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2020 Writers’ Police Academy/MurderCon.

Mark Your Calendars! August 6-9, 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

“I’m stopping a vehicle on Highway 68 northbound, just past exit 142. Black Dodge Charger, Virginia registration T-Tango, X-X-ray, P-Paul, 444. Two occupants.”

“10-4, 2122. Do you want a 10-28, 29 on that vehicle?”

“10-4.”

“Stand-by. 0730 hours.”

Thirty-nine seconds pass.

“2122.”

“Go ahead.”

“10-99 on that vehicle. Vehicle was reported stolen in Ashland, Virginia. Driver’s wanted for an armed robbery of a convenience store in Richmond, Virginia. Suspect is armed with a dark colored, possibly black handgun. I’ve dispatched 2370 and 2447 to assist. ETA seven minutes. 0733 hours.”

“10-4. I’ll stay behind them until 2370 and 2447 arrive. Notify county and state. I’m getting pretty close to the line.”

“10-4. They each have someone en route.”

Two minutes pass.

“Shots fired! Shots fired! They’re running. I’m in pursuit! Northbound 68. We’re crossing the county line … excess of 80 mph. See if someone can get ahead of me with stop strips. We’re over 100 now and they’re all over the road. Where’s the county unit?”

“Stand by …”

Twenty seconds pass.

“2122, the county unit is headed your way southbound on 68. She’ll have stop strips in place at exit 156. 10-4? 0737 hours.”

“10-4. I’m still a few miles away … Wait, I think they’re … Yeah … Yeah, they’re making a right on … Stand by and I’ll give you a better 10-20 … Okay, we’re turning right … Oh, God! … I’m—”

Silence.

“2122?”

Static.

“2122?”

“Attention all units. I’ve lost contact with 2122. Last known location just over the county line on Northbound 68. 2122 is in pursuit of a black Dodge Charger, Virginia registration T-Tango, X-X-ray, P-Paul, 444. Two occupants are wanted for an armed robbery of a convenience store in Richmond, Virginia. Vehicle is 10-99. The driver is armed with a dark-colored, possibly black handgun. ”

“2122 …”

Still no response.

The radio silence that follows the dispatcher’s desperate call is nothing short of deafening, and heartbreaking.

Pursuit Rules of Thumb

There are basic rules to follow when engaged in a vehicle pursuit. One of the first things officers should remember from their nighttime driver-training is to never follow the vehicle they’re pursuing too closely. And never ever fixate on the brake and taillights lights of that vehicle.

Sure, it’s easy to use those lights as a beacon; however, if the suspect isn’t familiar with the area and misses a curve, or runs off an embankment, the officer who’s using taillights as a guide, is sure to follow those lights all the way to the bottom of the cliff or other crash site.

Yes, it happens and with devastating consequences. Therefore, officers are trained to follow at a safe distance. Remember, the bad guys could possibly outrun a police car, but they can’t outrun a police radio. There are always plenty of cops available in the next county, town, and state.

Still, adrenaline, a dreaded bout of tunnel vision, and sometimes the “superman” effect” where the officer, especially an inexperienced rookie, feels 10-feet tall and bulletproof, takes over an officer’s thought processes which renders moot all common sense and acquired knowledge and training.

But what happens if all goes well with the pursuit and the car eventually stops? The suspect ran for a reason, right? These are very dangerous traffic stops, so what steps should officers take to ensure their safety?

  • Always, always, always call for back up. There can never be too many officers on hand. There’s safety in numbers, right?
  • Maintain a safe distance between the patrol car and the suspect’s vehicle even when stopping. Allow enough room to maneuver, and even back up (retreat), if necessary. An ambush is a very real possibility these days.
  • Angle the patrol car so that the engine block is between the officer and the suspect. Bullets normally can’t pass through the thick metal (see photo below).
  • The officer should have his/her weapon in a ready position before the patrol car comes to a stop.
  • Use whatever cover is available. Anything is better than nothing at all. Stay safe until backup arrives, even if that means to retreat. Again, ambushes are not uncommon. This is not the time to be a hero!
  • Always be strong and forceful with verbal commands. “Get out of the car, now!”
  • Distract the occupants of the vehicle with verbal commands while a partner or backup approaches from the opposite side, in a flanking maneuver.
  • Use bright lighting to the officer’s advantage. Blind the suspect by shining the spotlight and takedown lights into their eyes and rear view mirrors.
  • Use caution while clearing the car of any hidden suspects who may be hiding in the floorboard or trunk. (It’s a good idea, when approaching any car, for the officer to place his/her hand on the trunk lid. If it’s open, press it closed). Drug dealers and other criminals have been known to hide bodyguards/shooters inside the trunk. They do so for the purpose of assassinating police officers should the bad guys be stopped while in the process of committing a crime or fleeing from custody, etc.

