Tag Archive for: 2022 Writers’ Police Academy

Upon arrival at the Fox Cities Exhibition Center in Appleton, Wisconsin, one of three fabulous venues for the 2022 Writers’ Police Academy, Denene and I were immediately greeted by Mike Videc, the man in charge of the facility’s operations. Mike, from that moment forward, was my go-to person for everything. He made certain that ALL our needs were met. He and I exchanged early morning texts at 5 a.m. to discuss plans for the day—room setups, times to

Mike Videc, the nam in charge of the Fox Cities Exhibition Center in Appleton, WI

Mike Videc

switch on the menagerie of escalators and elevators, lighting, etc. We exchanged texts again late night ,after midnight, to see if scheduling had changed for the following day. He was on top of his job, and mine, every minute we were there. If we needed something, Mike handled it, and he did so with a smile on his face. His was the first face we saw when we arrived, and it was the last we saw as we departed Appleton.

Mike Videc is a fan of mystery novels. He’s particularly fond of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher books (a huge fan, actually). And, after helping with the event and meeting so many authors who were new to him, well, Mike is now working his way through numerous books he purchased at the Writers’ Police Academy bookstore. He also won several at the raffle. He thoroughly enjoyed meeting attendees of the event, and I’m extremely pleased to have a new and very good friend.

Many of you now have a new fan.


Speaking of Lee Child, here’s how you can join Lee on the set of the hit TV show REACHER!

Click here for details.


Our first official WPA business was a pre-conference meeting with hotel staff who, by the way, rolled out the red carpet to welcome the Writers’ Police Academy to the hotel. The pre-con meeting was attended by sales and event managers, reservations manager, setup managers and staff, hotel security chief, banquet managers, the chef, Mike Videc, and another Mike, the outstanding A/V tech who also made himself readily available from morning to night, and others. And, of course, Denene and I attended. We discussed every detail of the event and what we expected during our stay, and they took the time to explain their roles and how they’d fit into our plan. The meeting went well and those folks certainly didn’t disappoint. The executions of their plans were flawless. I don’t believe we’ve had a better hotel experience in all our years of producing and operating the Writers’ Police Academy.

So, day one of the WPA …

Thursday

Attendees who stayed at the event hotel, Hilton Appleton Paper Valley received a free buffet breakfast each day in a private Salon reserved for the WPA.

12 noon – 4 p.m. 

For four hours, attendees were treated to a large indoor display of various emergency vehicles—firetruck, ambulance, CSI, patrol car, SWAT drones, and more. Also available were tools and equipment used by different agencies, experts for Q&A and demos, K-9, SWAT, Suicide Awareness and Prevention experts, to name only a few. This was a phenomenal portion of the event.

Here’s a brief video I recorded while the various agencies were arriving to set up their equipment and displays.

 

The video and photos below feature a few of the indoor displays and demos.

Displays and demos at the 2022 Writers' Police Academy

Displays and demos

 

Displays and demos at the 2022 Writers' Police Academy

Displays and demos

 

Displays and demos at the 2022 Writers' Police academy

Displays and demos

 

2:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Registration/check-in

The check-in process was as smooth as a newborn baby’s bottom. Only one tiny mistake (mine). I misspelled someone’s last name on a name tag. But that was it. The only issue.

Also, Jason Weber, the public safety training director, was present to handout continuing education certificates to WPA attendees who’d signed up to receive those valuable credits. I must say, it’s a nice (free) bonus to receive con. ed. credit simply for attending the Writers’ Police Academy.

8:00 p.m.

MONSTER

After enjoying the cash bar and chatting with both old and new friends, a brief event orientation, and a first glimpse of the display of raffle and auction items (more about these exciting  items in the next post), WPA attendees were treated to a presentation by Anne E. Swartz, the former Milwaukee Journal newspaper reporter who broke the story of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer and wrote the book, “The Man Who Could Not Kill Enough: The Story of Milwaukee’s Jeffrey Dahmer.” Anne and the reporting team were nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

Anne’s latest book about Dahmer, MONSTER, was also the title of her enthralling presentation.

Anne E. Schwartz presents "MONSTER"

Anne E. Schwartz

The evening wrapped up with Anne signing books for the crowd. Believe me, the line of people waiting to have their copies signed was quite long.

At the conclusion of Anne’s presentation, Mike Videc immediately went to work preparing the venue for the next day. When he was done he secured our things, locked the doors, cut the power to the escalators and elevators, and then switched off the lights before heading home. A few minutes later, just after midnight, he and I were chatting via texts to discuss plans and setups for the next evening.

I then had four hours to sleep, shower, dress, have a very quick breakfast, make sure the buses were on the way to the hotel to transport everyone to the public safety academy for the start of classes and hands-on sessions, contact Jason Weber at the academy to make certain they were ready with the live-action scenario that was to begin precisely at 8 a.m., herd everyone to the buses and check to be sure no one was left behind, and then drive to the public safety academy, a 25 minute trip. And … everything kicked off as planned and on time. Of course, at 5 a.m., Mike and I had already exchanged a couple of last minute “do you need anything, no, we’re good” texts.

Next up … Friday, the first day of sessions at the public safety academy.


