So you want to be a detective?

Many people secretly long to clip a badge to their belts and then set out on the never-ending quest to save, well, everyone. But, there are a few things you should think about before you give up your day job to begin the hunt for your first serial killer. I’m betting you just might change your mind once you know that …

Don’t Shake Their Hands!

1. Bad guys and gals are rarely as attractive and well-groomed as those you see on TV. Instead, they often have poor hygiene and smell like really old gym socks.

Some love to flirt with detectives, batting their long eyelashes (male and female) and blowing kisses through breath laced with last night’s vodka and onion dip. Many do really disgusting things when you’re not looking. Like the guy who, when left alone in the interview room, stuck his hands down the front of his pants, rummaging around down there for a few seconds. Then, when the detective came back inside to continue the questioning, the little darling wanted to shake hands and be all “touchy-feely.” Thank goodness for video cameras. And you were wondering why cops don’t shake hands with suspects? Well, now you know.

Roaches and Mice

2. Detectives spend a great deal of their time inside the homes of witnesses and those of criminals and victims of various crimes. Many of those residences should have been condemned by the health department years ago. It’s not unusual, while questioning someone, to see roaches suddenly and almost magically appear on your clothing. You then look around to see if you can locate the source of the unexpected attack of creepy-crawlers, and to your horror the walls, ceilings, countertops, and furniture seem to be undulating with a huge sea of brown, antenna-twitching roaches.

Mice, not wanting to be excluded from the party, peek out from behind a stove topped with a mound of dirty pots and pans. And, lucky you, the mother of the little darling you think just killed someone, has offered you a nice, cold glass of iced tea, straight from the refrigerator that’s speckled with tons of roach crap. The bad part of the tea offering is that, for a moment, you actually considered accepting it because the house has no air-conditioning and it is nearly 100 degrees inside that sweet little abode. But the heat doesn’t stop eight bony, underfed cats from running, playing, puking, spraying, and defecating on the furniture and well-worn linoleum floors.

Stray Body Parts

3. Investigators are the lucky folks who have the pleasure of enjoying a nice dinner at home with the spouse and kids, and minutes later find themselves standing in a room where some poor soul’s brains drip from his bedroom ceiling. All because the victim didn’t have the decency to sleep with a man’s wife somewhere other than the married couple’s bed. And the wife, well, she’s blubbering “I’m sorrys” all over the place while her husband is escorted, in handcuffs, to a waiting patrol car.

Meanwhile, detectives have the pleasure of bagging and tagging evidence in the bloody bedroom, taking care not to step on bits of the victim’s skull, teeth, and a left ear. After all, even for you, an experienced homicide detective, it’s still a bit disgusting to get home at 4 a.m. and find a murder victim’s blood on your shirt sleeve, or a piece of the guy’s head stuck to your shoe. Better yet, your spouse makes the gruesome discovery the next day while tidying up.

Puke

4. One of the perks of becoming a detective is that you no longer have to deal with drunks, the little darlings who can be a real pain in the keister, right?

Unfortunately, a large number of criminals are intoxicated on cheap wine or beer, or both, or high on something that promotes the undeniable urge to eat a human face, when they commit their little illegal faux pas. Unfortunately, they’re often in the same condition when detectives pick them up for questioning. So, combine a lot of drinking and drug use with fear and nervousness and what do you get? Yep, last night’s chili dogs, fries, pickled pigs feet, and chocolate ice cream all over your brand new suit. Not to mention the overflow that spatters your desktop and case files.

Fighting in a Suit

5. Ever try fighting while wearing a suit and shiny shoes? How about wrestling with a 300 lb. angry woman while attempting to get a pair of handcuffs on her, all while rolling around in a muddy driveway? Then, as always, junior and three sisters jump on the pile, trying to stop you from taking dear old mom into custody. After all, all she did was kill dear old dad with a meat cleaver.

I’ll be the first to say this … never underestimate the strength of women. They will slap you three ways into Sunday, if you’re not careful.

My jaw still aches today from the times when …

Cars Without Guts

6. Detectives drive really cool cars, like my old dark blue Chevrolet Caprice, the one that would only reach 80 mph when I held the accelerator to the floor on a three-mile downhill grade. It’s not cool to be in pursuit of a wanted suspect, a guy running from you, and have every patrol car in the area pass you as if you were sitting still.

Investigators often get hand-me-down cars, like old patrol cars minus the markings—the cars that are no longer good enough for the streets. Knobs, buttons, and dials are often missing. Radios don’t work. The carpets and seats are stained with urine and puke, so much so that the cloth now feels like dirty canvas. Glamorous, wouldn’t you say?

So, there’s six reasons why it’s really cool to be a detective. And you thought all they did was sit around all day shining those pretty gold badges. Sure, they wipe them down, regularly, but not for the reasons you thought. Nope, they’re actually cleaning off vomit, roach dung, and blood.

Nice day at the office, huh?


*** A fantastic and unique opportunity! ***

On January 23, 2021, Writers’ Police Academy Online will once again offer an exciting and unique daylong live and interactive seminar. This course, “Criminal Investigations: Writing Believable Make-Believe,” features three of the country’s top investigators and forensics experts who will present detailed sessions on cybercrimes and security, 3D crime-scene mapping using drones and lasers, and an in-depth, behind the scenes chronicling of what happens when a victim of sexual assault seeks care in a hospital setting.

As a bonus, USA Today & Wall Street Journal bestselling author Lisa Regan details how to use the elements of fiction to craft a gripping crime novel.

Sign up today to reserve your seat!

Everyone likes to think their hometowns are the quintessential storybook villages from days long ago, back when we left our front doors unlocked and the car keys in the ignitions of the cars parked in our driveways. The times when kids walked to school, unafraid of perverts perusing the neighborhood. The days when the TV repairman came to your house to fix your set while you were away at work. He let himself in and locked up when he left.

Those were the days before school shootings and prior to the epidemic of human trafficking we see today. They were also the days way back when police recruits thought their towns and counties and states belonged to the Sweet-As-Apple-Pie Club, an organization consisting of towns and cities whose residents are clueless about the goings-on in their beloved “AnyTowns, USA.”

Drug dealers? In our town? No way! Murderers, rapists, robbers, and terrorists? Abso-freakin’-lutely no way! Not in our town.

