Tag Archive for: Jack Reacher

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?


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:


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.


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.

Before I begin I’d like to point out that REACHER the TV show, like the Jack Reacher books, contains quite a bit of over the top action. There’s a fair amount of fighting and violence. That’s what makes the Reacher legacy what it is. Reacher is an over the top guy who handles his business in an over the top way using over the top tactics and techniques.

However, the show shows feature live actors portraying law enforcement officers. Obviously, in an over the top depiction of crime and crime scenes, certain liberties must be taken to fit the main character, over the top Jack Reacher. Still, much of what we see and hear regarding the police officers on this show ring fairly true—mannerisms, cop-speak, how they hold weapons, drive a patrol car, handle themselves in deadly situations, etc. So “over the top” aside, let’s take a look at REACHER: Season 1 Episode 2 – “First Dance.”

Off we go …

Part of Reacher’s character is that he sticks up for the little guy. He’s generous with his compassion for those who can’t take care of themselves, which is no surprise knowing Lee Child. Obviously, the author of the novels, who himself has a heart of gold, transferred a piece of that heart to Reacher.

Reacher’s compassion for those whose current position in life is significantly less than fortunate, part of the great layering when building the character, appeared when he encountered a dog who’s abused by its owner. Reacher fills the thirsty dog’s bowl with fresh water and then in true Reacher style let the owner know that he’s taken a keen interest in the dog’s wellbeing.

But that’s just one aspect of Jack Reacher. We continue to learn more about the character as time and dialog and mannerisms pass.

At the conclusion of episode one, we saw Finlay, Roscoe, and Reacher traveling through the countryside, where Reacher said, “Just thinking maybe my brother told me about Blind Blake for a reason. Thinking about him lying in that morgue. Thinking I’m supposed to do something about it.”

“Like what?” said Finlay.

“I guess I’ll find everybody responsible. And kill every last one of them.”

First Dance

Episode two opens in the evening, after dark, with the trio arriving back at the Margrave Police Department. Reacher gets out of the car and storms off on foot heading to the home of Paul Hubble, the likely target of the prison murder attempt. Fortunately for the slim and bookish Hubble, the attackers mistook Reacher as the intended victim. Unfortunately for the attackers, they mistook Reacher as the intended victim. The mistaken identity is confirmed in a later visit to Hubble’s home.

“Where do you think you’re going?, Finlay said to Reacher’s back as he walked away. “Reacher! Reacher, get back here!”

“Maybe give him some space,” Roscoe said.

“I don’t need 250 pounds of frontier justice tearing up this town. Follow him, make sure he doesn’t ruin our case.” said Finlay.

“Why me?”

“Outside the morgue he actually listened to you.”

“And what if he doesn’t now?”

“Shoot him.”

So Roscoe attempts to pursue Reacher, driving her patrol car at the pace of a snail heavily medicated on Valium. The scene is a great example of the mood and setting when working patrol at night.

The world looks different from inside a police car, with the various shades and colors of lights winking and blinking combined with monotone voices spewing softly from the radio speaker.

Looking out from Roscoe’s patrol car as she “followed” Reacher

Working the night shift as a patrol officer is an experience like no other. It’s a side of the city most people never see.


“Your headlights wash over the back of an alley as feral dogs and cats scramble out of the dumpster that sits like an old and tired dinosaur behind Lula Mae’s Bakery. The knot of hungry animals scatter loaves of two-day-old bread in their haste to escape the human intruder who dared to meddle with their nocturnal feeding.

A mutt with three legs and matted fur hobbles behind a rusty air conditioning unit, dragging a long, dirty paper bag half-filled with crumbled bagels that spill and leave a trail of stale nuggets in its wake. Tendrils of steam rise slowly from storm drains; ghostly, sinewy figures melting into the black sky. A train whistle moans in the distance.

The night air is damp with fog, dew, and city sweat that reeks of gasoline and sour garbage. Mannequins stare out from tombs of storefront glass, waiting for daylight to take away the flashing neon lights that reflect from their plaster skin.