Writers’ Police Academy Online’s Next Class

Behavioral Clues at Crime Scenes

June 25, 2022

11:00-12:30 p.m. EST

A fascinating live, online seminar taught by Dr. Katherine Ramsland. Session covers staging, profiling, character development, and more!

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

Registration for this class is OPEN.

Click here to sign up.

 

The final two weeks of preparation for the annual Writers’ Police Academy passed by quickly, but eerily. I say it was eerie because there wasn’t a speck of trouble or problems. Well, other than presenters who backed out at the last minute. Fortunately, we filled those spots quickly, with fantastic speakers. In fact, we filled the spots almost as fast as the short time it takes to read this paragraph.

During that fortnight of preparation, Denene and I were busy designing and printing name tags and banquet meal tickets, creating spreadsheets for everything we could imagine, days of plotting and planning individual attendee schedules, devising backup plans in case the sunny weather forecast morphed into a rain-soaked weekend which would have grounded the helicopter, drenched the emergency vehicle driving track, and caused the K-9s to smell like, well, wet dogs.

But we were blessed with sunny skies and mild temperatures throughout the event.

Since we had a mountain of luggage, and boxes and bags full of WPA “stuff”, which was far too much to ship, Denene and I opted to drive to Wisconsin. A 16-hour trip, one way.

When it came time to load our vehicle, well, I felt like I was the tall green fellow in Whoville who was delivering a colossal bag filled to the brim with toys and floof to the Who girls and boys.

So many packages filled with snoof and tringlers and fuzzles; pantookas, dafflers and wuzzles. We had everything we could think of that we might need. Everything but the roast beast, which the event hotel assured me there’d be plenty of for everyone at the Saturday night banquet.

The day before we left home, we made a dry run to make certain the menagerie of cartons and cases fit into our vehicle and still leave room for two human passengers. And, after twisting, turning, shoving, and me grunting and groaning and spewing a long line of words that I didn’t know were in my vocabulary, I stood back to look at the result. What I’d created was a masterpiece. A work of art. Every bit and bob fit together into a giant, perfectly and tightly formed Jenga puzzle. Had one box slipped from its spot I believe the vehicle would have exploded.

The problem then was that I had to unload everything so we could fill the empty suitcases with enough clothing for ten days, stuff the empty boxes with registration goodies and other vital information, etc. Oh, I almost forgot the cooler. I couldn’t leave home without Coke Zero, bottled water, Cheerios, almond milk, gluten free bread and peanut butter, and jalapeno Cheetos (my crack)—the staples for a long road trip.

Denene knows me well; therefore, she knew it was likely I’d not remember how to accurately recreate the complex Jenga puzzle and, being a bulldozer in a china shop, end up destroying something when using my foot to stomp the &*$% out of the final box that refused to fit into its (im)proper place. Therefore, before unloading everything, Denene took photos to aid with re-packing. She’s a good wife who knows how to keep my blood pressure at a level that doesn’t send my brain jetting into orbit.

I drive a large pickup truck, a 2022 Chevrolet Silverado High Country. Hey, I’m a big guy who needs big space and comfort. Plus, we plan to do the obligatory retirement activity of using the truck to tow a travel trailer/5th wheel when heading south to visit family. Rick McMahan, one of WPA’s longtime core instructors and our good friend, said my truck was the size of a boat.

So, with our bags packed and truck loaded to the gills, we were ready to go. I filled up with gas ($4.49 per gallon) and off we went, with Steppenwolf’s “Born to be Wild” pumping from the speakers and the woman inside the dashboard telling me to drive X number of miles and to turn here and there, slow down, a speed trap is ahead, make a U-turn, do this, and don’t do that. My truck was also very talkative and pushy, ringing bells that warned me to slow down for school crossings, exceeding the speed limit (this one clanged more than once), alerting me to other cars that were too close to me on either side, and so on and on and on.

The next stop was for, well, you know, and to again fill up with gas—$4.69 per gallon. We consumed a peanut butter sandwich at this stop, and then we were off, in search of a hotel for the night.

We’d already traveled through four states, and it was quite late, past the hour of “nothing good happens at that time of night,” when we started our scan for roadside hotel signs. Finally, on that very dark desert highway, up ahead in the distance I saw a shimmering light. My eyelids had grown heavy, my sight dim. Yes, we’d found a hotel, and it was one in. chain that might rhyme with Killton. Relief at last.

However, we soon discovered we’d made an awful mistake in judgement when choosing this hotel. I promise, our experience there is not indicative of this chain’s properties, but I must share with you the tale of this overnight hell.

After exiting the main road I pulled beneath the covered drive at the front door of the sleeping establishment. This being the only hotel we’d seen for miles and miles it, I hoped it was an oasis where we’d get some much-needed rest.

When the automatic front doors parted I was greeted by an odor like I’d not experienced before. Not quite terrible, but slightly offensive. My senses told me to turn around, but the need for sleep pushed me inside. Still, there was a nagging feeling that we’d stepped inside “Motel Hell,” the fictional hotel from the 1980 comedy horror film of the same name. In the movie, the hotel is run by Vincent Smith, a farmer, butcher, and motel manager who traps travelers and harvests them for his popular smoked sausages made of human flesh. I wondered about the off-putting scent pouring into my nostrils and immediately scanned the area for homemade sausages.