Sure, we read the paper, but the bad guys who broke into old man Johnson’s house and killed him and stole all his prized collectible Elvis plates, well, they must’ve traveled here from another town.

However, it doesn’t take the police recruits—rookies—very long at all to learn that their sweet little towns are often hotbeds of rampant crime. Why, there are actual drug dealers who live down the street from dear innocent Aunt Ida. The hoodlums sell their wares—crack cocaine, meth, and weed—smack dab in the middle of the street. They shoot guns and they stab people and they rob and rape and steal.

There’s even a couple of gangs who rule most of the west side of town, and another on the east. The emergency room is busy with overdoses, wounded druggies, and cab drivers who were robbed at knifepoint. Gunshot victims and victims of sexual assaults. Shooting victims. Battered children and spouses. All of this from the onset of darkness until the sun returns to push away the night.

A rookie’s first few shifts are eye-openers. Who knew Mr. Perkins, the bank president, drank moonshine and beat on Erline, his loving wife of 30 years. And Mrs. Listickenpick, a chronic shoplifter? Why? She and her husband have more money than all the gold in Fort Knox. Then there are the drug addicts. Went to school with half of them. Embezzlers, nurses addicted to pills, doctors who prescribe drugs for their friends. Fights and arson and drunk drivers. Cop haters and school shooters. Pedophiles and stalkers. Killers who have no respect for human life. Baby beaters. Animal abusers.

Yes, these folks live in our towns. Our sleepy little villages where, in our naïve minds, crime doesn’t exist. But it does. They, the bad guys, simply walk the streets at times other than when you’re out. They’re the second shift. They punch the clock, signing on to work as we go to bed.

They come out in the darkness and, like roaches, scatter when an officer’s flashlight beam strikes their flesh. They crawl through windows to feast upon the property of others. They hunt and stalk prey, hoping to catch unsuspecting victims off-guard. They attack without warning. They beat and they steal and they bruise and they kill.

You may think your town is a card-carrying member of the Sweet-As-Apple-Pie Club, but the officers in your towns know differently. And even they, at times, are surprised by things they see out there in the darkness. Things that are sometimes the makings of a good nightmare.

It is the patrol officer who stands between us and them. That’s the line, our only line of defense against those things we don’t and/or choose not to see.

 


ATTENTION!!!

Special Event

Presents

Criminal Investigations: Writing Believable Make-Believe

A live and interactive virtual seminar

January 23, 2021

10:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (EST)

featuring:

 

Joshua Moulin, Senior Vice President and Deputy of Operations and Security Services (OSS)

Josh Moulin serves as Senior Vice President and Deputy of Operations and Security Services (OSS) at CIS. In this role, Moulin provides executive leadership for OSS while focusing on the mission of improving the cybersecurity posture of state, local, tribal, and territorial government organizations. Moulin is responsible for planning, developing, and executing OSS products and services, some of which include the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC), the Elections Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Center (EI-ISAC), US Cyber Challenge, security operations, incident response, and the cyber research program.

Moulin has been working in the cybersecurity field since 2004. Prior to CIS, he was an Executive Partner at Gartner where he advised senior executives in the U.S. federal civilian government and Department of Defense to shape organizational strategy, improve executive leadership, change culture, drive innovation, maintain information security and assurance, and implement technology using best practices and Gartner’s research. Before Gartner, Moulin spent five years at the Nevada National Security Site, part of the Department of Energy / National Nuclear Security Administration’s nuclear weapons enterprise. Moulin served in a variety of roles including as the Chief Information Security Officer and Chief Information Officer, responsible for all aspects of classified and unclassified IT and cybersecurity for this global national security organization.

Joshua Moulin will present “Cyber Crimes and Investigations.”


Karmen Harris, BSN, RN, SANE-A – Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner, Richmond & Moore County Medical Examiner

Karmen is a native to the coast of North Carolina and is a Registered Nurse board-certified as a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner for adult and adolescent populations as well as an appointed NC Medical Examiner for two counties. As a forensic nurse consultant, Karmen provides expertise in matters of sexual assault, domestic violence, child and elder abuse, and human trafficking. Karmen’s educational background includes graduating from East Carolina University in 2009 where she studied Anthropology and Forensic Science, an Associate Degree in Nursing from Carteret Community College in 2014, and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from East Carolina University in 2020.

Karmen Harris will present “Sexual Assault: When a Victim Seeks Care in a Hospital Setting.”


RJ Beam, Author and Forensics/Crime Scene Investigations Expert

RJ Beam has worked as both a police officer and firefighter. During his career he served as patrol supervisor, field training officer, evidence technician, firefighter II, fire department engineer, and fire/arson investigator. He is currently the Department Chair of the Forensic Science Program at a college in the U.S.

RJ Beam will present “Using 3D Laser Scanners and Drones to Document Crime Scenes.”

 

 


Lisa Regan, USA Today & Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author

Lisa Regan is the USA Today & Wall Street Journal bestselling author of the Detective Josie Quinn series as well as several other crime fiction titles. She has a Bachelor’s degree in English and a Master of Education degree from Bloomsburg University. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, Crime Writers Association, and Mystery Writers of America. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband, daughter and Boston Terrier named Mr. Phillip.

Lisa Regan wraps up this fabulous live, interactive seminar with her her presentation “Creating Dynamic Crime Fiction: How to Use the Elements of Fiction to Craft a Gripping Crime Novel.”

Cops: what's up with that look

Predatory animals watch and stalk their prey before moving in for the kill. They’re extremely patient, waiting for the perfect target—the weakest animal in the pack—because the battle is easier.

Criminals often exhibit similar behavior when interacting with law enforcement.  The cop who looks and acts weak—the meekest of the herd—often finds himself the target of all sorts of grief, from verbal abuse all the way to physical assault.

So what do cops do as a front line defense against all that unnecessary heartache? Well, for starters, they’re taught to have and demonstrate what’s known as Command Presence.

An officer who looks sharp, acts sharp, and is sharp, has an advantage over the officer who dresses sloppily and isn’t all that confident about their work. The latter are the officers who most often find themselves having the most difficulties on the street.

 

Command presence is all about being at the top of the game. Taking a few minutes to be sure your shoes, badge, and brass are polished goes a long way toward projecting a positive image. So does wearing a clean and neatly pressed uniform. And let’s don’t forget regular trips to the folks who cut hair for a living. The combination of these things help to make an officer look confident. Think about it … who would you trust more, the officer with the dirty, wrinkled clothing and shaggy hair, or the officer who looks fresh and sharp, stands straight and tall, and projects a solid air of authority?

