of interviews of violent offenders, including cases featured on 48 hrs (The Kelli Bourdeaux murder), Swamp Murders, NCIS – The Cases They Can’t Forget: The Holley Wimunc Murder, Scorned Love Kills 2014, The Today Show, and numerous other news and media outlets, such as People Magazine and Time Magazine.

He’s a founding member of both the 2008 Fayetteville Police Homicide Squad and the 2016 Fayetteville Police Violent Criminal Apprehension Team (VCAT). In addition, he’s served as sheriff’s deputy , Forensic Technician, Patrol officer , Crimes against persons detective, homicide detective, gun and gang task force detective, and as a Violent Criminal Apprehension Team Detective.

Detective Locklear has presented cases workshops at a number of conferences and events, including the North Carolina Homicide Investigators Conference, North & South Carolina Arson Investigators Conference , Fayetteville State University (Criminal Justice), Fayetteville Technical Community College (Registered Nursing students), Methodist University, and more.

Having spent the majority of his career investigating violent crimes, Detective Locklear has a unique and vast perspective of being the first officer on scene, the Forensic technician processing the scene, the detective investigating the crime, and the detective whose task it is to track down and capture the suspects who committed the crimes. He’s a dynamic speaker who can “escort you” to a crime scene, “walk you” through what happened, “show you” who did it, and then “lead you” to where the suspect fled after committing the offense.

Detective Locklear is married and the father of three children.


6. Forensic Toxicology: Poisoners Throughout History

An entertaining and educational discussion of the history of homicidal poisoning from the days of early man, down to the present, with case discussions of real poisoners drawn from criminal history. Also discussed will be the psychology of the poisoner, and poisons used by writers in their fictional works.

Instructor – John Trestrail, the “Poison Detective”

John Harris Trestrail, known as “The Poison Detective,” is a practicing boarded toxicologist, and for many years, was a visiting instructor at the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia, on the subject of murder by criminal poisoning.

Mr Trestrail is recognized internationally, as the foremost authority on criminal poisoning and murder by poison. For 33 years (1976-2009), he served as the Managing Director of one of the nation’s certified regional poison centers. He now serves as the Director of the Center for the Study of Criminal Poisoning.

Since 1990, Mr. Trestrail’s seminars on“Murder by Poison!” and “Poisoners Throughout History”, have been received with wide acclaim by audiences throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia.  Having presented over 300 seminars, he is a popular speaker.

As an expert consultant, Mr. Trestrail has served in many criminal poisoning investigations, to law enforcement and attorneys. He has been honored as a Fellow by the American Academy of Clinical Toxicology, and is a Diplomate, by examination, of the American Board of Applied Toxicology. Mr. Trestrail founded the Center for the Study of Criminal Poisoning, as well as the Toxicological History Society, and has been featured in multiple episodes on The Discovery ChannelThe History Channel, The Learning Channel, and PBS.

He was the project leader for the forensic research project that was able to resolve the key question in the famous British, 1910 Crippen murder case, using DNA comparisons with living exemplars, and took part in London, England, as a member of the research team, in the making of the PBS documentary “Secrets of the Dead: Executed in Error”, on this infamous poisoning murder case. He has been an active participant in the International Program on Clinical Safety, of the World Health Organization (WHO), working for the establishment of poison control services in the world’s developing countries.

Mr. Trestrail is the author of the pioneering book Criminal Poisoning: An Investigational Guide for Law Enforcement, Toxicologists, Forensic Scientists, and Attorneys, published by Humana Press, in 2000 (2nd edition in 2007). He is also one of the co-editors of the popular book Toxicology Secrets, published by Hanley and Belfus Publishers, in 2001. His third book The Poison Quiz Book(2nd Ed.), was published by McGraw-Hill, in 2006.

Graduating with honors, Mr. Trestrail obtained a B.S. degree in Pharmacy, from Ferris State University, Big Rapids, Michigan, in 1967, where he was initiated into Rho Chi (Pharmaceutical Honor Society). In 2010, he received the Ferris State University’s “Distinguised Alumnus Award”.  From 1967-1968, he attended graduate school, at the College of Pharmacy, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, majoring in natural product chemistry. Mr. Trestrail’s public service experience was as a Volunteer with the United States Peace Corps, from 1968-1970, where he taught chemistry at the University of the Philippines College of Agriculture, in the Republic of the Philippines.

He is a member of the following professional organizations:

  • American Academy of Clinical Toxicology (AACT)
  • American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC)
  • North American Mycological Association (NAMA) [Life Member]
  • Toxicological History Society (THiS)

7. Forensic Botany: Utilizing Plant Evidence to Solve Crimes

Forensic botanical evidence is relevant in high‐profile criminal casework and in circumstantial cases where little other evidence is available. When requested to assess the value of botanical evidence, a myriad of questions typically arise. A discussion of available scientific methods follows to establish how best to classify, identify, individualize, database and utilize this unique form of biological evidence. Case examples are often the best method for visualizing applications and fostering discussion with investigators. Two of the most fascinating cases I have been asked to participate in include a John Jay University student homicide where plant seed evidence was associative to the body, vehicle, and defendant (People of the State of New York v. Darryl Littlejohn); and an outdoor crime scene and clandestine grave where placement of botanical evidence and weather conditions were key controversial evidence regarding criminal intent and premeditation (State of Kansas v. Luis Aguirre).