The desk clerk at our hotel (not Motel Hell, but close) was a man who looked young enough to be fresh out of high school. When I approached the counter, I saw him seated at a desk in a backroom, in full view of the front counter, intently watching a video. He didn’t hear me come in. I called out to him a few times before I got his attention. He finally walked to the counter at the pace of a snail who’d overdosed on tranquilizers.

When this slender, frail person finally made it to the front desk he simply stood there. His thick round glasses made his eyes appear to be the size of marbles. When it became clear that he had no intention of speaking I asked if he had a room available for the night. He nodded once but still did not say a word.

The odd guy, still without speaking, handed me a paper with spaces highlighted in purple. Being the detective that I am I figured out that two spaces required my initials and the third a signature. Then he spoke. “I need your ID and credit card,” he said. His voice was quiet and tranquil, like the voice a parent uses when trying to convince a baby to sleep.

Well, the computer system wasn’t working so he completed the transaction by hand, old school style. As he handed me the card key he said in his unique snoozy tone, “There’s a problem with the hot water.”

Me – “We WILL have hot for showers, RIGHT?”

The pasty man with fingers barely larger than spaghetti noodles (the tiniest fingers I’ve ever seen other than those of a infant) didn’t reply. Instead, he very slowly shrugged his shoulders, and by slow, I mean it took him 7 full seconds to raise and lower his shoulders.

So, I asked again. Another slow shrug of his shoulders.

Ordinarily this would have been my final clue to head out the door and move on to another hotel. But we were in the middle of Stretch of Nowhere, Ohio. Population … one guy who works at the only hotel for miles and miles. And we were exhausted.

So, I grabbed a luggage cart and began the laborious process of unloading the Jenga puzzle in reverse order for transfer to the hotel wagon. Once it was loaded to above my eye level with cartons and cases bulging from all sides, I then leaned into the task of pushing the grossly overloaded trolley toward our room, straining my legs and back along the way. The cart, by the way, was so heavily laden the excessive weight caused its well-worn wheels to moan like a wounded animal while digging deeply into the cheap, stained carpeting in the hallway.

I opened the door to the room and the yucky odor inside was even more pronounced than the funk permeating the air in the lobby and corridor. The source of the stink, we believed, was a large sofa cushion sized area of black mold on the bathroom ceiling. The drapes were badly torn and couldn’t be closed on their own. Denene creatively pinned them shut using the metal clips on the in-room clothes hangers. Then she, being an astute microbiologist and immunologist, broke out a package of alcohol wipes and proceeded to disinfect every reachable surface in the room. The only thing in the room that was clean and fresh smelling was the bedding (we tossed the comforter and used only the sheets).

The a/c barely worked, and when it did it rattled like someone emptying metal garbage cans into a refuse truck.

The hotel was like one you’d see in a low budget film featuring crack dealers and prostitutes.

Somehow, we made it through the rest of night without being attacked by bedbugs, roaches, rats, or drug dealers and prostitutes. But the next morning, as I feared … NO HOT WATER. Not a drop. It was like showering in ice water. What I didn’t foresee was the power outage that occurred when I stepped from the shower. It was 80 degrees outside, and it didn’t take long for the heat to rush into the room once the ailing a/c unit wheezed its last breath.

I repacked the Jenga game into the truck, using the photo as a guide, and then filled up with gas—$4.89 per gallon.

The rest of Ohio was uneventful, but the further we traveled the higher the price of gas. The next stop it was $5.59 per gallon.

We spent the night in Wisconsin, in town that’s been in the news quite a bit during the past couple of years. That’s not why we stayed there, though. We picked it because there was a variety of hotels and restaurants. We struck gold this time because the hotel was quite pleasant as was the food. And gas prices were heading down—$4.59.

The next day was a shorter drive and in just under three hours we pulled into the rear private parking lot of the impressive Fox Cities Exhibition Center in Appleton, WI, the location of the nighttime activities of the 2022 Writers’ Police Academy.

The Fox Cities Exhibition Center is attached to the Hilton Paper Valley Hotel, our official event hotel).

The 2022 WPA was a fantastic event, one of the best we’ve produced to date.

Of course, there was the one night during our stay when the local police were called by hotel security to assist with booting the gaggle of loud and rowdy underage alcohol-consuming partiers from the room next to ours. I learned the next day that the mother of one of the teens rented the room as a graduation present. And, as teens do, they invited all their friends over, also under legal drinking age, to yell, scream, squeal, shriek, giggle, bang on walls, stomp on floors, and play music at ZZ Top concert levels.

Security visited the room twice to ask the group to hold down the noise. I heard the security officer say, “This is your final warning.” He was soft-spoken, yet firm, and he was built like a small tank. He had the widest shoulders I’ve ever seen on a real person. It looked like he’d inserted a six-foot 2×4 inside his suit jacket, lengthwise across the tops of his shoulders.

Think of a torso shaped like Spongebob, with a human head on top and arms and legs protruding from their appropriate locations. A waist length braided ponytail, and a small black hoop ring inserted through one eyebrow. This guy is tailor made to be a character in a novel.