A Hamilton, Ohio officer places her hand on the trunk lid while approaching a driver during a traffic stop.

 


Writers’ Police Academy – The Ultimate Hands-On Training Event for Writers

The Writers’ Police Academy is dedicated to provided actual hands-on police training in realistic settings, such as at active police academies and in top forensics facilities such as Sirchie’s fantastic compound and crime scene equipment manufacturing facility.

The Writers” Police Academy program is designed to activate the senses so that writers can in turn transfer the sights, sounds, touches, smells, and even tastes they experienced while participating in the numerous workshops and sessions.

PIT Maneuver Training

For example, a writer’s work-in-progress involves a pursuit where the officer performs a PIT maneuver in order to stop a fleeing criminal. Well, we teach writers how to safely execute the technique and then place our attendees behind the wheel where they’ll perform the maneuver in real time.

The video below is of bestselling author Tami Hoag performing a PIT maneuver at the 2018 Writers’ Police Academy. The event was held at the Public Safety Academy on the campus of Northeast Wisconsin Technical College(NWTC) in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Any writer, reader, and fan of mysteries, thrillers, suspense, and other books and television shows and film that involves crime scene investigation, will most likely have heard of Luminol, the chemical that causes chemiluminescence.

Chemiluminescence, the vivid bluish glow we’ve seen on countless crime shows, occurs when Luminol contacts an oxidizing agent such as the hemoglobin found in blood. Other agents can cause a similar reaction (copper, bleach, etc.), but it is blood that causes the most vivid glow. And it is this reaction that is of particular interest both real and fictional investigators.

Even bloody footprints reveal themselves when exposed to luminol.

Sirchie, the world leader in crime scene investigation technology and products, describes Luminol as:

“Luminol is a chemiluminescent substance that can be used as a presumptive test for the presence of blood. Making use of the peroxidaselike activity of the heme portion of hemoglobin, Luminol produces a bluish-white light that can be viewed in total darkness. Invisible blood stains react with the Luminol reagent by luminescing—darkness is essential. It can also be photographed or videotaped with the aid of the SIRCHIE® KRIMESITE™ IMAGER. A very useful test for searching large areas for blood especially if the area has been cleaned up. Sensitivity:1:100,000.”

Sirchie’s LUMINOL8 Contents:
2- LUMINOL 8B bottles of solution, 8 oz. each
2- LUMINOL 8A packets of dry chemicals, Net. Wt. 14.5 gms
2- Spray Head Attachment

*Sirchie image


Blue Star

Sirchie’s BLUESTAR Forensic Kit “affords the Crime Scene Investigator a complete tool to determine the presence or absence of blood. The extreme sensitivity of BLUESTAR allows the detection of bloodstains down to 1:10,000 dilutions, including minute traces that have been washed off, with or without detergent. And unlike other blood reagents, total darkness is not required. With practice, it’s unlikely to get confused between blood and false positives as the luminescence is different in color, intensity and duration. Subsequent DNA Typing and ABO Typing is possible because BLUESTAR does not alter the DNA in suspect blood stains.” ~ Sirchie

*Above image ~ Sirchie


Luminol is a presumptive test, not a confirmatory test.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luminol presents challenges, such as its potential to destroy DNA evidence when contacted, and its glow lasts for just mere seconds. Detectives must be quick with their photography skills!

Therefore, BGU Prof. Alina Karabchevsky, head of BGU’s Light-on-a-Chip Group, a member of the BGU Unit of Electro-Optical Engineering and the Ilse Katz Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology, came up with a fantastic new idea … a device/chip that combines the use of luminol with gold or silver nanospheres.

Simply put, Dr. Karabchevsky invented a microfluidic chip that not only greatly increases the chemiluminescence intensity of luminol, but also extends its glow time. To sweeten the pot, the chip enables the detection of much smaller blood samples found at potential crime scenes.

“The method developed by BGU researchers will enable development of future detectors with improved sensitivity. We are currently looking for partners for further developing this promising patented invention,” said Netta Cohen, CEO, BGN Technologies.


What is a microfluidic chip?

Easy answer – a device (chip) that enables very small amount of liquid to be processed or visualized.