You park at the rear of the alley, stopping next to a stack of flattened cardboard boxes, their labels reflecting someone’s life for the week—chicken, lettuce, disposable diapers, and cheap wine.

Four more hours. If you could only …”

To read the full article click here.

Roscoe lost sight of Reacher, so she creeps through the neighborhood with ominous horror-movie-esque music playing in the background. She’s glancing to the side, scanning the area for signs of Reacher, when he suddenly appears in front of her car. After jamming the brake pedal to the floor to avoid hitting Reacher who’s standing mere inches from the front bumper, she and Reacher have a discussion. He’s not happy that she’s following him.

Reacher – “I don’t need a babysitter and I don’t need you screwing up my investigation.”

Roscoe – “Okay, first… this is not your investigation. Second, babysitting some giant vagrant is hardly my dream assignment. I could be out there looking for who killed your brother. So stand down and let me do my job, because I’m very good at it. ”

Reacher – “If you were very good at it, you wouldn’t have been trying to follow a man on foot in a police car.”

Roscoe’s argument is valid. Following behind a pedestrian, while driving a marked police car is a goofy thing to do. But I’ve seen supposedly savvy adult law enforcement officers driving along, trying to be discreet, while following suspects who are on foot. They’re either one round short of a full magazine, or they’re lazy. No matter the reason why, it’s not a good tactic.

Totally unrelated, this reminded me of back in the day when I was a field training officer. When I had a brand new officer in the car (many old-timers will back me on this one), if we initiated a traffic stop or saw a wanted person and the subject suddenly ran, well, rest assured I sent the rookie chasing after them, on foot, while I drove like a bat out of hell to the next block, across a vacant lot, a parking lot, etc. to “cut ’em off at the pass.”

Fun Fact -After academy graduation, new officers enter into the second phase of their training, where they receive on the job training under the watchful eye and guidance of a certified Field Training Officer. When they’ve satisfactorily completed the field training program the new officers are ready to hit the streets on their own. The Field Training  program was developed in the early 1970s by the San Jose, Ca. Police Department.

After a bit of back and forth, Roscoe convinces Reacher to let her drive him to Hubble’s house.

Once Reacher is seated in the car he turns to Roscoe and said, ” I’m not a vagrant, I’m a hobo.”

Roscoe replied, “Whatever.”

Hubble’s House

  • Hubble is not at home so Roscoe and Reacher chat with with wife. The nonchalant fact-seeking banter is good, and realistic.
  • Reacher reveals to Hubble’s wife that her husband’s phone number was located in the shoe of Reacher’s deceased brother Joe.
  • Reacher notices that one of the Hubbles’ two daughters, like their father, wears glasses. This is the “aha” moment when Reacher realizes that it was Hubble, not he, who was the target of the attack at the prison.
  • Reacher asks to use the restroom, an excuse to search for clues, which he finds— a Velcro-like agrimony seed pod, commonly called a hitchhiker, found in the mudroom stuck to a lace in one of Hubble’s dress shoes.
  • Hubble’s missing. Reacher believes he’s either on the run or the villain has abducted him.

Roscoe and Reacher visit the scene where Joe Reacher was killed.

Reacher – “Gun had a silencer on it, which makes even close-range work inaccurate, but he got a kill shot.”
The addition of a silencer probably doesn’t affect the accuracy of the pistol; however, the added weight could affect the handling of the weapon—ability to hold it straight and level, etc. Those factors could affect accuracy, unless the shooter is familiar with the silencer-equipment handgun, and has practiced shooting with the suppressor attached.

  • Reacher crouched among tall weeds to get a feel for the scene from the position and eyes of Joe Reacher’s killer. This was a great detail. The tactic is one I regularly employed as a police detective. Viewing the scene from the suspect’s position can help spot crucial details you might otherwise miss.

Reacher – “This is where he hid. He enjoyed it. sniper shot from the tree line would have done the job with less risk. The shooter wanted to be close.”