After the final warning and with the party still in full swing, SpongeBob’s patience was a thing of the past, as was mine (we had to get up a 5 a.m. and by this time it was after two. He called the police to assist with the eviction.

Yes, there’s nothing like a booming “cop knock” on a metal door in the wee hours of the night/morning, followed by the gentle sound of a police officer’s timid voice when he shouted, “POLICE! OPEN. THE. DOOR. NOW!” Then, “PACK. YOUR. STUFF. AND. GET. OUT!”

Mom was not happy when she was roused from her sleep with a call to come pick up her daughter who’d been evicted from the hotel and was currently standing on the sidewalk outside the hotel.

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

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

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

Yes?

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

Another yes?

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

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

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

So here’s what we did …

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

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

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

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

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

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


2022 Writers’ Police Academy Updates

Changes to the 2022 WPA Schedule

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

Anne Schwartz, journalist who broke the Jeffrey Dahmer news story

Anne E. Schwartz

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

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

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

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

 

"Monster," by Anne E. Schwartz

“Monster,” by Anne E. Schwartz


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

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

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

Alan Hardwick’s presentation is:

COPS DOING COUNTERTERRORISM: LIFE IN THE JOINT TERRORISM TASK FORCE

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

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

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

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

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

Never Been This Close to Crazy, by Alan Hardwick


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


Rain or Shine

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


BANGS and BOOMS!

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

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


Thursday Afternoon Activities are Incredible

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


Raffle and Auction items

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


WPA Scholarships Available for Writers’ Organizations

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

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

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


Interactive 3D Police Lineups Improve Witness Accuracy

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

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

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

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


15 Survival Tips for Real and Fictional Officers

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

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

June 26, 2022

11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. EST

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

Sign up today at writerspoliceacademy.online

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

About Dr. Katherine Ramsland

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


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

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

Click here to view 2022 WPA hands-on sessions

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

Reserve Your Room

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

Online Reservations


Writers’ Police Academy Merch

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

Click here to view the selections. 


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now, hold on to your breakfast…

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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


About Dr. Katherine Ramsland

Dr. Katherine Ramsland

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

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


 

Sign up today!

www.writerspoliceacademy.com


 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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


About Dr. Katherine Ramsland

Dr. Katherine Ramsland

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

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


 

Sign up today!

www.writerspoliceacademy.com


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

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

See you in June!

 

www.writerspoliceacademy.com

It is with great pleasure that I introduce you to an esteemed group of experts, the instructors and presenters of the 2022 Writers’ Police Academy.

Nicole Crocker

Detective Nichole Crocker

Nichole is presently assigned as a detective with the Oconto Police Department. She is also a Wisconsin Department of Justice certified instructor. Class – Emergency Vehicle Operations (EVOC)

Jason Feucht

Lt. Jason Feucht

Jason currently serves as a patrol lieutenant for the Fox Crossing Police Department. In his time at the police department Jason has also worked as a patrol officer, drug investigator, and detective. Class – Use of Force Virtual Reality Simulator

Nicole Fumelle

Nicole Fumelle, NWTC Adjunct Instructor

Nicole has 15 years experience in corrections, having worked at the Brown County Sheriff’s Office attaining the level of Corporal. Nicole also was responsible for training jail staff, and she’s worked as an adjunct instructor at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College. Class – Arrest and Booking Process

jerry johnson

Lt. Jerry Johnson (ret.)

Jerry is an adjunct instructor at NWTC and is certified by the Wisconsin Department of Justice to instruct Firearms, EVOC,  Vehicle Contacts, Officer Wellness, DAAT, Scenarios, and Tactical Response. Class – Emergency Vehicle Operations (EVOC)

Dave Jones

Dave Jones, Chief of Police (ret.)

Dave recently retired as the Chief of Police for the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay Police Department, an NCAA Division 1 State University. He oversaw all Police Operations and Emergency Management for its four campuses (Green Bay, Manitowoc, Marinette and Sheboygan). Class – Firearms

brian jordon

Patrol Sergeant Brian Jordan

Brian is a 25-year law enforcement veteran and currently a Patrol Sergeant, Field Training Officer and Training Unit member with the Green Bay Police Department. Class – Forced Entry/Room Clearing

Officer Ron King

Ron is a police officer for the Oneida Police Department and is presently assigned as a detective. He is a Wisconsin Department of Justice certified instructor in Vehicle Contacts, and Firearms. Class – Tribal Policing

k9 deputy turbo

Oconto County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit

All K-9s within the unit are dual purpose tracking and narcotics detection police service dogs, and each is trained in handler protection, obedience, criminal apprehension, and tracking including evidentiary scent work. Class – K-9 Operations

Kurt Kitzman

Lt. Kurt Litzman

Kurt is presently assigned as a patrol lieutenant with the Shawano County Sheriff’s Office. He is a Wisconsin Department of Justice certified instructor in Defensive and Arrest Tactics (DAAT), EVOC, and Firearms. Class – Emergency Vehicle Operations (EVOC)