 

We all know how the story goes. A sly, blowhardish and extremely hungry wolf arrives at the front doors of the recently created homes of three very handy pigs, a trio of walking porkchops who’d built their individual abodes on prime pieces of suburban real estate.

The first pudgy, and not so construction-savvy pig fashioned his home from straw, and if you’ve watched HGTV lately you’ll recall that while inexpensive straw homes are susceptible to rot due to high moisture content, fire, and to the difficulty of obtaining homeowner insurance.

I imagine our first little porker thumbed his flat little nose at the rules, and safety, and bypassed the permitting process. I also believe he overlooked the possibility of wind damage and quickly learned of his error shortly after the wolf announced his presence on the front stoop.

“Little pig, little pig won’t you let me come in?” the mangy wolf cried out to pig number one.

“No, no, no, by the hair on my chinny, chin, chin,” said the worried hog.

Well, you know what happened next. The wolf, of course, huffed and puffed and in a matter of seconds enjoyed a tasty pulled pork appetizer.

The twisted and curly “tail” continues with the wolf’s forceful exhalations destroying pig number two’s stick-built home. As a result … pork roast for the entire Wolf family. And, as before, he’d gotten away without leaving a clue. Not even a paw print.

Then the murdering wolf, now deemed a serial killer by the local media, moved on to his next intended victim, the pig who lived in the brick rancher at the corner of Garlic and Rosemary Avenues.

Exasperated police almost captured the wolf thanks to a 911 call from the couple next door, Porky and Petunia, who’d seen the sneaky canine approaching pig number three’s doorstep. But, as bad luck would have it, the wolf escaped on foot, well, on four feet, actually.

The wolf was careless, though, during his third attempt at pig-killing. He’d forgotten it was the time of year when his species sheds their winter coats. Yep, you guessed it. Cops collected a few discarded hairs and subsequently rushed them to the lab where scientists immediately began testing them using an astonishing new process. They ‘d know the identity of the killer very soon. But this is fiction …

The Real Meat of the Story

Okay, the tale above is a bit stupid, I know. But I wrote it as a prelude to the true subject matter of the day—identifying a criminal suspect using his or her shed hairs found at a crime scene.

It’s fairly common knowledge that scientists and other lab experts, as well as law enforcement investigators and writers, are already familiar with the use of human hair from the head as a source used to identify people through DNA testing, etc. Suppose, though, that any hair from any part of the body could be used to identify the person who shed it, not just hairs from the head. To have this capability would be HUGE in the real world of crime-solving.

Sure, writers make up stuff like this all the time to help tie up loose ends in their books. After all, Jack Reacher, Bosch, DD Warren, and Tami Hoag’s Detectives Fourcade and Broussard, well, they’re unstoppable because their creators make it so. But actual cops must use actual evidence and actual crime-fighting tools and equipment to locate killers, such as the extensive catalog of items developed and manufactured by Sirchie.

But here in the world of genuine cops and murderers, the use of wishful thinking and fictional methods and procedures is not an option that’s available to local, state, and federal law enforcement.

However, thanks to a group of researchers, fiction is now a reality.

Yes, a groundbreaking technique of human identification using hairs from ANY part of the body is now possible. It’s the result of a yearlong study by researchers from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s Forensic Science Center and Michigan State University.

The process interprets hair protein chemistry and how it effects protein marker identification.

Chemist Fanny Chu, a graduate student and researcher at MSU, along with other researchers involved in the Lawrence Livermore/Michigan State University study, took the hair testing process a step further by studying and comparing arm and pubic hair with head hair. The result—the hairs fundamentally presented the same data as head hair.

Additionally, the protein content of the hairs indicate whether a single hair is from a person’s head, arm, or pubic area, etc.

The team also learned that the protein content of pubic hair is appreciably greater than head and arm hair.

A single one-inch strand of hair has a unique pattern, much like DNA or fingerprints, that distinguish a person from among a population of 10 million people.

Fun Fact: Human hair proteins are chemically more stout than nuclear DNA. In fact, scientists have detected protein markers in human hair that’s more than 250 years old.


SIRCHIE

Sirchie products (mentioned above) are used by law enforcement professional worldwide. Additionally, they’re often seen in use by CSIs and detectives on popular television show/series.

In August, just a few weeks from today, writers, fans, and readers will have the opportunity to attend hands-on homicide investigation training sessions at Sirchie’s elite compound near Raleight, N.C. The event, MurderCON, is brought to you by the Writers’ Police Academy and Sirchie. It’s a rare opportunity to learn at a world-renowned facility in classes taught by some of the best instructors in the world. I cannot stress enough how extremely valuable attending MurderCon could be to the knowledge base of crime fiction writers.