Instructor – Dr. Heather Miller Coyle

Heather Miller Coyle is an Associate Professor in the Forensic Science Department at University of New Haven, a small private University located in West Haven, CT. She obtained her B.S. in In Vitro Cell Biology from State University of New York –Plattsburgh in 1986 and her Ph.D. in Plant Biology from University of New Hampshire in 1994.

Her work experience includes employment in the pharmaceutical industry (Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals; Ridgefield, CT) and the DNA unit of a forensic science laboratory (Division of Scientific Services; Meriden, CT). She is also a private consultant for DNA review and independent quality control of forensic laboratory casework on request and is court qualified to testify in six states and federal court.

Dr. Coyle’s research interests focus on touch DNA cases, trace biological evidence and DNA quality control issues. She is a science and technical writer who has published numerous scientific and technical peer-reviewed journal articles both independently and with University of New Haven student research projects.

She is also the editor of a textbook on Forensic Botany and a separate textbook on Nonhuman DNA; both relate to criminal casework and use of scientifc methods. Her consulting on botanical evidence includes assessment of cases such as the homicide of Imette St. Guillen (People of the State of New York v. Darryl Littlejohn), a double homicide with an outdoor crime scene excavation (State of Kansas v. Luis Aguirre), and the St. George’s County homicides (State of Maryland v. Jason Scott).


8. Mantracking: Hunting Humans

With thousands of fugitives going on the run each year it takes a dedicated, persistent, and competent “tracker” to locate and successfully return the most violent and dangerous felons to law enforcement to stand trial for their crimes. Taught by a world-renowned tracker, this session will provide details to add to your one-of-a-kind story.

Instructor – Kyt Walken

Kyt Lyn Walken serves as an official representative of Hull’s Tracking School and is the first female mantracking lead instructor at a U.S. school based in Europe. In Poland, she received instruction led by C.R.O.W. (Conservation Rangers Operations Worldwide Inc.) and was certified as a Wildlife Conservation Ranger.

Currently, Kyt hosts and teaches “ManTracking” courses across Europe, collaborating with Survival Schools, S.A.R. Groups, and with Ballistic Experts. She is proficient in Tactical Tracking, Anti- and Counter-Tracking, Strategic Movement, and Deceptive Techniques.

Kyt has trained Slovenian, German, and Italian Law Enforcement Officers, and members of Special Forces. She is a regular feature writer for prestigious US and UK based webzines whose focuses are Survival, Off-grid Living, and Prepping.

Recently Kyt has been entitled Directora de la Escuela de Rastreo Umano Carcayú (Director of the Umano Carcayú Tracking School) – Spain.

She is author of the Manuals “The Importance of Being a Tracker”, “The Urban Tracker”, “Tracking Compendium”(with Andy Martin) and “Jungle Warriors: The SAS In Malesia and Borneo,” available in English and Spanish.


9. Carolina Homicide: Case Studies of the South

Southern charm can be inviting, warm, and welcoming, but it can also have a dark side. Taught by one of the south’s finest detectives, Jeff Locklear, this session offers rare insight into homicides committed in the All-American City—Fayetteville, NC.

Nestled next to Fort Bragg, home of the Airborne Special Forces and Delta-Force, Detective Locklear and his fellow investigators have their hands full working cases that easily rival those of The Big Apple.

Instructor – Jeff Locklear


10. Forensic Entomology: Utilizing Insects in Criminal Investigations

Insects that inhabit human tissue in postmortem situations can play a valuable part in death investigations. In this class, taught by one of the world’s leading forensic entomologists, you’ll learn how experts use medicocriminal entomology to help determine time of death, establish the geographical location where a death likely occurred, link suspects to victims, and even offer a different source of toxicology and DNA evidence.

Instructor – Jason Byrd

Jason H. Byrd, Ph.D., D-ABFE, is an associate professor within the University of Florida Department of Pathology, Immunology and Laboratory Medicine and the associate director of the William R. Maples Center for Forensic Medicine.

In his capacity as a professor, Dr. Byrd directs programs in veterinary forensic sciences, wildlife forensic sciences, and forensic medicine. He has combined his formal academic training in entomology and forensic science to serve as a consultant and educator in both criminal and civil legal investigations throughout the United States and internationally.

Dr. Byrd specializes in the education of law enforcement officials, medical examiners, coroners, attorneys and other death investigators on the use and applicability of arthropods in legal investigations. His research efforts have focused on the development and behavior of insects that have forensic importance, and he has more than 20 years of experience in the collection and analysis of entomological evidence. He has also published numerous scientific articles on the use and application of entomological evidence in legal investigations.