Mike Knetzger

Patrol Sergeant Mike Knetzger

Mike Knetzger, a certified use of force analyst for the Force Science Research Center and recipient of the J. Edgar Hoover Memorial Award, is a 28-year law enforcement veteran and currently a patrol sergeant with the City of Green Bay. Class – Body Cameras

Jonathon Ladwig

Jonathon Ladwig – Fire Training Coordinator and Instructor

Jonathon is presently the Fire Training Coordinator and Instructor at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College.  Jonathon is also the fire chief for Little River Fire Department. Class – Vehicle Extrication

Jon Nejedlo

OfficerJon Nejedlo

Jon is a Police Officer for the City of Green Bay Police Department who’s served 19 years as a Patrol Officer. He is currently assigned to the Operations Department as the Range Master. Class – Forced Entry/Room Clearing

Matt Ninham

Matt Ninham -Criminal Justice Instructor

Matt is an Oneida Tribal Member and grew up on the Oneida Indian Reservation. He was an Oneida Police Officer for 16 years and retired in 2016. Matt is currently a full-time Criminal Justice Instructor at NWTC, and a part time officer with the Hortonville Police Department. Class – Vehicle Contacts

Kevin Rathburn

Municipal Judge Kevin Rathburn

Kevin became a full-time faculty member at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in 2000 after serving as an adjunct instructor for nine years. Prior to that, he served for ten years as an Assistant District Attorney for Brown County in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Class – Court Process

Jeff Steeber

Jeff Steeber – Criminal Justice Instructor

Jeff is a full-time criminal justice instructor at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (NWTC). Prior to employment at NWTC, Jeff spent 15 years as an officer for the Fox Valley Metro Police Department. Class – Defensive and Arrest Tactics

Jeremy Stover

Jeremy Stover – Public Safety Officer

Jeremy is a public safety officer for Ashwaubenon Public Safety Department, where officers assume three roles during each 24-hour shift—EMT, law enforcement officer, and firefighter. Jeremy is certified in all three. Class – Firearms

Justin Uitenbroek

Justin Uitenbroek – Fire Science Instructor

is a full-time Fire Science Instructor at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College. Justin also works as a paramedic in Clintonville, Wi., and a firefighter for Fox Crossing, Wi. Class – Vehicle Extrication

Angel Van Noie

Angel Van Noie – Academy Instructor

Angel is 20-year veteran police officer of the Hobart-Lawrence Police Department. During that time, Angel worked patrol and served as a School Resource Officer in the West De Pere School District. Class – Defensive and Arrest Tactics

erik walters

Erik Walters – Public Safety Training Complex Specialist

Erik is the Public Safety Training Complex Specialist at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College.  In that role, Erik oversees all the public safety training facilities and equipment at 4 different locations. Class – Use of Force Virtual Reality Simulator

Marco Conelli

Marco Conelli – NYPD Detective (ret.)

A twenty year veteran detective of the NYPD, Marco Conelli’s diverse career is highlighted by his work as an undercover where he was plugged into many investigations for the Organized Crime Control Bureau. Class – Guilty Until Proven Innocent

lefevre

Joe LeFevre, PhD – Academy Instructor

Joe is a full-time police academy instructor in WI. His instructional focus is on investigations, forensic skills, and officer fitness/wellness. Prior to teaching Joe was a police officer, and had spent a few years involved with a volunteer fire department. Class –  These People Breaking Bad Were Not Walter White

rick mcmahan

Rick McMahan – Detective, Kentucky Attorney General’s Office

Rick spent over a quarter of a century as a Special Agent for the ATF. During his career, Rick investigated a wide range of crimes from violent militant extremists to outlaw motorcycle gangs to murder for hire plots. Currently, he serves as a Detective for the Kentucky Attorney General’s office. Class – Armed in America


Special Guest Presenters

Dr. Katherine Ramsland

Dr. Katherine Ramsland 

Special Presentation – Conversations with the B.T.K. Killer, Dennis Rader

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

Steven Spingola – “The Spingola Files: An Evening with Steven Spingola”

Steven Spingola

Special Presentation – The Spingola Files: An Evening with Steven Spingola

Known to his colleagues as “the sleuth with the proof,” Spingola is an investigator for Cold Justice, a popular Oxygen Channel true crime program. During a 2014 episode in Vigo County, Indiana, Spingola and another investigator obtained a confession in a decades-old cold case. During an intense interrogation, suspect Clint Mackey broke down and stated, “I went back, grabbed the knife and killed her.

Steven Spingola is an investigator with a national reputation for excellence. He is a 2001 graduate of the FBI National Academy, and he holds two master’s degrees. Steven is a death investigation expert, a police-related shooting reconstruction specialist, and is formally trained as a criminal investigative analyst (profiling).

Prior to his retirement as a lieutenant of detectives with the Milwaukee Police Department (MPD), Spingola supervised all major categories of criminal investigations, including stints in the Homicide Unit, Vice Control Division, Sensitive Crimes Unit, and Violent Crimes Division. He further served as the lead investigator for the Critical Incident Unit, a group that probes police related shootings, use-of-force incidents, and other significant events. As a detective, Spingola spent several years conducting death investigations for a homicide unit with one of the highest clearance rates in the country.