Crooks size up officers the same way you do. However, they have other things in mind when they do. They, like animals culling the herd, watch, looking for the weaker officers, and those are the officers who’ll most likely be dealing with escape attempts, lies, and other criminal tricks.

Tips for developing a better command presence

  • Be professional at all times. And that includes updated training when available. A cop who knows his job inside-out projects more confidence. The same is true with physical training. Stay in shape and know, trust, and practice your defensive tactics.
  • Good posture is important. The officer who stands straight and tall has an advantage over the officer who slouches. Poor posture often comes across as weakness, especially when confronting an aggressive suspect.

Captain Randy Shepherd is a textbook example of Command Presence.

NWTC Public Safety Academy and Writers’ Police Academy firearms instructor. Another fine example of Command Presence.

  • Always make and maintain eye contact when speaking to someone.
  • Honesty and consistency are important traits. Bad guys will quickly learn that what you say is what you mean, each and every time.
  • Always treat everyone fairly and with dignity.
  • First impressions only come around once, so make it your best effort. If a suspect’s first impression of you is that you’re meek and weak, well, you can expect to have a rough day.
  • Size up everyone. Always be aware of who and what you’re dealing with, and stay one step ahead of the person in front of you. Remember, that person may want to kill you so be prepared to do what it takes to survive. Do this each and every time you come into contact with someone. No exceptions! You never know which person is the one who plans to do you harm.

Most importantly, believe in yourself. Have confidence in what you do and who you are. All the shoe-shining and training in the world will not help you if you’re playing make believe. The bad guys will see through that in a heartbeat.

Cops and Command Presence: What’s Up With That Look?

Colleen Belongea – NWTC Public Safety Academy and Writers’ Police Academy instructor, Green Bay PD (ret.), and current co-owner of Assured Private Investigations, a PI firm based in Appleton, Wi. Colleen’s partner,Jill Goffin, is also a NWTC Public Safety Academy and Writers’ Police Academy instructor. 

Remember, command presence is only the first step in the “stay safe” equation. Others include:

  • Be aware of your surroundings. What can the bad guy use as a weapon? Does he have a friend lurking in the shadows? Do YOU have an escape route, if needed?
  • Officers must be prepared, without hesitation, to do what it takes to control a situation. Many times, all that’s needed to gain and maintain control is verbal instruction, and it would be wonderful if a handful of nouns and verbs were the ultimate “fix-all” tools. However, we don’t live in an always-happy world filled only with glitter, delicious chocolate, and smile factories. So, unfortunately, use of force will come into play during an officer’s career … many times.
  • Never, ever, be in the position where you’re forced to react after-the-fact to a situation you weren’t prepared to handle. If the situation is one where you absolutely must place your hands on a suspect, then be prepared to see the arrest through until the suspect is in restraints and tucked safely away in the rear compartment of your patrol car.

Hamilton One 125

  • When encountering a violent suspect, think ahead and be prepared to increase the level of force used to effectively make the arrest. The idea is not to injure anyone. Instead, the goal is to engage, arrest, and restrain without unnecessary harm to anyone. If the suspect chooses to fight until there is only one person left standing, then be certain that person is you.

Hamilton One 019

  • Effective command presence leaves no doubt as to who’s in charge of the situation, even without speaking a single word.

New Picture (2)

So wear the badge proudly, stand tall, and do what it takes to come home at night.


By the way, civilians in authoritative positions should also exhibit a command presence, and many do so instinctively. Command presence also applies to public speakers, including writers when appearing at conferences and book signings and readings. One of the best in the business at the command presence game is author Lee Child. The moment Child enters a room you know he’s confident, poised, and in full control of each word spoken. He looks sharp, acts sharp, and, well, he is sharp. And it shows.

Lee Child – Writers’ Police Academy

Another fantastic example of someone with fantastic command presence is author/former prosecutor Marcia Clark (yes, that Marcia Clark). Clark comes across as a take charge person, always in control no matter the situation.

Marcia Clark addressing the entire group at the Writers’ Police Academy

Both Lee Child and Marcia Clark are confident in what they do, but their personalities are also warm enough to transform even the largest iceberg to a puddle, even at a homicide scene (shallow grave workshop at the 2012 Writers’ Police Academy).

Lee Child and Marcia Clark – shallow grave workshop at the 2012 Writers’ Police Academy

So, you see, having command presence does not necessarily mean a person has to be tough and gruff, but can be when the situation calls for it.

After all, even the toughest of the tough have their tender moments.

GTCC/WPA instructors Stan Lawhorne and Jerry Cooper – Writers’ Police Academy

There’s nothing in this world like entering an abandoned house in mid July to begin working a murder case, a scene where the pungent and putrid scent of rotting human flesh and organs fill your nostrils and lungs and adheres tightly to your clothing, hair, and skin like an invisible, gag-inducing, impossible-to-remove film.

If the stifling heat, humidity, and gut-wrenching stench of decomposing human don’t get to you, well, the flies, maggots, and other creepy critters that crawl in and out of the vicim’s mouth, ears, nose, open wounds and other body openings certainly will. But, it’s a job that falls into the laps of homicide cops—it’s what they do—and it’s a job that requires a special skill set. Not to mention a stomach made of cast iron and steel plating.

So let’s open the door to the house at the end of your street—the old Victorian that’s been empty for two years and is now surrounded by waist-high weeds. The once beautifully manicured lawn is now a graveyard for litter and other garbage left behind by transients and the kids who toss their empty fast food wrappers and plastic soda bottles over the rusted chain-link fence. The window panes are broken and many of the  shingles have fallen off.

For months now neighbors have seen a homeless man going and coming, but suddenly realized that he hadn’t been around in the past two weeks, and there’s that strong odor. Like something is … dead.

So they call the police and before long the neighborhood is overrun by patrol cars and crime scene tape.

Inside the murder house, detectives are doing what they do best. They’re checking all the boxes on their mental checklist. And now their focus is on the victim.

The Effects of Death on the Human Body

Prior to the removal of a body from the crime scene, homicide investigators should note (and photograph) the presence of each of the following in his/her report:

1) Livor/Lividity (color, location, blanchability, Tardieu spots, other coloring). Are these consistent or inconsistent with the current positioning of the body.