The material offered at MurderCON is the identical material taught to top investigators from around the globe. Not only that, classes are scheduled at Sirchie’s facility, the source of crime scene investigation tools and equipment. It’s where ideas are conceived by researchers and are then brought to life by developers and scientists. Next, a team of experts fabricate assemble everything from fingerprint brushes and powders to fuming chambers, alternate light sources and even surveillance vehicles.

The subject material offered at MurderCon has never before been made available to the public.

Again, this is a RARE chance to go behind the scenes, affording you, the writer, to add better realism to your work by experiencing the touch, sight, smells, sounds, and even tastes associated with crime scene investigations. This is the key to activating the senses of your readers!!

We’ve nearly reached maximum capacity for the 2019 MurderCON event; therefore, registration will soon close. So again, I urge you to consider taking advantage of this unique opportunity. It’s a KILLER event!

Sign up today at:

MurderCON

See you in August!

We’ve had requests from folks who’re hoping to share hotel rooms at the 2019 Writers’ Police Academy’s exciting new event, MurderCon. If you are interested in doing so, please post your roommate preference (male or female)in the comment section below.

By the way, slots are available to attend MurderCon. We’ve made extra room and, we’ve increased the room block at our event hotel.

Sign up today to attend this rare, one-of-a-kind, hands-on training event taking place at the headquarters of Sirchie, the global leader in crime scene products and technology. This year our sole focus is homicide investigations.

MurderCon

Police officers put themselves in harm’s way, repeatedly, over the entire length of their careers. It’s the nature of the job. A typical day can include serving and protecting the public, dealing with civil unrest, and even having to face man-made and natural disasters. Most police officers prefer to live in a city that minimizes their personal risk of injury in the line of duty, that pays a good wage, and where the typical officer’s workload is reasonable.

Analysts at Safety.com have studied nearly 300 cities and regions across the nation to find the top 20 cities for police officers in 2019.


Key Takeaways

The coast of the United States accounts for less than 10 percent of the country’s land mass, yet it is home to nearly 40 percent of the population, some 55.8 million people. [28] With a few exceptions, coastal or near-coastal regions offer police the best career opportunities. For those not interested in living near the coast, three regions offer favorable alternatives …

To continue reading Sam Carson’s full article, please visit him at …

2019’s Top Cities for Police Officers


Sam Carson handles community relations and content creation for Safety.com. Sam previously worked in the telecommunications industry and has over two years of experience. He’s now bringing his home services expertise to the home security industry with a goal of helping families secure what matters most.

Safety.com is a trusted hub of information about your home and family’s safety that provides a good customer experience through in-depth research, reviews and recommendations from industry experts to educate consumers on home safety products and give customers the power of choice when securing what matters most.”



Tickets are selling fast!

Please do hurry to reserve your place at this exciting one-of-a-kind opportunity for writers, readers, and fans. It’s never been done before and most likely will not occur again.

This is your chance to attend the actual hands-on classes taught to some of the best homicide investigators in the world, with all sessions taught by renowned instructors and experts.

This is not a citizens academy nor is it a collection the typically run-of-the-mill classes offered at so many writer events. In fact, even the Writers’ Police Academy, the premier law enforcement training event for writers, has not presented this extremely high level of intense and detailed instruction. Yes, MurderCon is that good.

This is as close as it gets to investigating an actual murder

This year we’ve gone over the top by carefully and painstakingly designing and offering a never-before-available opportunity for writers, readers, and fans. It’s the ultimate homicide investigation training event.

To sweeten the pot, immensely, we’ve arranged to host this event at the very source of much of the equipment, tools, and techniques utilized by homicide detectives …

SIRCHIE

You all know the importance of setting in your books, right?

For example, when your protagonists use Supergluing tactics to develop latent prints …

MurderCon attendees will work and train in the very setting where the fuming chambers were developed, brought to life, and then manufactured. Fingerprinting powders and brushes? Designed and made there too. Fingerprinting powders of all types, and there are many. Check. DNA testing? Check. Alternate light sources and RUVIS technology? Check. Evidence collection tools and kits and methods. Check. Buried body investigations. Check. Bloodstain patterns? Check, and some of the best investigators in the business teach those classes at the remote Sirchie compound just outside of Raleigh, N.C.