Roscoe – “Maybe it was personal.”

Reacher – “Someone takes your life, it’s always personal.”

Reacher’s statement is one you can take to the bank. Killing another person is extremely personal on many levels. I hope all crime writers incorporate this detail into their work because it can turn an adequate scene and character into something/someone extremely powerful.

The conversation turns to small talk, something Reacher interprets this as Roscoe trying to illicit information to help the department’s investigation into Reacher’s possible involvement in the murders.

Reacher – “Small talk to see if I say something to help your investigation?”

Roscoe – “I’m being nice to a guy who just lost his brother. But, you know, now that you brought it up, you might as well answer my questions.”

So Reacher opened up a bit about his and Joe’s lonely childhood, that Joe was most recently employed by Homeland Security but wasn’t sure which department. Roscoe asked Reacher if he thought Joe’s murder could be linked to his job., but Reacher said they hadn’t spoken for a while so he didn’t know.

Reacher left the scene walking, on his way to find a hotel room.

The hotel parking lot. If fighting is your thing, then here’s a nice one. Quick, too.

Reacher goes into the hotel office where he checks in. On his way out he’s greeted by a group of four young men who’ve consumed a couple of six-packs of beer while waiting for Reacher to arrive. Their mission, assigned to them by the villain of the story, was to inflict bodily harm on Reacher. I’ll pause while you chuckle at the thought of those five unsuspecting men contemplating an outcome of anything short of their own pain and misery.

The cocky leader of the group of thug wannabes said to Reacher – “You’re about to get your ass kicked.”

Reacher replied, “No. I’m just gonna break the hands of three drunk kids.”

Leader – “There’s four of us here.”

Reacher – “One of you has got to drive to the hospital.”

So, the leader of the group took a swing at Reacher and Reacher quickly made good on his promise of breaking the bones of three of the dumb, dumb, dumb men.

The fourth member of the group, the one who still had two good wrists and arms, held his hands in the air and wisely said to Reacher, “Ooh… I-I know where the hospital is.”

Roscoe, who’d been watching from a distance, said to herself, about Reacher, “What the hell just rolled into Margrave?”

A dog without water

The next day, as Reacher walks by the house of the thirsty dog and sees the animal’s bowl is once again empty. So he hops the picket fence and fills it from a hose. The owner steps outside and confronts Reacher who’s squatting beside the dog.

Dog owner – “Can I help you?”

Reacher – “No. Just giving your dog some water.”

Owner – “He must’ve knocked the bowl over, ’cause I gave him water this morning.”

Reacher – “No, you didn’t. Bowl was bone-dry.”

Owner – “You calling me a liar?”

A beat passed and then Reacher said, “Yes.”

Dog owner – “Well, I suggest you leave my property.”

Reacher pats the dog. “Good boy.”

This guy, the irresponsible dog owner, is pushing all the wrong buttons, something he’ll soon regret.

By the way, there is no shortage of cops who love animals who are quick to come to their defense when they’re mistreated. Animal control officers are frequently called by police officers who witness abused and mistreated animals. This often occurs when officers enter homes while serving search warrants or responding to complaints/calls. It is when they’re inside the home or in backyards, places not typically in public view, that such appalling abuse is discovered.

Margrave police chief is brutally murdered.

Margrave police chief Morrison is stripped naked, brutally murdered, and nailed to the wall with six spikes. Part of his male anatomy was severed and subsequently forced down his throat and into his stomach. The chief’s wife is also killed. The medical examiner asks where the body part could/would be located and Reacher replied, “In his stomach. You’ll find them during the autopsy.”

Yes, it would take a bit of strength to hold a man that size a few feet off the floor while hammering spikes through his arms and legs. Reacher easily explained it by saying it took at least four to do that to a guy Morrison’s size.