Outside of academics, Dr. Byrd serves as a medicolegal death investigator within the National Disaster Medical System, Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team, Region IV. He also serves as the commander for the Florida Emergency Mortuary Operations Response System.

Dr. Byrd is a Board-certified forensic entomologist and a diplomate of the American Board of Forensic Entomology.  He was the first person to be elected as president of both the American Board of Forensic Entomology and the North American Forensic Entomology Association.  He has also served as President of the International Veterinary Forensic Sciences Association and subject editor for the Journal of Medical Entomology.  Dr. Byrd is also a fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences.


11. Committing the Perfect Murder – an interactive discussion of not getting caught

Modus operandi, Motive, Signature, Trophy, and X-factors are intriguing concepts to consider when writing the perfect plot. But pulling off the perfect crime is rarely accomplished by even the most prolific and intelligent of offenders. Attend this special session to discuss how to conceptualize the perfect murder!

Instructor – Dave Pauly

 


12. Trivia “Myth Busters”

Test your CSI and forensics knowledge. Is the information you see on television and film correct? How accurate is the crime scene technology, evidence processing, and police procedure seen in crime fiction? This informative panel discussion and Q&A will “bust” all common myths, mistakes, blunders, and gaffes.

A must-attend session designed to help writers eliminate embarrassing missteps in their stories.


Each registered attendee receives an official mini Fingerprinting Kit from Sirchie. The kit is to be used during the session called “Rescue Your Characters from Sticky Situations: Fingerprinting Problematic Surfaces,”
an interactive session taught by Andy Parker, a certified Latent Print Examiner with the IAI. Andy is also a graduate of the FBI’s National Academy.

Registration is open.
Seats at this virtual event are limited and are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
*Please direct questions to Lee Lofland at [email protected]

Sponsors, The Heroes that help make it all happen. You can too!

The Writers’ Police Academy needs your support!

Each year we rely on sponsorships to help offset the huge costs associated with the high level of programming we offer. Sponsor dollars also assist in maintaining affordable registration fees for writers at all stages of their careers.

Yes, sponsoring the Writers’ Police Academy is a worthy cause, but it’s also a wonderful opportunity to showcase your books and other products through the WPA’s unique far-reaching worldwide community of thousands upon thousands of writers, readers and fans, television and film writers. There’s also the potential to reach audiences not typically within an author’s fanbase, such as the over 700,000 law enforcement officers in the U.S. alone. In addition are forensics experts, attorneys, firefighters, corrections officers and staff and, well, the list is practically endless. The Writers’ Police Academy is the ultimate means of developing previously untapped sources of customers and readers.

Sponsorships are also a vital part of helping the Writers’ Police Academy continue with its unwavering commitment to aiding writers in their quest to write “killer” fiction.

So won’t you please join us as a 2021 sponsor? I’d deeply appreciate it!

Several levels of sponsorship are listed on the MurderCon website. They range from the Hero Level to friends of the WPA at the other end of the spectrum. No amount is too small or too large, and every single dollar is much appreciated and very much needed.

The list of sponsorship levels and benefits is available on the WPA “Become a Sponsor”page. There, you may also select the level of your choice and then and submit the corresponding dollar amount via PayPal. Or, payment by check is also welcome.

Sponsors are featured and promoted on the WPA/MurderCon sponsor page, on social media throughout the year, and on this blog, The Graveyard Shift.

Please contact me with your questions at [email protected]

The Writers Police Academy, and the writing community, wish to extend a deep and heartfelt “Thank You” to each of our generous supporters. Without you, dear friends, this celebrated event would not be possible.

What is it that sets writers of crime fiction apart from, well, everyone else in the entire world? Could it be that …

1. The worst murder scene in the world pales in comparison with the thoughts roaming through your mind at any given moment of the day.

2. You actually do wonder what human blood smells like.

3. Somewhere in your house is a book containing photos of crime scenes and/or dead bodies. (Click the book!)

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4. You want to ride in the back seat of a police car.

5. Your internet search history has a file all its own at the Department of Homeland Security.

6. At least once in your life you’ve asked your significant other to pose in a certain way so you can see if it’s possible/believable to stab, cut, shoot, hack, or strangle them from a variety of angles.

New-Picture-14

7. You own a pair of handcuffs, and they’re strictly for research purposes.

8. The cop who lives in your neighborhood hides when he/she sees you coming with pen and paper in hand.

sex in a graveyard

9. You attend more police training workshops than what’s required of the police officers in your town.

Lecture Hall – Writers’ Police Academy

10. While other people fall asleep listening to soft music or gentle ocean waves, your sleep machine plays the sounds of police sirens and automatic gunfire.

11. Your favorite bookmark is an actual toe tag from the morgue.

12. Writers in other genres listen to classical music while working. You, however, have a police scanner chattering in the background.