Remember, lividity is the pooling of blood/purplish staining of tissue at the lowest portions of a dead body, caused by gravity. Livor continues to form for up to 8 – 12 hours after death. This process can be slowed to as much as 36 hours in a cool environment, including a morgue cooler.

To test for blanchability, a death investigator uses a finger(s) to push against the flesh. The pressure forces blood out of the capillaries in that area, causing the flesh to present as much lighter in color. If the pressure does indeed cause a change in skin color, the flesh is blanchable. This tells the investigator the body is still within the lividity period, meaning the victim died sometime within the past 12 hours, or up to 36 hours in cool surroundings.

You can try this on your own skin. Use a finger to apply pressure to the back of your hand. Release the pressure after a second or two and you’ll see the change in skin color. Obviously you’ll use the finger of one hand to press against the skin on the back of your other hand. By the way, if you needed that instruction then the warning to remove Pop Tarts from their wrapper before heating are probably very important to you. And, if there was no change in your skin color, well, I hope your life insurance policy is up to date.

Tardieu spots are dark, circular areas—capillary ruptures.

2) Rigor

Muscles contain bundles of long, narrow cells. While we’re seated at our computers reading blogs and watching goofy videos, our muscles are, for the most part, at rest.

While resting, our muscles pump out calcium ions which build up electrical potential (energy). Then, when we’re ready to make that run to the mailbox to retrieve the latest royalty check, a nerve impulse causes those ions to hook up with actin and myosin filaments and the muscles contract (become tighter). They remain in that state until adenosine triphosphate (ATP) binds to the myosin, and before you know it the muscles once again relax.

Got it now? No, well, don’t worry. All we need to know is that ATP has an obsession with oxygen. It absolutely has to have it to survive (you know, like Justin Bieber needs bodyguards to protect his scrawny, arrogant self from being slapped into a different universe).

Actually, the body needs oxygen to produce ATP. Therefore, when a person stops breathing (no oxygen) the body ceases to make adenosine triphosphate. Without ATP our muscles can no longer relax. And when the muscles can’t relax, what happens? Yes, the body stiffens. And that, my writer friends, is called Rigor.

3) Degree of decomposition (putrefaction, adipocere, mummification, skeletonization, etc.). Everything affects decomposition, from air temperature to insects to shellfish and turtles (body in water). Even soil types and clothing can affect the rate of decomposition. Interestingly, newborns who have not yet been fed, decompose slowly since the body is basically sterile. However, an injury or being fed will cause a newborn’s body to decompose more rapidly.

a) Putrefaction – the final stage of decomposition. Presents as discoloration of tissue, disfiguration, liquefaction of tissue, bloating due to gases forming in the tissue and organs.

The general order of putrefactive changes are as follows:

First to go are the larynx and trachea, followed by …

– stomach, spleen, and intestines

– lungs and liver

–  brain

– heart

– bladder, uterus, kidneys

– skin, tendons, and muscle

– bone

*The prostate resists putrefaction for a long time.

b) Adipocere – a waxy, soap-like substance that’s sometimes formed during decomposition. Normally caused by moist or damp conditions surrounding the decomposing body.

D. Insect and animal activity. Obviously, insects and animals can and do consume body parts. Animals may also scatter human remains, sometimes making the murder scene a bit more difficult to understand at first look.

E. Scene temperature. Note the temperature at the location of the body, and the method used to obtain it.

F. Description of body temperature. Is it warm to the touch? Is the flesh cold, or frozen?

It is extremely important to preserve the security of the body. Remember, the body is most likely THE most important piece of evidence in a murder case. Investigators should oversee the labeling, packaging, and the removal of the remains by the M.E’s personnel, or EMS, etc. An identification tag should be attached to the body to prevent any mix ups later, at the morgue (yes, this has happened, and on more than one occasion).

Finally … No, detectives do NOT use thermometers of any type, including rectal thermometers, to check the temperature of a dead body. It is not in their job description to do so. Yes, I once read the rectal thermometer thing in a book. So, no, no, and NO!

By the way, the image to the left is of a grilled pork chop. Had your stomach turning for a moment, huh?

 


Happy New Year’s Eve!

Remember, Writers’ Police Academy Online has another exciting live and interactive seminar coming up on January  23rd. Details TBA in a couple of days!

 

One of the most dangerous aspects of working as a law enforcement officer is not the suspect who’s standing ready to fight, the armed robber who’s decided to stop running and turns square-off with the cop who’s been in pursuit for several blocks, or even heading to a shots-fired call. Instead, the most perilous, threatening, hazardous (you pick the synonym) situation officers face is the unknown—what they can’t see. It’s the what or who is waiting for them behind a doorway, a dark alley, or somewhere within a stairwell that sends the scary-meter off the charts.

The Fatal Funnel

The entrance to these areas of “the unknown” is often called the “fatal funnel.” For example, a murder suspect was seen entering a backyard garage at the end of dead-end street. The garage is a large building and the owner tells officers that it’s packed full of antique furniture, lots of boxes of all sizes, four old cars, a tractor, lawn care equipment, and an assortment of cabinets, shelving, and other typical garage bits and bobs.

There’s only one way in and that’s a side door made of solid metal. There are a few windows, of course, but unfortunately they’re blocked by stacks of cardboard boxes.

The door, then, is the point that separates the officers from access to the concealed killer. It’s the sole point of access to the interior of the garage. It is where the wide expanse of the outdoors narrows to a single point. The doorway and immediate area leading to it is the fatal funnel.

Unfortunately, for the officers, that doorway must be breached, and they must go inside to bring out the criminal. It’s their job. It’s their duty.

The Two “Cs”

“Cover” and “Concealment” are terms drilled into the minds of rookie officers during their academy training. They’re also stressed during briefings and training sessions for SWAT and High-Risk entry teams. All officers should keep those words and their meanings at the top of the “things I must do” each and every day” list.

A cover is an object or barrier that has the capability of likely and hopefully stopping projectiles such as bullets, rocks, bottles, etc.

Concealment is something that prevents officers from being seen. It’s any place where an officer could hide to prevent a suspect from knowing their precise position, and what he/she may be doing (reloading, calling for backup, moving into a more tactically advantageous position, etc.).