  • The people Hubble worked for said they’d nail him to a wall. Nailing the chief to a wall sent a very clear message to the people within the villain’s organization—screw up and you will find yourself in the chief’s shoes, or lack thereof. Reacher thinks Hubble may already be dead.
  • Mayor Teale, as crooked as he is a dead ringer for Colonel Sanders, the king of fried chicken, appoints himself as the new police chief.

Mayor/Chief Teale

  • Reacher, Roscoe, and Finlay come to the conclusion they cannot trust anyone in the department outside of their trio. One, if not all Margrave police officers are dirty, as was the chief.
  • A man named Kliner practically owns Margrave, from the lovely town square to nearly every major business. It’s his money that allows the town to survive, and it is he who controls the police department.
  • Kliner speaks at a town meeting called by Mayor/Chief Teale, a meeting designed to calm the fears of citizens who fear a serial killer, probably Reacher, is loose in their sleepy corporate limits. Kliner tells the people, “I have faith in our police force. I have faith in Chief Detective Finlay. I have faith in our new chief of police, Mayor Teale. And I promise I will provide whatever funds, whatever resources to find whomever is responsible for these heinous acts. You have my word.”


  •  After the meeting, Teale, the newly self-appointed crooked chief of police, sends Finlay on wrong path, steering him away from the murder investigation of Reacher’s brother.
  • Finlay to Reacher, speaking of Teale –  “Just sent me off to chase my tail.”
  • An FBI agent called Picard, a former friend of Finlay, is called to assist. His job is to take Hubble’s family (Hubble is missing) to a safe place and guard them while Finlay, Reacher, and Roscoe sort out the situation. Picard once told Finlay to not take the job in Margrave.
  • Reacher takes Hubble’s car and calls Spivey, the prison guard who set up he and Hubble for the prison beat-down, to arrange a meeting. When he arrived he learns Spivey set him up for an ambush, where he’s cut during a knife fight. But, like real life police officers and soldiers, Reacher fights to win and to survive. Losing is not an option. He later told Finlay, while Roscoe closed the knife wounds on his back using Superglue, the two men who attacked him had to be special forces from South America.

Reacher – “Probably military or ex-military—South American.”

Finlay – “How could you know that?”

Reacher – “‘Cause if they weren’t I would’ve killed them within ten seconds.”

Finally – “How’d you know they were South American military?”

Reacher – “Spoke Spanish, had Glock-17s and the technique one guy used to head-butt me was from a martial art hardly anyone uses it except branches of South American special forces. Plus, if they weren’t, I would’ve killed them within ten seconds.”

Roscoe – “Why would South American military be involved in this?”

Reacher – “Don’t know. You ever see anyone like that around Margrave?”

Finlay – “Not till you showed up.”

Reacher – “Then they’re hired muscle. Not running the show.”

Later, and here’s the romance du jour, Roscoe and Reacher head out of town for a bit of R&R and to lay low. They take Roscoe’s pickup truck to a roadhouse across the border in Alabama where the pair have a beer and a belly-rubbing’, gazedeeply-and-longingly-into-your-dance-partner’s-eyes slow dance to Patsy Cline’s classic song, “Crazy.”

Roscoe – “Uh-oh. They’re playin’ Patsy. You know what that means. Means we got to dance. Practically the law.”

Reacher – “I don’t dance.”

Roscoe – “You’re telling me that your mama never taught her sons how to dance?”

Reacher – “She did, but when I ask people to dance, it usually precedes a lot of punching.”

Roscoe – “Good thing I’m doing the asking. Come on …”

It’s a rainy night, a deluge, actually, which leads to a road closure and the pair are forced to spend the night in a hotel room, together. Reacher is shirtless and sleeps on the floor. Roscoe takes the bed wearing only a t-shirt and underwear. But the magic moment was not to be. Not this night.

The next morning Roscoe and Reacher go to Roscoe’s house and find her home burgled and ransacked, complete with muddy footprints on the carpet. Roscoe enters with pistol drawn and Reacher clutching a knife and ready to do battle.