Steve has authored several books: Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes 1 & 2; Predators of the Parkway: A Former Homicide Detective Explores the Colonial Parkway Murders, and Staggered Paths: Strange Deaths in the Badger State.


2022 Guest of Honor, Robert Dugoni

robert dugoni

Robert Dugoni is the critically acclaimed New York TimesWall Street Journal, Washington Postand #1 Amazon bestselling author of the Tracy Crosswhite police series set in Seattle, which has sold more than 8 million books worldwide. He is also the author of The Charles Jenkins espionage series, the David Sloane legal thriller series, and  several stand-alone novels including The 7th Canon, Damage Control, and the literary novels, The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell – Suspense Magazine’s 2018 Book of the Year, for which Dugoni’s narration won an AudioFile Earphones Award and the critically acclaimed, The World Played Chess; as well as the nonfiction exposé The Cyanide Canary, a Washington Post Best Book of the Year. Several of his novels have been optioned for movies and television series. Dugoni is the recipient of the Nancy Pearl Award for Fiction and a three-time winner of the Friends of Mystery Spotted Owl Award for best novel set in the Pacific Northwest. He has also been a finalist for many other awards including the International Thriller Award, the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction, the Silver Falchion Award for mystery, and the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award.

Robert Dugoni’s books are sold in more than twenty-five countries and have been translated into more than thirty languages.


 

www.writerspoliceacademy.com

A well-written book engages a reader’s emotions, as well as each of their five senses—touch, sight, hearing, smell, and taste. To do so, writers must call upon their own experiences to breathe life into their characters, setting, and actions.

Crime writers, the folks who take their fans into shootouts, car crashes, explosions, police pursuits, fights, courtroom trials, homicide investigations and crime scenes, and other situations that are highly atypical for the average person, face the reality of not having the background and know-how to draw upon as a resource.

Therefore, because they have no personal experience, writers of crime fiction have only a small handful of “so-so” available options to help with crafting those scenes. And, typically, their research tools are limited to relying on the word of another, read about it, or watch a video.

The results of this type of research often comes across on the page as being “flat,” as if something important is missing. For example, characters lack the knowledge of living cops and robbers, making them not quite up to par with their multi-layered real-life counterparts. Scenes are unbelievable and lack the depth that comes with having “been there, done that.” Dialog suffers because the author doesn’t quite understand the lingo and how and when to use it, other than hearing a television character speak.

The list of potential pitfalls is far too long for the writers who’ve never been involved in a shootout with an armed robber, or investigated a string of murders committed by a serial killer, applied handcuffs to the wrists of a criminal suspect, booked a subject into jail, driven a patrol car on an emergency vehicle training course, been in a deadly force situation where they had to decide whether to shoot someone, or not, fired a gun, tossed a flash-bang into an armed suspect’s home before “going in,” or ripped apart a vehicle using special power equipment.

Each of the above actions invoke the senses of anyone who’s present when they occur. If you’re not a law enforcement officer or other first responder whose job regularly requires involvement in those activities, it’s simply not possible to properly and accurately write those types of scenes in a manner that activates each of the senses.

How could a writer possibly describe the scent of gunpowder if they’ve not smelled it in person. Sure, they could read about it and then use someone else’s words in their work. But if that person’s description was inaccurate, then the story of the writer who used the secondhand information will also suffer the wrath of readers who know better.

A great example is the writer who describes detecting the scent of gunpowder in this way. “The detective knew the murder occurred recently because the odor of cordite lingered in the air.” 

We’ve all read this description time and time again, right? The author who writes this, I’m sad to say, doesn’t have a clue what they’re talking about because cordite hasn’t been used in ammunition since its production ceased in England at the end of World War II, nearly 80-years ago.

No one will smell cordite at a crime scene or anywhere else unless, of course, the 100-year-old shooter used ammo he had leftover from his service during the Battle of Nuremberg in February of 1945.

So what’s a writers to do to solve this dilemma, you ask? Easy, no-brainer answer—attend the 2022 Writers’ Police Academy.

Attending the hands-on sessions at the Writers’ Police Academy is the best and ONLY means you have to experience those things in real-life, in real time, short of signing up to work as a law enforcement officer. There is no substitute for this one of a kind event, anywhere on our planet.

Here’s a preview of some of the 2022 exciting hands-on training sessions and classes taught by top experts.

Arrest and Booking – This session is the real deal. Once you arrive at the jail with a criminal suspect, you’ll take the subject out of the squad car, through the booking process, and finally to a cell, an unforgettable moment that’s punctuated by the sound of a steel door clanging shut behind them. This session includes use of the academy onsite booking area and actual holding cells.

Court Process – Taught by a sitting Wisconsin judge, this course covers the legal implications of bad decisions, from an initial appearance to motions hearings and ultimately a trial. Experience what it’s like to testify in court, recalling incidents, responding to legal questions, and more. Learn how your testimony affects and influences a jury.

Emergency Vehicle Operations (EVOC) – Hop in one of our patrol cars and buckle up, because during this exciting session you’ll maneuver the police vehicle through our Emergency Vehicle Operator Course on 26 acres of a closed training facility.