Doorways are the danger end of the fatal funnel. It’s the point where an officer can be easily seen. It’s where they’re the most vulnerable to attack, and it’s the place where  it’s difficult to move out of the path of incoming projectiles. This is the place where an officer is most likely to die during a high-risk entry.

Author Lee Goldberg learns safe building entry procedures while at the 2016 Writers’ Police Academy

It’s why officers are taught to never stand in front of a doorway during a high-risk incident. After all, the advantage in these situations is definitely in the hands of the suspect. They know where the officers are positioned but it’s up to the officers to learn the bad guy’s location.

Prior to entering the home/room, the first officer to enter should take a quick peek inside using just a small portion of the head to penetrate the doorway. With firearm at ready, the shooting hand also penetrates the doorway simultaneously with the head. This action enables the officer to address an active and immediate threat. The officer should then have an idea of the layout of the room that’s immediately beyond the doorway. They may also learn the location of the suspect and other possible threats, such as animals, boobytraps, etc.

Two officers preparing to enter the fatal funnel – 2016 Writers’ Police Academy

After the quick peek it’s time to pass through the fatal funnel. It’s the decision of the first officer whether he/she goes right or left. The second officer entering must go in the opposite direction. If the first officer goes right, the second officer enters to the left. Each officer then clears the corner nearest to them.

Room clearing instruction at the 2016 Writers’ Police Academy

The eyes should be in the direction of the muzzle of the gun. Where it goes the eyes should follow. Peripheral vision is a MUST to detect movement and activity in all directions. Again, though, the immediate focus of the eyes is where the weapon is pointed.

Each area of each room must be searched in the same slow and methodical process, and each doorway within a house is its own fatal funnel.

Two techniques used to safely enter a building or room are “Criss-Crossing” and “Buttonhook.”


It is the goal of the officers to safely locate and apprehend the suspect. However, that’s not always the outcome, such as the recent shootout in Houston, where five narcotics officers serving a search warrant immediately came under fire the moment they entered the fatal funnel of the home to be searched. After the first officer entered and was shot, it was up to the remaining officers to first go in to bring out the injured officer, and then to apprehend the shooter(s). As a result, four of the officers were shot (two in the face) and a fifth suffered a knee injury.

When the first officer entered the house, he was attacked by a large pit bull. Then one of the suspects, 59-year-old Dennis Tuttle, opened fire, striking the officer in the shoulder. The officer fell and the second suspect, 58-year-old Rhogena Nicholas, tried to grab the officer’s service weapon. She was shot and killed by the officers who were on the way in to rescue their fellow officer. Tuttle was also killed during the shootout.

The officers obtained the search warrant because they knew black tar heroin was being soldfrom the house.

I’ve been the first officer through the fatal funnel, many times, and I can assure you that the feeling associated with doing so is practically indescribable. The adrenaline released when the decision to “go in” cannot be compared to any other. It’s a combination of fear and courage that, when teamed together, instantly forces your feet to move forward without hesitation. Your heart pounds and your vision and hearing become razor sharp. Your muscles are hard but fluid, and your mind is focused on nothing but the task at hand.

Once, when entering a house, I was attacked from the rear by man holding a steak knife in his hand. He’d been concealed behind a large piece of furniture to my right (I’d chosen to left after a quick peek). The second officer entering the room quickly stopped the attack and the third officer took the second man’s place and continued going to the right  while the attacker was pulled from the room. We located the main suspect hiding in a room at the back of the house. After clearing all the rooms and cuffing everyone inside, we located a fairly substantial supply of crack cocaine.

Looking back, I think about all the times I could’ve been shot, like the officers in Houston. Would I do it again, if in that position? Absolutely.

It’s what cops do. It’s part of the job.

Fatal funnel and all.


Sadly, on the same day I posted this article about the extreme danger associated with the fatal funnel, the Virginia State Police announced this sad news. I trained at the same academy as did this brave young trooper.

Trooper Lucas B. Dowell was a member of the Virginia State Police Tactical Team that was assisting the Piedmont Regional Drug and Gang Task Force with executing a search warrant at a residence in the 1500 block of Cumberland Road/Route 45, just north of the town limits of Farmville. The Tactical Team had made entry into the residence shortly before 10 p.m. Monday when an adult male inside the residence began shooting at them. The Tactical Team members returned fire, fatally wounding the male suspect.

Trooper Dowell was transported to Southside Community Hospital in Farmville where he succumbed to his injuries.

Many local and state law enforcement have the luxury of maintaining laboratories for forensic testing. Within those labs scientists of various expertise carry out the examinations of a wide assortment of evidence recovered during criminal investigations.

Sometimes, though, even the best equipped labs fall short of having the ability to test certain materials. Therefore, scientists in those labs call on experts in other locations whose labs have the proper devices (and scientific know how) to carry out the needed tests.

Many times the go-to facility is the Forensics Services of the FBI Laboratory Division in Quantico, Va., one of the largest and most extensive crime labs in the world.

The Forensics Services of the FBI Laboratory Division is responsible for:

  • Biometric analysis services—Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), DNA examinations and profiles, and latent print examinations and training.
  • Crime scene documentation; evidence and hazardous evidence response; investigative/forensic photography and imaging support; scientific, technical, and forensic support for investigations involving chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear materials; and expertise in health and safety matters.
  • Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center (TEDAC), the single interagency organization to receive, fully analyze, and exploit all terrorist improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, of interest to the United States.
  • Chemical and metallurgical analyses and training, expertise in cryptanalysis and firearms/toolmarks, and examinations of trace evidence and questioned documents.

Forensics Services of the FBI Laboratory Division are available to:

  • FBI field offices and attachés.
  • Federal agencies, U.S. attorneys, and military tribunals (for civil and criminal purposes).
  • State, county, and local law enforcement (criminal matters).

*Forensic services and testimony of expert witnesses are provided to the above free of charge.