They clear the house, and yes, that is what is sounds like as officers move from room to room making sure no one is hiding. They shout, “Clear! when they’ve determined no one is under a bed, in a closet, behind a shower curtain, or behind a door, etc.

Reacher believes the intruders may have been there to kill him or both of them. As they close the door they discover the words “See you soon” carved on the inside of the wooden door.

“I’m going to need a gun,” Reacher says.

Again, good cop chemistry and mannerisms from the actors, and great writing and adaptation of the books. A lot of violence? Sure. But hey, it’s Jack Reacher, a human bulldozer in a china shop.

Here’s a bit of trivia – Do you recognize this crooner who sent Paula Abdul’s heart aflutter during an early American Idol audition?


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Due to COVID concerns and precautions, the 2020 Writers’ Police Academy/MurderCon is now a virtual event!

Mark Your Calendars! August 6-7, 2020.

In response to a huge number of messages, yes, there will indeed be a 2020 Writers’ Police Academy/MurderCon. In fact, the 2020 event marks a full dozen years of bringing excellent and exciting programs to writers, readers, and fans of crime fiction and real-life crime-solving from around the world.

To celebrate the 12th annual WPA, we’re offering a prize that’s an over-the-moon opportunity of lifetime. I’m talking never before made available opportunity. Something that’s practically unbelievable. It’s heart-pounding. It’s nerve-tingling. It’s mind-blowing! It’s phenomenal! It is absolutely staggering! And it’s … well, it’s a secret for now.

Details as to how you could be the lucky and extremely fortunate person to win this rare opportunity are coming soon. I’m excited for you!

To add to the excitement, I’m extremely pleased to announce that the 2020 Writers’ Police Academy/MurderCon will once again take place in Raleigh, N.C., hosted by the global leader in crime scene technology … Sirchie.

Attendees entering Sirchie headquarters.

About Sirchie

“Sirchie,” according to Dyer Bennett, Sirchie’s Vice President of Product Development and Training, “is a 90-year-old organization that’s a global leader in finding ways to fulfill law enforcement needs, including training in all types of state-of-the art forensics. In years past, Sirchie has supported the WPA by providing instructors and training materials.”

“Each year some 700 law enforcement professionals visit Sirchie’s Youngsville, N.C campus, just outside of Raleigh, NC, to attend renowned, extensive training courses. Most of the attendees come from sheriff’s departments and municipal and state police forces. However, they also welcome officers and agents from a variety of other state and federal agencies, including state prison systems, airport security, FBI agents, Treasury, and Secret Service agents. International students come from countries ranging from Italy to Mexico and Argentina to Qatar.”

Sirchie and the Writers’ Police Academy, a Partnership of Writers and Law Enforcement

“Currently, Sirchie offers over 30 courses on campus annually on a variety of forensic topics. Their initial training programs primarily focused on fingerprinting and crime scene evidence collection. Now the subject matter includes all types of evidence collection, analysis, and preservation. For example, advanced courses in clandestine grave recovery, blood stain analysis, death investigation, reconstruction of a shooting, chemical and DNA testing of blood and semen, testing of substances suspected to be drugs, and arson investigation. Of course, they still provide in-depth instruction related to crime scene investigation and fingerprint analysis. One of the most popular courses still is the five-day Crime Scene Technology course that covers a variety of CSI techniques.”

Bennett had this (below) to say about the Writers’ Police Academy’s special event, MurderCon held at Sirchie’s elite compound in Youngsville, N.C. a suburb of Raleigh.

“We train attendees the same way we train law enforcement. Writers who’ve attended prior WPA courses can expect the learn-by-doing philosophy to continue. Every course will have a hands-on component.”

“If they take the arson course, they’ll analyze burn patterns with an expert who has thirty years of ATF experience in arson investigation. If they take the clandestine grave course, they’ll learn the proper way to excavate bones and remains in the field. If they take a drug analysis course, they’ll be taught not only how to test a suspect substance, but the measures needed to protect themselves from exposure. The same, of course, is true of courses related to biological testing and blood spatter documentation and analysis. Fingerprinting and crime scene photography will definitely be hands on. They’ll see and do what officers see and do.”