Firearms – Attendees delve into the types of weapons that officers use in their everyday duties. Learn the fundamentals of a Glock pistol and AR15 rifle. Become familiar with sight picture, sight alignment, stance, grip, and trigger control. Fire force on force ammunition on the indoor pistol range.

Tribal Policing – The United States has 574 federally recognized tribes in 35 states. The course guides attendees through the unique aspects of policing on tribal land. Some of the WPA’s academy facilities are situated on Oneida tribal land.

Use of Force Virtual Reality simulator – A heart-pounding, eye-opening, and extremely realistic session where you must decide, within a fraction of a second, whether to use deadly force. Experience how quickly situations unfold for officers. Once the headset is on, you’re there, in the thick of the action and it’s up to you to make the split second decisions.

Vehicle Extraction – Attendees use the Jaws of Life and see how these unique tools can lift vehicles and cut through virtually anything.

Vehicle Contacts – Law enforcement officers stop more than 32 million people per year. Traffic stops involve lots of moving parts, thoughts, tactics, and crimes. They can be, and often are, one of the most dangerous aspects of police work. This session will take you beyond the basics. Be prepared for … well, anything!

Forced Entry/Room Clearing – You and your team are dispatched to a location (our full-scale forced entry structure) where potentially armed and dangerous suspects are hiding. Upon arrival, you and your partners must enter to clear the building.

Participants experience first-hand the heart-pounding, adrenaline rush of “what if.” What if someone is truly in the building? What if they don’t belong there, and what if they have a weapon? What if they’re a wanted person who’s threatened to kill all police officers who try to capture them? Where are they hiding?

*Explosive devices will be used during this session; therefore, participants will be required to wear protective gear during this thrilling hands-on exercise.

Body Cameras – We’ve all seen police seen body camera footage—some good and some not so good.  These cameras have become a game changer for law enforcement and, in addition to merely recording in real time, have capabilities that are nothing short of amazing.

Defense and Arrest Tactics – Participants learn and perform techniques officers use to control behavior of cooperative and uncooperative suspects.

K-9 Operations – Everyone loves dogs, well, everyone except criminals! Spend some time with a K-9 officer and their K-9. Learn the ins and outs, from drug searches to tracking suspects. Bring your questions and cameras (please, no videos allowed) because these four-legged cops are anxious to show off, just for you! This session shows police dogs doing what they do best. Session may be outdoors, weather permitting.

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

Armed in America – Retired ATF Special Agent Rick McMahan discusses the legal commerce and the misuse of firearms. The presentation touches upon the historical events that have been impetus to the nation’s guns laws. We will dispel some of the errors and myths about firearm laws, including why the most repeated line on TV crime shows and in books is completely wrong— “The gun was registered to the suspect.” The presentation examines legal definitions of various types of firearms, criminal schemes, and motives (i.e. firearms trafficking and theft), criminal manufacture and distribution of firearms (such as “ghost guns”), as well as restricted types of weapons. In addition, the class will explore firearms evidence forensically and how firearms are investigative tools for law enforcement.

Guilty Until Proven Innocent – Has your main character been dropped into the middle of an old investigation and quickly discovers much is wrong? Has a crime been solved, the accused are convicted and the real bad guys walk free among us, with society none the wiser? Join former NYPD Detective Marco Conelli as he takes you through the course of a real investigation that instantly carved its place in the New York news as well as the law journals of America.

The Spingola Files: An Evening With Steven Spingola – A captivating session presented by author Steven Spingola, a nationally renowned death investigator who was heavily involved in the high-profile case of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. Known to his colleagues as “the sleuth with the proof,” Spingola is an investigator and on-air personality for Cold Justice, a popular Oxygen Channel true crime program.

Conversations With The B.T.K. Killer, Dennis Rader – This class, taught by Dr. Katherine Ramsland, focuses on the immersive process of interviewing a serial killer, the challenges of the prison system for such work, and the experience of co-producing the documentary. After hundreds of hours spent inside the mind of this serial killer, in the context of many other killers Dr. Ramsland studied, she offers multiple insights for crime and mystery writing.

Touch a Truck – A variety of public safety vehicles and equipment for attendees to view and explore. Officers and firefighters will be on hand to explain the functions of vehicles and tools used by first-responders. Q&A and demo. Indoor event.

Live, Action-Packed Scenario – this adrenaline-pumping, dramatic, and riveting event unfolds in realtime!


Writers’ Police Academy Registration Opens Tuesday,

February 1st at Noon EST 

Guest of Honor – International Bestselling Author Robert Dugoni

~

The action is real. The instructors are real. The knowledge gained is phenomenal. 

The Writers’ Police Academy experience is invaluable. 

*Images above are from past Writers’ Police Academy events. Raise your hand if you see someone you know. I see Lisa Gardner, Karin Slaughter, Lee Child, Jeffery Deaver, and …

 

www.writerspoliceacademy.com

 

The contest rules were simple, write a complete story about the photo pictured above. The twist? Each story must be written using exactly 200 words. No more, no less. “Don’t” is two words. “OMG” is three words. “Smith-Jones” is two words. And so on.