Cases Not Accepted or Conducted by the Forensics Services of the FBI Laboratory Division:

  • When local and state, or other non FBI laboratories have the capabilities to conduct the requested testing/examination.
  • No expert testimony will be provided when another expert is scheduled to testify for the prosecution on the same subject.
  • Forensic services and testimony of expert witnesses is not available to private agencies or individuals, nor are requests accepted from non-law enforcement agencies in civil matters/cases.
  • Arson and explosive cases involving unoccupied buildings and property are not accepted by FBI Forensic Services (unless terrorism is suspected).
  • Vandalism and malicious mischief toward personal and commercial property.
  • Headlight examinations in cases of nonfatal traffic crashes, unless the vehicle involved is that of law enforcement or government officials.
  • Nonfatal hit and run auto accidents.
  • Vehicle theft, unless the case involves a theft ring or carjacking.
  • All breaking and entering cases.
  • Theft and fraud cases under $100,000

What the FBI investigates:

  • Public corruption
  • Civil rights
  • Organized crime
  • White collar crime
  • Violent crime such as mass killings, sniper murders, serial killings, gangs, crimes against children, Indian Country crimes, jewelry and gem theft, assisting state and local agencies in investigating bank robberies
  • Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Details are Important

It’s important for writers hoping to offer a bit of realism in their stories to at least know the basics of criminal investigations, including “who does what?” For example, absent in the list cases investigated by the FBI is MURDER. No, typically the FBI does NOT investigate local murder cases, nor do they ride into town on white horses to take over bank robbery or abduction cases. Instead, they’re available to assist local and state agencies. However, if a local department is not equipped to handle a bank robbery, for example, the FBI will indeed take the lead upon request.

In a case of child abductions there does not have to be a ransom demand nor does the child have to cross state lines or be missing for 24 hours before the FBI will become involved. When the FBI is alerted that a child has been abducted they’ll immediately spring into action and open an investigation. They will do so in partnership with state and local authorities.

Sure, I and officers/investigators across the country have investigated numerous abduction cases where the FBI was not involved. But there are times when it’s best to call on every available resource, and there’s no one better equipped or trained than the FBI. After all, the priority is the safe return of the child.

So there you have it, writers—details to help add an extra level of zing to your next twisted tale.

*Resource – FBI and, of course, my personal knowledge and experience.

 

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night …

A general rule of thumb is to not begin a tale with the weather. I know this and humbly apologize for violating protocol. It’s just that the elements are such a crucial part of this story and, well, please bear with me for a moment as I take you back to an honest-to-goodness dark and stormy Christmas Eve.

I was working for a sheriff’s office at the time, patrolling a county that sits smack-dab in the middle of the north-south I-95 drug corridor. Needless to say, crime, especially violent crime, was quite commonplace.

In those days, I drove a hand-me-down Crown Vic with a light bar that had a mind of its own. Sometimes the rotating beacons turned and sometimes they didn’t, with the latter occurring more frequently during cold weather. In fact, it wasn’t unusual for me to respond to an emergency with the gas pedal mashed to the floorboard, the siren screaming like a cat with its tail caught in the ringer of grandma’s antique washer, and me with my arm out the window banging my fist on the side of the light bar hoping to set it in motion. It often took a good two miles and ten whacks with the heel of my fist before the initial barely-turning speed of the lights caught up with the seriousness of the situation at hand.

Believe me, there’s nothing more frustrating than driving at warp speed while your emergency lights rotate at the speed of drying paint. But, if the call was far enough away the lights eventually caught up with the direness of what could be and often was.

Christmas Eve calls, for the most part, were an eclectic mix of complaints and incidents, ranging from window peepers to drunk uncles high on too much eggnog, to crooks who preferred to do their last minute shopping after the stores were closed and tightly locked until the day after Christmas. And, of course, there were murders and robberies, calls that necessitated the use of those darn lights.

Blowing Wind and Freezing Temps

It was this one particular Christmas Eve that comes to mind, though. The one when the wind blew so hard that traffic lights hung horizontally instead of their typical right angles to the streets. Gusty breezes toppled garbage cans and sent them clanging and banging and rolling and tumbling across asphalt and concrete. Dried leaves clicked and ticked and swirled in masses as they made their way down avenues and boulevards and through intersections without regard for red lights or stop signs, continuing on through alleys and across lawns and driveways. The lighted sign at the bank on the corner of Broad and 14th blinked between the current time and a steady temperature of five degrees. Believe me, it was cold enough to make a snowman shiver.

For warmth, homeless people camping under the overpasses and down by the river burned scraps of broken pallets and whatever twigs, branches, and tree limbs they could find. Many of them had no real winter clothing—no coats, parkas, gloves, or wool caps. Instead, they added extra layers of filthy, soiled clothing over their already grimy attire. They used socks to cover their hands and they draped old army blankets or blue furniture movers’ pads over their heads and shivering bodies.

Ridley Perkins

And then there was Ridley Perkins, a homeless man who’d been around the city for so long that his name and/or face was quite well-known by many of the locals. He was also a regular visitor to the city jail. Corrections officers, men who’d “seen it all,” shied away from Ridley when it came time for him to be strip searched. No one wanted the job of watching him peel off layer after layer of grunge-caked clothing. After all, Perkins’ body odor alone was enough to gag anyone, and it was not unusual to find live maggots squirming around in his soiled underwear or on his skin.

Ridley never committed any real crimes—he didn’t steal, rob, or burgle. He was a beggar by trade and a darn good one too. And he knew how to successfully transform a dollar into alcohol. Not the kind consumed by most drinkers, though. Ridley preferred to strain his alcohol from canned heat (Sterno), or to drink mouthwash or shaving lotion. And, when the last drop was gone he’d do something to annoy a business owner or scare a woman or child by lunging at them from behind a bush—his way of going to jail where he’d get a hot meal and warm bed.

The Christmas Present

Okay, I know, I strayed from the story. Let’s see, where was I? Oh, yeah … Christmas Eve. I’d made a pass around my section of the county and had returned to the office to warm my bones with a cup of jailhouse coffee (so thick you could almost stand a spoon upright in the center of the mug) and to back my hind-end against a hot radiator. Even my long-johns, Kevlar, and jacket were no match against the cold that night.

After I’d thawed out, I’d settled into a seat and was skimming through newspaper headlines when someone pressed the buzzer out at the main gate. One of the on-duty jailers pushed the “talk” button on the intercom and said, “Whadda you want, Perkins?” I glanced over at the monitor and saw Ridley holding a round object up toward the camera. It appeared to be a ball of some sort. He pushed the outside talk button and said, “I brung you something. A Christmas present.”

The jailer, a soft-hearted older man, slipped on his jacket and said he was going out to try and talk Ridley into going to a shelter for the night, something Ridley rarely did. He despised their “no tolerance for alcohol rule.” Before going out, the jailer poured some hot coffee into a Styrofoam cup and took it with him to give to his visitor.