13. When using a large kitchen knife to chop vegetables, your thoughts drift to using an ax to dismember a body.

14. You see a cop and instantly know the caliber and manufacturer of the pistol on his side.

15. You’ve searched high and low for a perfume or cologne that smells like gunpowder.

16. You own a police flashlight.

17. Your screensaver is a photo of a police K-9.

18. The ringtone on your phone is the theme song for the TV show COPS.

19. You think you know more about crime-scene investigations than most of the cops in your city, and you probably do.

20. You’ve registered for 2021 Virtual MurderCon, a one of a kind event that takes writers behind the scenes to learn insider information about crime-solving from top forensics and law enforcement experts. And yes, we’re pleased to announce that spots are now available! So please spread the word.

 

 

www.writerspoliceacademy.com

 

TODAY is the LAST DAY to sign up for a “Seat” at Virtual MurderCon’s interactive event, and only a few “seats” are available!

I urge you to sign up asap to reserve your spot at this unique opportunity, one that may never again be available. This is a live event, presented in realtime. Q&A is available at the end of each presentation. In addition, the final session is live panel and Q&A discussion with each of the experts. So have your questions ready, because this is the time to gather the extraordinary details that will make your book zing with realism.

Registration for the Writers’ Police Academy special event, Virtual MurderCon, is scheduled to end at midnight tonight, July, 31, 2020.

Virtual MurderCon is a rare opportunity for writers to participate in live and interactive, “for law enforcement eyes only” training.

This incredibly detailed, cutting-edge tutelage in classes taught by some of the world’s leading professionals, Sirchie’s renowned team of crime scene investigation experts, has never before been available to writers, anywhere. Until now.

Virtual MurderCon Classes, Instructors, and a Special Presentation

This fabulous, one-of-a-kind event opens with “How to Catch a Serial Killer,” a special presentation by Dr. Katherine Ramsland.

Katherine Ramsland is a professor of forensic psychology at DeSales University in Pennsylvania, where she also teaches criminal justice and serves as the assistant provost. She holds a master’s in forensic psychology from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, a master’s in clinical psychology from Duquesne University, a master’s in criminal justice from DeSales University, and a Ph.D. in philosophy from Rutgers. She has been a therapist and a consultant. Dr. Ramsland has published over 1,000 articles and 66 books.

Dr. Ramsland’s background in forensics positioned her to assist former FBI profiler John Douglas on his book, The Cases that Haunt Us, to co-write a book with former FBI profiler, Gregg McCrary, The Unknown Darkness, to collaborate on A Voice for the Dead with attorney James E. Starrs on his exhumation projects, and to co-write a forensic textbook with renowned criminalist Henry C. Lee, The Real World of a Forensic Scientist.

For seven years, she contributed regularly to Court TV’s Crime Library, and now writes a column on investigative forensics for The Forensic Examiner and a column on character psychology for Sisters in Crime; offers trainings for law enforcement and attorneys; and speaks internationally about forensic psychology, forensic science, and serial murder.


Art of Blood – Violent crimes and accidents frequently involve the interpretation of blood evidence. This class includes presumptive testing techniques of stains thought to be blood, as well as searching crime scenes for latent blood with luminol when circumstances dictate that the area was cleaned by the perpetrator.

DNA evidence collection is also a part of this detailed session taught one of the top experts in the field.

Child Abduction/Murder – Taught by the investigator who solved the high-profile case that drew national attention, this presentation follows the evidence to tell the story and will graphically show the connections which solved the crime.This child abduction/murder case involves a 12 year old girl who was kidnapped at knife point from her bedroom while enjoying a sleepover with two of her friends.

Instructor David Alford is a retired FBI Special Agent with 21 years of experience investigating violent crimes, terrorism and other cases. He was one of the founding members of the FBI Evidence Response Team (ERT) and conducted crimes scene searches on domestic and international violent crimes and bombings, including the Polly Klaas kidnaping and murder, the Unabomber’s cabin and the 9/11 Pentagon scene. He worked in the Denver and San Francisco field offices and completed his career at Quantico in the FBI Lab ERT Unit. During the 6 years in the FBI Lab, he was primarily responsible for overseeing and teaching basic and advanced crime scene courses throughout the US and many other countries.

In the 6 years before the FBI, David was a Forensic Serologist, Hair and Fibers Examiner and Bloodstain Pattern Analyst for the Kentucky State Police Crime Lab. After retirement, David taught crime scene courses around the world on behalf of the FBI and US State Department. David has been with Sirchie as an instructor and sales representative for Sirchie’s RUVIS and ALS products for the last 10 years. David loves teaching and allowing students to learn through hands-on training.


Drugs/Toxicology NARCAN By Noon – This session will explore drug trends and mortality of drug users, and how can they determine overdose versus foul play.

Instructor Sgt. James Yowell, a counter drug investigator who, as an undercover officer investigated international drug trafficking cases targeting Mexican organized crime.


