Tag Archive for: drones

Smuggling narcotics and other illegal items into prisons has been a problem since at least 1809, when the first files and saws entered a prison ship’s lockup by way of gingerbread cakes. The problem continued in 1899, in Maryland, when four inmates escaped by using saws that had been baked into pies.

In 1921, Lucky Tommy” O’Connor used an ample supply of guns and bullets smuggled inside bread and cake to escape from the Cook County Jail in Chicago. He fled “the joint” just in time to avoid his execution.

In 1934, Robert Mais, a Richmond, Virginia jail inmate, received guns his mother sealed inside cans of baked chicken.

The list goes on, with with escape-assisting implements smuggled inside via chocolate and frosted pound cakes, cans of fruit, and more.

Nowadays, most prison and jails do not allow “care packages” from home, especially those containing home-cooked food. Therefore, smugglers turned more toward making a prisoner’s stay a bit more tolerable by introducing drugs into prisons and jails, and a common means of delivering the contraband is through the U.S. mail. For example, liquid LSD can be applied to the back of postage stamps, and paper is often coated with liquid fentanyl, Suboxone, and/or K2.

FYI – The two main ingredients of Suboxone are Buprenorphine and Naloxone. Buprenorphine is an opioid which is actually more potent than morphine. The drug is used to help suppress withdrawal symptoms in someone with opioid addiction. However, it’s still an opioid.

To help combat the delivery of illegal drugs and other contraband to lockups, some locations in North Carolina have turned to a new service called TextBehind.

Beginning in October of 2021, all inmate mail, including cards, hand-drawn artwork from children, and letters, must be sent directly to TextBehind, where the company will make copies of the mail and then forward digital reproductions to the prison mail rooms where the recipient inmates are housed. Prisons receiving the digital files will print the copied mail and then issue it to the prisoners.

Thus, the end of contraband entering prisons through the U.S. mail. However, it won’t stop prison staff, shady attorneys, and visitors from bringing it inside. And, of course, drones are used to airdrop contraband, such as the incident last week in Virginia, where a drone dropped a package containing several pounds of marijuana and tobacco (tobacco products are banned from prisons and are considered as illegal contraband). The bundle also included three cellphones and a USB-C to lightning converter. The drone operator, however, missed their target, a privately-operated prison that houses over 1,500 inmates, and instead dropped the illegal goodies onto the grounds of a nearby private school.

And then there’s the woman who smuggled a fully loaded handgun into a prison visitation area by concealing it inside her “lady parts.” I know, if you wrote that scene in a book, no one would believe it. But it happened. Really, it did.

Thursday at the Writers’ Police Academy promises to be an exciting and wildly fun opening day, starting with renowned drone expert Bill Bongle’s fascinating presentation on … all things drones. Bill will discuss (and demonstrate):

  • Drone basics and the fundamentals of unmanned flight
  • Overview of current technology, capabilities, emerging technologies and trends
  • Brief overview of drone laws and regulations
  • Case studies of high profile incidents involving drones and how these cases are shaping the regulatory environment
  • Privacy issues and case law regarding surveillance from the air
  • Practical applications for village/municipal government, police, fire, rescue and emergency government
  • The emergence of civilian Search and Rescue Groups

Next up is the Kooky Cop Carnival, an event that will surely leave attendees with a better knowledge and understanding of the special challenges officers face daily.

Run, don’t walk, to the Kooky Cop Carnival!

You know, things like (we are not explaining this stuff prior to the event because we want you to experience the surprises officers encounter when responding to calls):

–  Setting a live trap

–  Handcuffing Cuff Man (and he really doesn’t want you to apply those pesky cuffs)

–  Using a “Come-a-long around a stuffed K-9


–  Interesting “Duty Belt Techniques”

–  Animal Control

–  21-Foot-Drill

–  Drawing (from the holster) and firing the SIRT gun

–  Drug ID (test your knowledge of common street drugs, and more).

–  Animal ID – Identify the types of animals officers often encounter

And much, much more, including lots of surprises. This hands-on Kooky Cop Carnival is going to be a real hoot!

Immediately following the carnival is sign-in/registration (4-5:30 p.m.), and then comes the laugh-fest we call orientation. Sure, we spill details such as classroom numbers, where restrooms are located, what to expect in each session, what time the pool closes, schedule changes and updates (if any), etc., but this is the time when you should be prepared to let down your hair and enjoy the laughs … and the much-needed information, of course.

6:30 p.m. marks the official opening of the event, and this I believe is a first for any writers conference anywhere—the blessing of the Writers’ Police Academy/Opening Ceremonies. This spectacular ceremony is presented by the Oneida Tribal Dancers, elders, Miss Oneida, and more. Please do feel free to photograph and/or record video (this ceremony is only time during the weekend when video recording is permitted). Remember, the WPA takes place on the Oneida Indian Reservation. Our event hotel is also situated on tribal land.

To wrap up day one of the 2017 WPA, the star of the Thursday night festivities … Thomas B. Sawyer,  head writer/showrunner of the hit TV show Murder, She Wrote.

Thomas B. Sawyer

Thursday night at 8:30 p.m., Tom presents …

“How Jessica Fletcher and Murder, She Wrote Made Homicide Fun – Without Science, Crazy People, or Gore.”

In this entertaining and informative session, one of this classic 12-year TV series’ original group of writers, Tom Sawyer, lays out the early history of Murder, She Wrote, from the casting of its star and its subsequent effect on one of Broadway’s megahit Musicals, to Dashiell Hammett’s influence on the show, the show’s influence on Tom’s career both as Showrunner/writer, and – inadvertently – as a lyricist – and much, much more.

Tom also returns to the spotlight twice during the weekend.

Friday at 12:45 p.m.


THINK Picture/THINK Action/THINK Dialogue

An Approach to Both Screen-and-Narrative Writing

Techniques I learned in TV & Film. From that Super-Critical Opening Grabber, to creating enigmatic bad guys, to “writing to the money,” and more – stuff every writer should have in the bank.

Saturday at 12:45 p.m.


How to write loglines, Movie treatments, synopses and TV series pitches with the Sizzle that’ll convince them they’ve got to seriously consider putting your novel, story or concept on the screen.

Just think, this only the first day, BEFORE the actual event begins!! So, are you ready for an extremely thrilling and fun weekend? Yes, we still have a few spots left open. Hurry!

Writers’ Police Academy

By the way, we’ll soon be announcing details regarding how you can have a chance to get your hands on a Murder, She Wrote script signed by Tom Sawyer!