In the contest judge’s chambers, after the dust settled and with words counted, over and over again, the stack of well-written tales parted to allow the top four stories to rise to the top of the pile.

And now, without further ado …

Congratulations to the following talented writers! We’ll contact you shortly.

First Place, Winner of the 2021 Golden Donut Award is ….

 

Fortune Coveted

by

Tiffany Seitz

 

“Laddy! Are ya home, mate?”

Blinker stepped close to the open door, rapping on the flimsy wood. He had to observe the niceties, even in Tent City. This wasn’t a tent. It was a shed, but many considered it a palace and had painted Laddy’s House on the side in big blue letters.

“Go away!”

“The shelter has an opening for ya.”

“Nope. Not leavin’.”

“Aw, come on, Lad.” Blinker stepped across the threshold into the trash-strewn shack. “Don’t be like that.”

“I ain’t going!” The old man sat on a bucket, eating cold beans out of a can.

“That looks good, mate.” Blinker glanced around. Laddy had more stuff than anyone else because he didn’t have to lug everything around on his back or in a shopping cart. A bit of twine lay among the debris. He picked it up.

“Leave my things alone!”

“Shouldn’t leave it lying around.” He ambled behind the bucket, taking his time.

Thirty minutes later, the old man’s body lay behind the shed, beside the other Laddys, and Blinker sat on the bucket.

“Hey, Laddy! You home?”

“Go away!” Blinker growled, taking a bite of beans.


Second Place 

 

The Homecoming

by

Nana Herron

 

“Go find Laddy’s House.”

It had been a year since mom passed, but her dying words still haunted me.

She was all the family I had. Now I was alone in the world.

I never knew my dad. Mom said he ran off when I was just a baby, but I heard the whispers. I saw the looks.

We moved often, mom and me. From city to city, coast to coast. We never stayed in one place long enough to call it home.

I often wondered why. Why were we running, mom? Why did dad leave?

I found it by chance back in our hometown. Off the beaten path, the homeless camp was hidden well.

The stench of rot and decay made me gag, but the newspaper clippings scattered across the floor of Laddy’s House drew me in.

Dozens of articles covering three decades told the tale, but the largest headline said it all: “Search Continues for Baby Allegedly Abducted by Mother.”

As I read on, a shadow darkened the room.

Slowly I turned and was greeted by an older version of myself. “Dad?” I whispered.

The old man nodded and held out his arms. “Son, welcome home.”


Third Place 

 

The Writ

by

Michael Rigg

 

Wynn Daugherty paced alongside the weather-beaten shed. He should have moved them when he received the Condemnation Order. But despite dozens of moonless nights, conditions were never optimal. Adding to his angst, Charles Johnson Construction’s bulldozer belched diesel-laden, headache-inducing exhaust.

He turned to the company’s owner. “Chuck, how about shutting that thing down?”

“Sorry, Wynn. Want to be ready right when we get word.”

“What, got a hot date?”

“Listen, your so-called building will be splinters in minutes. Got another job scheduled. Time’s money.”

“But the Writ—”

Chuck rolled his eyes. “You really expect Judge Myrick will stop the demolition?”

Wynn’s temples throbbed. God help him if the Judge didn’t.

“What the hell is Laddy’s House anyway?” Chuck asked.

“My lawyer says it’s a protected historical site. Connected to Prohibition and bootlegging.”

Their phones buzzed.

Chuck read the message, made a chopping motion across his neck, and the bulldozer sputtered, then fell silent.

Wynn concentrated on four words in the Court’s missive: “Temporary Restraining Order Granted.” His headache evaporated. Ninety days—over twelve weeks—before the next hearing. What a relief. One body every two weeks, with time to spare. Excellent.


Honorable Mention

 

Farewell

by

Bobbi Blake

 

Stepmother graffiti.

What I call the lettering splashed across my childhood refuge.

Most see only black bags of fetid trash, fragments of shattered boards, a dismembered mattress.
I see my first sanctuary.

Luella Beaufort blew in like a Category Five cyclone when I was twelve. She swooped in on Daddy and Avondale Farms right after Mama passed. A petite bundle of faux Southern charm. Sugar in her voice, greed in her heart. Together they proved the adage: Marry in haste, repent at leisure.

So the farm’s old equipment shed became my retreat. First came the Sealy. Then a lantern. Extra batteries. Lastly, the books, my true escape from their frequent battles. I ventured to Sweetwater High with the Wakefield twins. To Hogwarts with Harry Potter and Hermione. To Maycomb, Alabama, with Scout and Jeb.

Pure heaven until Luella decided to paint my hideout. Decorate it, she exclaimed, with Daddy’s pet name for me: Little Lady.

A bulldozer rumbles to life behind me, drawing me back to the present. The shack is minutes away from coming down. Farewell, old friend.

It’s taken twenty years but I can finally laugh at the turquoise wording: Laddy’s House.

Bitch never could spell.


2022 Golden Donut 200-Word Short Story Contest

 

The 2022 Golden Donut Short Story Contest is OPEN!

The rules are simple. Write a story about the above 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 absolutely must be the main subject of your tale.

Click the link below for full details.

 

Golden Donut 200-Word Short Story Contest