“The difference from prior WPA events,” said Bennett, “is that at Sirchie the focus is entirely about homicide investigations and the science and forensic technology and analysis used to solve the crime. When attendees graduate from MurderCon, they’ll have the knowledge to describe what really happens—and doesn’t happen—in a homicide investigation.”

“When MurderCon attendees leave, they’ll know what it feels like to conduct an investigation. Having first-hand experience will allow them to portray crime scene details realistically; and it will let them share with their readers how it feels to investigate a homicide.” ~ Dyer Bennett, Sirchie

So please do mark your calendars with a bright red circle. Believe me, you do not want to miss this all new and wonderfully exciting program.

Writers’ Police Academy/MurderCon. August 6-9, 2020.

Two of the many in-depth workshops offered at the 2019 MurderCon event:

A Bloody Mess: Search, ID, and Document Blood Evidence

 FBI Special Agent (ret.) David Alford, instructor.

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

Buried Bodies

Buried Bodies. Instructor ~ Dr. Meredith Tise, above center wearing light blue shirt, holding a metal probe used to examine ground at a suspicious grave site.

Dr. Meredith Tise earned her PhD. In Applied Anthropology from the University of South Florida. She currently works with the Pinellas County (FL) Sheriff’s Office and consults with the Medical Examiner’s office in Largo, FL, where she assists in remains recovery and analysis. Dr. Tise was part of the team who researched and unearthed 55 graves containing the remains of boys buried at the Dozier School for Boys, about 60 miles northwest of Tallahassee.

Police Magazine Showcases MurderCon/Writers’ Police Academy and Sirchie

MurderCon/Writers’ Police Academy is an event that’s well-attended by writers, readers, fans, editors, agents, translators, and law enforcement professionals, all from around the world and from nearly every state in the U.S.

The event has been featured in hundreds of popular blogs, magazine articles, on local television affiliates, social media, the AP wire, and in 2019 the WPA was the focus of a wonderful article in Police Magazine written by the magazine’s editor, David Griffith. In the article, CSI: Helping Authors Keep It Real, Griffith captured the true purpose of WPA, to help writers by providing the details that help bring better realism to their stories.

In one section of the piece Griffith wrote, “One of the most notable attendees was Charlaine Harris, author of the books that inspired the TV series ‘True Blood’ and ‘Midnight, Texas.’ Harris has the kind of resume that would allow her to contact just about any law enforcement agency in the United States and get a response to her questions, but she prefers coming to MurderCon to learn the details that can give her law enforcement scenes credibility. ‘I would be embarrassed to interrupt real officers while they are working,’ she says.

Also mentioned in an earlier Police Magazine article, “Prior guests of honor, including best-selling authors Tami Hoag and Lisa Gardner, have enjoyed the event so much that they’ve returned as attendees.”


The release of the Writers’ Police Academy’s first anthology, After Midnight: Tales From the Graveyard Shift marked a wonderful milestone for each of the contributing authors. The already successful book is a compilation of tales written by dear friends who, during the past eleven years, helped push the WPA to the top of the ladder. With a foreword written by superstar Lee Child and edited by Phoef Sutton, well, it just doesn’t get any better.

In addition, we were we especially thrilled to include the stories of two contest winners, Ry Brooks and Emilya Naymark. Next year, we’re pleased to say, we’re publishing a second anthology. Details to be announced in January. I will say this, though – we’re opening spots for an additional contest-winning tale, for a grand total of three available spots!

Writers’ Police Academy anthologies are published by our dear friends at Level Best Books.


Lee Child – Writers’ Police Academy

Finally, speaking of Lee Child … remember the mention at the top of this article of the rare, phenomenal and absolutely staggering and mind-blowing opportunity for one extremely fortunate person? Well, here’s a clue.

Jack Reacher