Entomology: From The Inside Out– Bug and scavenger activity can tell a lot about a corpse. Using entomology and environmental information, a skilled investigator can determine relative time of death, if a corpse has been relocated, and many other key facts. Learn how nature works from the inside out.

Instructor Dr. Bryan Brendley’s specific areas of focus are cell biology, botany, and forensic anthropology. He has conducted years of research on the impact of insects on decomposing bodies with his students. He teaches a comprehensive forensic science program.

 

 

 


Fingerprinting: Who’s MARK – Attendees will receive instruction on developing impression evidence from dust utilizing a electrostatic dust print lifter, and on porous surfaces, including paper and cardboard utilizing chemical processes. Cyanoacrylate (“superglue”) techniques for non-porous surfaces will be addressed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Instructor Jim Gocke is a graduate of West Virginia University and West Virginia College of Law. In addition, he completed a Fellowship in Forensic Medicine at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology and earned a Master of Science in Forensic Sciences from The George Washington University. He was employed by Sirchie Fingerprint Laboratories, Inc as Vice President/General Counsel and Director of Education and Training from January 1979 until March 2008. He was employed by Sirchie Acquisition Company, LLC as Director of Education and Training from March 2008 until his retirement in July 2015. Currently, Jim serves as an Independent Contractor to Sirchie, providing expertise in Education and Training, product development and evaluation and technical assistance.


Footwear Evidence: A Step In The Wrong Direction – Similar to fingerprints, footwear has unique and probative characteristics that are often used to track down criminals. Learn the tactics, techniques, and the one-off physiognomies that help lead investigators to the source of a crime du jour.

Shoes, Glorious Shoes: Lifting Footwear Impressions – This fascinating session provides details of the various techniques utilized to process areas conducive to footwear evidence. Instructor Andy Parker demonstrates the electromagnetic dustprint lifter, gelatin lifters, and other CSI techniques.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Instructor Andy Parker has a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminology / Criminal Justice from Florida State University. He began his career in law enforcement with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. After seven years with FDLE, he worked crime scenes, analyzed latent prints and footwear evidence for the Tallahassee Police Department. In 2002 he began work with the City-County Bureau of Identification in Raleigh NC. At CCBI, he has held the position of Latent Print Examiner, Latent Print Section Supervisor, Deputy Director in charge of the Identification Division, Deputy Director in charge of the Laboratory and currently is responsible for the Investigations Division.  He is a certified Latent Print Examiner with the IAI. Andy is also a graduate of the FBI’s National Academy.


Forensic Geology: “Sedimental” Journey– Think rocks and soil are boring? Not when presented by one of the few forensic geologists in the country who has testified in murder trials about her examination of soil collected as evidence from murder scenes that linked killers to known locations. Certain to be one of the most unique and intriguing sessions at MurderCon 2020, this session conducted by Heather Hanna will intrigue and inform attendees about the role of a geologist in mapping different soils throughout the United States—and a global level—and how forensic geology can prove useful as a foundation for comparison soil evidence in criminal investigations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Instructor Heather Hanna is a forensic geologist specializing in the analysis of rock fragments and mineral grains in soils as trace evidence. Since 2009, she has been involved in multiple forensic investigations and has testified as an expert witness in four first degree murder trials, the first of which set a legal precedent in Wake County for using geochemical analysis of mineral grains in court. As a result of her forensic work, she has been an invited speaker at many law enforcement conferences and continuing education programs including the Conference of District Attorneys, the North Carolina Criminal Information Exchange Network, the North Carolina Homicide Investigators Association, and the North Carolina International Association for Identification. She has also presented her forensic work at national and sectional Geological Society of America meetings and as an invited speaker for the Soils Science Society of North Carolina.


Gazing Into The Cloud – No one is anonymous. Your digital footprint is wide spread and mostly out of your control. The Cloud is an ominous vapor of data that can haunt the most cautious criminal or victimize most innocent of people. What can be found in the cloud? Learn how easy it is to mine the cloud and use this data for good as well as nefarious activity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Instructor Stephen Pearson combines more than 29 years of law-enforcement experience with in-depth expertise in today’s most pervasive Internet, computer, and digital device technologies. Stephen developed computer forensic tools and coursework for the US Army Military Police School, as well as served as a computer investigator with Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office (FL). As a founder of High Tech Crime Institute, he has developed and conducted courses for NATO, the Federal Government, and various law enforcement agencies. Stephen holds a B.S. in Computer Information Science as well as an MBA. He is also a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer, an US Army Master Instructor, and a certified Cellebrite Trainer, in addition to holding various other certifications for digital investigation.