A few minutes later the jailer returned with an orange, saying Ridley told him that he’d used some of his begging proceeds to buy it for him as a Christmas present. He claimed to have done so because the jailer had always been kind to him and treated him like a man and not as a criminal, or a drunk. We both knew that chances were good that he’d either stolen the orange from a local grocer or that someone had given it to him. But that he’d brought it to the jailer was still a kind gesture.

Ridley accepted the coffee from the jailer, and the advice about the shelter, and then headed off into the cold. He ambled past the reach of the camera, and that was the last time anyone saw him alive.

I found Ridley’s body the next night, inside an old abandoned car. He’d apparently gone there to get away from the wind and the blowing snowfall that had started up in the early morning hours. Hypothermia had claimed his life. He’d frozen to death.

On the floorboard near Ridley’s hand were an empty Styrofoam cup and a small pile of orange peelings.

*This is a true story, however, the name Ridley Perkins is fictitious.

 

The call came in as “Shots fired. Several people injured.”

The news, however, was nothing new. Hell, it was Saturday night. Well, technically it was Sunday morning—2 a.m. It would be, after all, a rare occurrence if closing time at Fat Freddie’s Hip Hop Lounge passed by without some sort of fracas—cuttings, stabbings, fist-fights, shootings, or any combination thereof.

In fact, I’m the not so proud owner of a nice scar across the palm of my right hand that I received on Fat Freddie’s dance floor while taking a rather large knife from a guy who believed he was tougher than all other humans on the planet. Unfortunately for him, it was the liquor he’d consumed that placed the foolish notion in his head.

Back to the night in question. I and another deputy, Sam Steele (not his real name), were on patrol out in the county and, since closing time at Freddie’s was a part of our weekend agenda, we were already headed in that direction.

As soon as the dispatcher mentioned the name of the club. I switched on my lights and siren and stepped on the gas.

“10-4, en route,” said Sam in the typical monotone voice that’s so often heard coming from police scanners.

“I’m also en route,” I said into my mic. “Send rescue, but have them wait down the road until we send for them. It might not be safe.” A moment later the dispatcher paged EMS and fire.

A trooper who was running radar on the interstate called asking if we needed backup. I said yes and he told me that he was twenty minutes away, at best.

Freddie’s parking lot was filled with screaming and yelling people running in all directions. Looked like hundreds of angry, drunken fire ants after someone kicked over their mound. Cars nearly rammed us as they left with tires yelping against the asphalt pavement. I threaded my patrol car through the crowd and traffic, stopping near the front entrance, a set of double doors that had been freed from their hinges by the escaping crowd of panicked people.

Sam and I arrived at the same time. I from one direction and he from the opposite. The moment we stepped out of our cars we immediately heard a couple of bursts of automatic gunfire. Dirt exploded near our feet. My first thought was of my Kevlar vest lying under my bed at home. It was a hot night and I’d decided not to wear it. Dumb. Dumb. And DUMB.

Sam dove inside his car. My portable radio crackled then I heard Sam calling for backup, an almost a moot request. I saw Sam clutching his in-car mic as he began shouting “Mayday! Mayday!” Later, I learned that the gunfire sent poor Sam back to his days on the battlefield, and it was his unchecked PTSD that caused the unexpected and untimely mini breakdown. Besides, if we wanted help we’d have to wait for the lone state trooper to drive in from his ticket-writing location out on the interstate. Of course, a nearby city could send some of their officers out to help, but they were even further away. But I knew the incident would surely be over before help arrived. What “over” meant for Sam and me, I didn’t know at that point.

I ran toward the building.

With gun in hand I went up the front steps and into the building. A woman whose hairdo resembled an inverted hornets’ nest piled on top of her head, pushed past me while screeching “He gotta gun, he gotta gun! Her size too small tiger print skirt and spiked heels made for difficult running, but she deserved an “A” for effort.

The dance floor was littered with 9mm bullet casings, plastic cups, beer bottles, melting ice, crack pipes, cigarette butts, plastic baggies, and blood. Not my idea of a party.

Other than the bartenders, DJ, and a couple members of the club’s security team who emerged from a door at the side of the stage, the place was empty of people, including, the shooter. However, one of the heavily muscled bouncers identified him as Shelton Johnson, a local drug dealer. Apparently, he’d slipped outside with the stampeding herd of people exiting the building. The injured folks had also been taken away.

The unwritten rule at Freddie’s, and similar clubs, was to remove the wounded so they couldn’t talk to the police. Yet, I knew I’d soon find each of them in the hospital emergency room and they’d be easy to spot. They’re the folks at the ends of the freshly-leaked blood trails that lead from the parking lot, through the ER doors, onto the polished floor tiles, to the moaning and groaning men and women who’re dressed for a night on the dance floor. Of course, bullet wounds are also good indicators.

An hour or so after arriving at Fat Freddie’s, Sam and I located Johnson driving through one of the neighborhoods he claimed as his territory. After a brief pursuit he stopped his car and fired a short burst of bullets in our direction. He dropped the gun, a fully automatic Uzi and, as they do, he ran.

The foot pursuit was a short one, two blocks or so, and I caught him and had him cuffed just before Sam reached us. He and I helped the little darling to his feet and led him back to my car.

For all the chaos and injuries he’d caused, the judge sentenced Mr. Johnson to one year in jail with eight months suspended. Two days after his release he drove by my house and fired a single shot through our bedroom window.

And people wonder why I don’t give out my personal information. Geez …

* This is a true story. The names of the players and business have been changed to protect the innocent … me.

 

Experts are often asked what kind of entrance and exit wounds are produced by various types of ammunition. The rounds in the photograph below contain hollow point bullets similar to the rounds fired from the Thompson sub-machine gun I’m holding in the top and quite ancient photo. I pulled the picture from the buried crypt where I keep my old cop stuff.

hollow-point-and-magazine.jpg

The .45 caliber rounds above are approximately the diameter of the Sharpie pens many authors use to sign books. That’s pretty close to the size of most entrance wounds which, by the way, is very near, if not identical to, the size of the bullet that punctured the flesh.

Pictured below is an entrance wound caused by 9mm round at point blank range, a close contact gunshot wound. Obviously, this was a fatal wound since I took this picture during the autopsy of the victim. Note the post-autopsy stitching of the “Y” incision (above right of the photo).