Homocide Or Homicide: You Decide – Have you ever wanted to spend time picking the brain of an experienced homicide detective? Well, here’s your chance. Having investigated a wide variety of murders, attendees will find this session fascinating in content due to the breadth and depth of homicides that will be discussed. Included in the “new” topic will be the discussion of why the United States suffers from over 200,000 unsolved murders. These “cold case” murders rarely get examined or investigated once they are “put to bed” due to a wide variety of causes and reasons. Learn from one of the best detectives around who has investigated several hundred murders!

Murder Case Studies – In this intriguing and highly-detailed workshop, Detective Jeff Locklear takes attendees on a behind the scenes journey into actual murder scenes. Learn the investigatory tools and tricks of the trade used by a top homicide detective as he sought and captured brutal killers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Instructor Detective Sergeant Jeff Locklear, a 21-year veteran law enforcement officer, currently works with the Fayetteville North Carolina Police Department as a homicide police specialist and training officer.

As a homicide detective he’s been involved with over 350 homicide investigations. He’s also investigated hundreds of violent felonies including rapes, robberies, aggravated assaults, and missing persons.

During his career he has responded to hundreds to death scenes such as suicides, homicides, accidental deaths, and natural and unexplained deaths.

Detective Locklear has conducted thousands of interviews of violent offenders, including cases featured on 48 hrs (The Kelli Bourdeaux murder), Swamp Murders, NCIS – The Cases They Can’t Forget: The Holley Wimunc Murder, Scorned Love Kills 2014, The Today Show, and numerous other news and media outlets, such as People Magazine and Time Magazine.

He’s a founding member of both the 2008 Fayetteville Police Homicide Squad and the 2016 Fayetteville Police Violent Criminal Apprehension Team (VCAT). In addition, he’s served as sheriff’s deputy , Forensic Technician, Patrol officer , Crimes against persons detective, homicide detective, gun and gang task force detective, and as a Violent Criminal Apprehension Team Detective.

Detective Locklear has presented cases workshops at a number of conferences and events, including the North Carolina Homicide Investigators Conference, North & South Carolina Arson Investigators Conference , Fayetteville State University (Criminal Justice), Fayetteville Technical Community College (Registered Nursing students), Methodist University, and more.

Having spent the majority of his career investigating violent crimes, Detective Locklear has a unique and vast perspective of being the first officer on scene, the Forensic technician processing the scene, the detective investigating the crime, and the detective whose task it is to track down and capture the suspects who committed the crimes. He’s a dynamic speaker who can “escort you” to a crime scene, “walk you” through what happened, “show you” who did it, and then “lead you” to where the suspect fled after committing the offense.


Murder-Mayhem -Session covers Cause, Manner, and Mechanisms of death, Coroner vs. Medical Examiner systems, differences in legal terminology for murder, homicide, and manslaughter, as well as, the realities in death investigations that are equivocal in nature. Physical, testimonial, and circumstantial evidence as introduced into the courtroom will be applied to death investigations. A case study of a very unique and rarely scene murder by hanging, and the forensic evidence obtained from the physical autopsy will be presented. This presentation includes a discussion of psychological autopsies and when they are utilized in criminal investigations.

Instructor David Pauly retired from The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command as a Special Agent-in-Charge/Commander and Forensic Science Officer. He performed duties in over a dozen states, and frequently worked with local, state, and federal agencies. He also performed duties in Panama, South Korea, Afghanistan, Haiti, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey, Sinai, Egypt, Canada, Guam, and Nigeria. He holds a Master of Forensic Science degree from The George Washington University and is currently the Director of Applied Forensic Science at Methodist University, Fayetteville, NC.

David graduated the FBI National Academy (Session 195), Canadian Police College – Major Crimes Course, Miami-Dade Police Department – Bloodstain Interpretation Course, and National Fire Academy – Arson Investigation Course. He is a Fellow of The American Academy of Forensic Science, and is a current, or past member of the International Association of Identification, North Carolina Chapters of the IAI and FBINAA, International Association of Bloodstain Pattern Analysts, North Carolina Homicide Investigator’s Association, The Vidocq Society, American Investigative Society of Cold Cases (AISOCC), and various other professional law enforcement and/or forensic science associations.


The event concludes with a live, interactive Q&A panel discussion with each of the instructors. So have your questions ready!
Sign up today while there’s still time, at www.writerspoliceacademy.com

Over the years, many have requested that we host a virtual event. Well, those requests are now a reality!

In just a few short weeks a group of MurderCon’s top law enforcement and forensics experts will arrive in homes around the world (virtually) to teach LIVE online classes, such as Fingerprints, Chemical Processing of Prints, Presumptive Blood/DNA, Blood Spatter, Footwear Evidence, Lifting Footwear, Homicide Investigations, Murder Case Studies, Toxicology, Forensic Geology, and Entomology to name a few. Each session features Q&A time with the instructors. There are also a couple of surprises in store for attendees..

This is an extremely rare opportunity, and presenting this material in such intricate detail is not something that’s previously been available outside the walls of police and forensics training academies and facilities. Once again, we’re making it possible for you to attend sessions that are typically for law enforcement eyes only. This is the same material that’s taught to top investigators.

As you know, sadly, we were forced to cancel the in-person MurderCon due to COVID restrictions in North Carolina.

We made the difficult decision to cancel late Wednesday evening after receiving notice N.C. would not be moving to Phase 3 on June 26 as planned. So we shifted into high gear and Thursday morning we held the first meeting about developing a virtual event. We’ve since developed classes, format, retained instructors, platform, schedule, and more. The entire MurderCon website  and registration system will need to be retooled from the ground up.

Then comes a brief period of advertising leading up to the opening of registration for this very special virtual event, hopefully on July 6, 2020. We’re optimistic.

But, to make this work we need your help. You are our best means of advertisement. So please, please please, share this exciting news with your friends, family, on social media, your websites, to your writers groups, agents, publishers, and more. Shout it from the rooftops! I. Need. Your. Help!

As always, thanks so much for your continued support.

Lee Lofland

*Due to format and programming restrictions, space is limited. First-come, first-served.

Registered MurderCon attendees will receive an important announcement via email sometime Friday afternoon EST, June 26, 2020, or on Saturday June 27. So please check your inbox and spam mail. In addition, I’ll post the details here and on my Facebook pages.

Also, we have another exciting surprise in store for everyone, including the people who wanted to attend this fabulous event but for some reason couldn’t make it this year or in years past. As it’s been said, OMG, this is big! Lots of behind the scenes activity today with Sirchie, David Baldacci’s office, and here at Writers’ Police Academy headquarters. Busy, busy, busy.

Each year, the Writers’ Police Academy hosts a wildly popular hands-on law enforcement training event for writers, readers, fans, and anyone else with an interest in police procedure and the forensics used to solve crimes. MurderCon 2020 is a special event hosted by the Writers’ Police Academy, and Sirchie, the global leader in crime scene technology and products. If you’ve attended in the past you already know the event is like no other. If you haven’t had the opportunity to attend then you should sign up TODAY while there’s still time. It is truly an event of a lifetime.

The WPA is a massive production, one that requires multiple venues, busing, facility rentals, speaker and instructor expenses, training materials, equipment, supplies, caterers, etc. It’s expensive to say the least. Far more costly than, for example, a typical conference where the main expenses are hotel meeting rooms and A/V equipment. And we have those as well.

To help keep registration costs at a bare minimum, the WPA, in addition to an exciting auction (hint … REACHER!!!!) and raffle, we host two writing contests as fundraisers—the annual “Tales From the Graveyard Shift” anthology, and the Golden Donut 200-Word Short Story Contest.

The contests are fun and are beneficial to those who enter, the WPA, and the attendees of the Writers’ Police Academy events.

The WPA Anthology Series

Book Two …

People Are Strange: Tales From the Graveyard Shift (August 2020)

The winners of three available spots in the Writers’ Police Academy’s annual anthology contest will have their stories published in a traditionally published book, along with tales written by several top bestselling authors, such as Heather Graham, Phoef Sutton, Reed Farrel Coleman, Lisa Regan, Denise Grover Swank, and more.

Lisa Gardner is writing the foreword for PEOPLE ARE STRANGE, the 2020 WPA anthology.

Book Description

In the eerie glow of storefront neon lights and winking, blinking traffic signals, top bestselling thriller author Lisa Gardner emerges from the shadows onto a desolate, rain-soaked and uneven cobblestone street. It is from there, between the hours of midnight and dawn—the graveyard shift, that she introduces this collection of gripping tales of thrills, chills, and mystery.

*Lisa Gardner’s internationally acclaimed novels, published across 30 countries, have won awards from across the globe. She’s also had four books become TV movies and has made personal appearances on TruTV and CNN.

*Level Best Books publishes the “Tales From the Graveyard Shift” anthology series.


After Midnight: Tales From the Graveyard Shift (2019)

Book One …

Book Description (foreword by Lee Child ):

The curtain rises on this collection of twisted tales, revealing the words of bestselling thriller author Lee Child. Child sets the stage for a series of mysterious and strange goings-on that occur between the hours of midnight and dawn … the graveyard shift.

Contributing authors in this first anthology produced by the Writers’ Police Academy include bestselling mystery and crime authors, top television writers, true crime experts, and more.

Heather Graham
Phoef Sutton
Robin Burcell
Allison Brennan

Ry Brooks *contest winner
Carrie Stuart Parks
Lisa Klink
RJ Beam

Joe Bonsall
Katherine Ramsland
Denene Lofland
Michael A. Black

Emilya Naymark *contest winner
Mike Roche
Les Edgerton
Shawn Reilly Simmons

Rick McMahan
Marco Conelli
Cheryl Yeko
Howard Lewis
Linda Lovely
Lee Lofland

Copies of “After Midnight” are available here.


Golden Donut Short Story Contest

Winners of this challenging and fun contest receive the coveted Golden Donut Award along with a free registration to a Writers’ Police Academy event (the 2020 contest winner receives free registration to the 2021 WPA).