Also notice the charred flesh around the wound. This was caused by the heat of the round as it contacted the victim’s skin. The bruising around the wound was, of course, caused by the impact.

bullet-hole.jpg

9mm bullet wound to the chest—close range.

Next is one of the .45  rounds after it was fired from the Thompson machine gun.

Firing the Thompson at a sheriff’s office indoor range in Ohio. Notice the piece of ejected brass to the right of the major’s arm. I took the photo and was lucky enough to capture the shot of the brass casing during its fall to the floor.

The round passed through the paper target, through several feet of thick foam rubber, through the self-healing wall tiles of the firing range, and then struck the concrete and steel wall behind the foam. The deformed bullet finally came to rest on the floor. Keep in mind, though, that this all occurred in the blink of an eye, or quicker.

The above image shows a .45 round (above left between the 3″ and 4″ mark on the ruler) after a head-on strike with concrete and steel. The other distorting of bullets occurred when striking various surfaces from a variety of angles—ricochet rounds.

Remember yesterday’s article where I detailed the parts of a cartridge? The bullet is the projectile portion of a cartridge, not the entire round.

Hitting the hard solid surface head-on caused the .45 bullet to expand and fracture which creates the often larger exit wounds we see in shooting victims.

Many times, those bullet slivers break off inside the body causing further internal damage.

The size of an exit wound also depends on what the bullet hits inside the body. If the bullet only hits soft tissue the wound will be less traumatic. If it hits bone, expect much more damage. Easy rule of thumb—the larger the caliber (bullet size), the bigger the hole.

Bullets that hit something other than their intended target, such as a brick wall or metal lamp post, can break apart sending pieces of flying copper and lead fragments (shrapnel) into crowds of innocent bystanders. Those flying ricochet fragments are just as lethal as as any intact, full-sized bullet.

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Bullets don’t always stop people. I’ve seen shooting victims get up and run after they’ve been shot several times. And for goodness sake, people don’t fly twenty feet backward after they’ve been struck by a bullet. They just fall down and bleed. They may even moan a lot, or curse. That’s if they don’t get back up and start shooting again. Simply because a suspect has been shot once or twice does not mean his ability, or desire, to kill the officer is over, and that, writers, is why police officers are taught to shoot until the threat is over.

The bank robber I shot and killed during a shootout fell after each of the five rounds hit him. But he also stood and began firing again after each of my bullets struck—one to the head and four to the center of his chest area. After the fifth round he stood and charged officers. Four of the five rounds caused fatal wounds. Yet, he still stood and charged toward officers. I and a sheriff’s captain tackled and cuffed him. In another instance, a man engaged in a gun battle with several officers. He was shot 33 times and still continued walking toward officers.

Always keep Sir Isaac Newton and his Third Law of Motion in mind when writing shooting scenes. The size of the force on the first object must equal the size of the force on the second object—force always comes in pairs.

Here’s Professor Dave to explain …

 

So, if your scene shows the shooting victim flying that twenty feet away from the person firing the rounds, the shooter would also fly twenty feet in the opposite direction. Ah, sounds silly, right? So toss this one in the trash can along with the use of cordite. No, no, and NO!

Equal and Opposite Reaction—Newton’s Cradle

As police officers, we’re often presented with the opportunity to meet various celebrities and other important people. Sometimes, we’re even placed in the unfortunate position of having to arrest a few of those VIP’s.

For example, I once served as training officer to a rookie who stopped a large, fancy tour bus for speeding, and the officer was quite surprised to see one of his favorite musicians behind the wheel—a very famous musician. The singer/guitarist was quick to announce his identity, as if the verbal identification had been necessary, hoping his fame would be enough to satisfy the appetite of the officer’s squalling radar unit.

The still wet-behind-the-ears officer, totally starstruck, tongue-tied, and rubber-kneed in the presence of the legend of stage and Radioland, immediately knew what he had to do. That’s right, my babbling trainee, with the speed and grace of a wild cheetah, was quick to snag the driver’s autograph, and then send the celebrity and his bus on their way to the next concert on the tour. And, when the officer returned to our patrol car he was grinning from ear to ear, like a mule eating briars.

The rookie officer shoved the signature-clad paper into my hands so I, too, could have a look at his prize. Sure enough, scrawled across the bottom of the traffic summons was the signature of one of the all-time greats of the music world. A golden voice and fancy guitar, though, do not qualify as exemptions to posted speed limits, especially when driving 82mph in a 45mph zone. I’d taught the young officer well.

Of course, I’ve had my own share of encounters with well-known celebrities and other people of fame, and such was the case of the man from Mars who insisted his use of a rusty ax to hack his sister-in-law to death was a direct order from his superiors on the red planet.

“You see,” he told me, “she wouldn’t allow the mother ship to return to earth. I had no choice. She’s evil, you know. Besides, she wouldn’t give me no money for cigarettes.”

Then there was the time I responded to the call of a man walking in the median between the north and southbound lanes of a major interstate highway. When I finally located the man, I pulled my patrol car off the roadway and approached on foot. He stood waiting for me in the center of the median strip, in the soft light of a near full moon. My gaze was immediately drawn to his sandal-clad feet and long, wavy brown hair fluttering gently in the night breeze. He held out his right hand for me to shake and, in an unusually soothing and calm voice, introduced himself as …

I must admit, I paused for a second before moving along to serious questions, like, “Do you have any identification?” Of course, when I did ask, he gave me that look. You know the one. The “Seriously, you need to see MY identification?” look. Well, as luck would have it, the guy wasn’t the Son of God after all. Instead, he was a slightly out of touch homeless man from Richmond who actually thought he was Jesus. And to think that I could have been the first in line to meet Him when He returned.

Of course, there was Elvis, the rock and roll legend I had to remove from an elderly lady’s refrigerator once or twice each month so she could watch TV without the interruption of endless choruses of “Blue Suede Shoes” and “Jailhouse Rock.” Not to mention how annoying it can be when Elvis slips in behind the cheesecake to steal our radio and TV signals.

 

Things could have been worse, I suppose. At least I never encountered one of today’s politicians. Although, I did stop the speeding car of a diplomat, and that was a can of worms I wished I’d not opened. And then there was the time I arrested a man who was wanted by the Secret Service and FBI for threatening to kill President Clinton.

If my handcuffs could talk … oh, the stories they could tell.