Golden Donut Short Story Contest Rules

The rules are simple. Write a story about the photograph using exactly 200 words — including the title. Each story needs an original title, and the image must be the main subject of the story. No clues as to the subject matter of the image or where it was taken. You decide. Let your imagination run wild. Remember though, what you see in the image above absolutely must be the main subject of your tale.


3 submissions allowed per person.

Submission deadline: Midnight (EST) July 1, 2020

Enter HERE


200 Words

No more. No less. Including the title, the story must be 200 words. “Don’t” is two words. “OMG” is three words. “Smith-Jones” is two words. Count them.

Finished Product

All stories are to be polished and complete. They must have a beginning, middle and a twisted, surprise ending.

Fairly Judged

The Golden Donut contest is judged blindly. Each entry is assigned a number so the judges do not see the writers’ names.

Reader Panel

A panel of readers will select their 12 favorite stories and then forward them to the final judge. All decisions are final. The judge will review and send the winning entry to the WPA.

About the 2020 Golden Donut Judge, Linda Landrigan

Linda Landrigan, editor-in-chief of Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine

Assuming the mantle of editor-in-chief in 2002, Linda Landrigan has also edited the commemorative anthology Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine Presents Fifty Years of Crime and Suspense (2006) and the digital anthology Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine Presents Thirteen Tales of New American Gothic (2012), and has found time to be active on the board of the New York City Chapter of the Women’s National Book Association. In 2008, Linda and her “partner in crime,” Janet Hutchings – editor of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine – were presented with the Poirot Award from Malice Domestic for their contributions to the mystery genre.

She will read the top twelve entries and then pick the winning story.

Announced at the Banquet

While the winner will be announced at the 2020 WPA banquet. The winner does not need to be present to win.

Open to All

Contest is open to everyone. You don’t have to attend the conference to win. You don’t even have to be a writer.

Let the games begin!


New Arc Books, an imprint of Level Best Books will soon be publishing a collection of Golden Donut short stories.

The Writers’ Police Academy is pleased and excited to announce the coming release of our second anthology, “People Are Strange: Tales From the Graveyard Shift.”

We’re equally excited to announce that THREE lucky writers could see their stories appear alongside those of bestselling/award-winning authors such as Reed Farrel Coleman, Heather Graham, Deborah LeBlanc, Lisa Regan, Denise Grover Swank, Phoef Sutton, Katherine Ramsland, Denene Lofland, and Lee Lofland, to name a few.

And, to sweeten the pot, the foreword is written by international bestselling author Lisa Gardner!

The Contest

Contest begins February 18, 2020 and deadline to submit stories is midnight EST on June 1, 2020. Submit your stories below.

3500 to 5000 Words – No more. No less.

Theme

People Are Strange.

Restrictions

No graphic sex, abuse, or political hot buttons.

Fee

$35 per entry. Unlimited entries.

*Contest entry fees are used to help fund and support the Writers’ Police Academy, as are all royalties and payments earned from sales of the anthology.
Judged blindly

All submissions will be read blindly by the judges. Your story will be coded to ensure anonymity before it is sent to the judges, therefore your name should not appear anywhere within the body of the story.

Original works

All stories must be the sole, original work of the author.

Unpublished

Stories must be previously unpublished in print or electronically, including self-published works to include websites and blogs.

Three winners

The top two entries will be published in the WPA anthology People Are Strange: Tales From the Graveyard Shift. Publisher, Level Best Books.

To enter and/or view details, click here – People Are Strange Contest Entry


There’s still time to sign up!

MurderCon, presented by the Writers’ Police Academy, is a special hands-on training event for writers of all genres, with a specific focus on solving the crime of murder. It’s a unique juncture of fiction and fact taking place August 6-9, 2020 at the elite Sirchie compound in Raleigh, N.C. Sirchie is the Global Leader in Crime Scene Investigation and Forensic Science Solutions. Their products and training have helped solve thousands upon thousands of murder cases worldwide.

Attendees receive the same instruction that’s offered to, and attended by, top homicide detectives and investigators from around the globe.

MurderCon’s incredibly detailed and cutting-edge workshops, taught by some of the world’s leading experts, has never been available to writers, anywhere.

Yes, MurderCon is a “Killer” event, and you’re invited to attend!

Keynote speaker – David Baldacci

Special Guest Speakers – Featuring pathologist Dr. Judy Melinek & author/husband TJ Mitchell. Also, Ray Krone, death row exoneree. Hands-on classes by FBI, ATF, Sirchie, entomologists, forensic geologist, anthropologist, clandestine grave expert, medical examiners, private investigators, homicide and sexual assault detectives, & many more.

To add to the fun and excitement, there’s a murder to solve, by YOU!

And, there’s the BIG news … Well, it’s still a secret but here’s a hint. YOU and REACHER!!

Sign up TODAY at:

MurderCon