This seemingly endless list of top investigation education goes on and on and on. And you, non-law enforcement outsiders, have the rarest of rare opportunities to train there, at Sirchie, the global leader in crime scene investigation and forensic science solutions.

Imagine your senses being activated in ways they’ve not been in the past. That’s what’s going to happen at MurderCon, you know.

After MurderCon you’ll have the added knowledge of the very real odors associated with buried body and arson scenes.

Your eyes, ears, fingers and hands and noses and emotions will finally be able to join in with the writing of your next murder scene, because you’ll have had first-hand experience instead of relying on something you’ve read or heard someone say.

What you can expect upon graduating from MurderCon

A Fantastic Value!!!!

Browse Sirchie’s training schedule and you’ll see many of the sensational classes offered at MurderCon. Then peek at the cost of those sessions and you’ll quickly discover what a fantastic value it is to attend MurderCon.

MurderCon registration—the low fee of just $425—covers all classes, lunches, transportation to and from Sirchie, and more. Sirchie’s fee to attend, for example, just two classes—Clandestine Grave Search and Recovery and Arson Investigation for Law Enforcement—is just under $800. That’s the cost to attend only two of their outstanding classes (an extremely low fee for law enforcement, by the way).

MurderCon attendees have the opportunity to attend FIFTEEN different classes for nearly the same price as it would be to attend two at Sirchie.

What. A. Huge. Deal. For. YOU!

Sign up today at …

MurderCon Registration

During the first two days of Evidence Collection Training, we used a number of chemicals, fingerprint powders, and brushes, and employed several different fingerprint lifting techniques on a variety of tricky surfaces. We discussed the benefits of both cheap and costly Alternate Light Sources.

Our notebooks were filling up and theories of the perfect crime were flying around the class. We kept quizzing Robert Skiff, our instructor, about ways to ‘get away with the murder of the decade.’ But, as we learned, there is no perfect crime. That pesky trace evidence will always be waiting at every scene for the investigator to discover it, photograph it, tag it, bag it, and transport it without losing the integrity of the sample.

It was time to visit the plant – see how the powders, brushes, and other crime scene paraphernalia were made.

Sirchie manufactures most of its products in-house. The specialized vehicles for SWAT, bomb rescue, arson investigation, and surveillance work, etc., are built in New Jersey, but the smaller products are produced right in North Carolina.

Security was carefully controlled throughout our tour. Most of our group writes crime fiction, so we are always looking for a way our fictional criminals can break in (or out of) a wild assortment of locations. As we walked through the stacks and aisles of products, we commented to each other on the smooth organization and many checks Sirchie had in place. Cameras everywhere. Limited access to the assembly floor. Labyrinths a person could easily get turned around in. If we got separated from the group while taking an extra photo or two, we were found and escorted back by an always friendly employee.

Of course, we couldn’t turn into rogue students anyway. Our fingerprints littered the classroom and they knew where we lived.

Security plays a part in the assembly model as well. Each product they create is put together from start to finish by hand. There are no assembly lines because of trade secrets and a dedication to preserving product integrity. Personnel are carefully screened before being hired and qualification for employment includes graduate degrees. No criminal history whatsoever is allowed. Every employee comes through the Evidence Collection Training Class so that they understand what Sirchie does as a whole.

https://leelofland.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/ToolandDieMachinesN3248.jpg

Templates for the various products are created in-house. The operators of these machines are highly trained experts. Quality control is paramount, so training is constant.

https://leelofland.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/PrintedSuppliesIMG_0313.jpg

All the printing is done in-house. The printing area was stacked with cases of items being packaged for shipment. We saw ink strips large enough to process tire treads.

https://leelofland.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/FieldKit_0196.jpg

Field Kits are created for general use by investigators, but can be specifically designed for a special need. The small vials contain enough chemicals to test unknown stains and substances at the scene. Note the dense foam holding the vials and bottles firmly in place. The kits are usually kept in the trunk and probably get tossed around quite a bit. The foam insures against breakage during car chases and while bumping across uneven road surfaces.

https://leelofland.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/FingerprintBrushesIMG_0090.jpg

There are fiberglass brushes, feather dusters for the very light powder, regular stiffer brushes, and magnetic powder brush applicators.

https://leelofland.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/GunBoxIMG_0205.jpg

If a handgun is seized for evidence, there needs to be a simple, yet effective way to track chain of possession.

*Bag the gun to preserve the fingerprints and

*drop the gun in the box.

*Then fill in the blanks on the box.

*Easy to stack and store until needed.

Think of all the cases that may be ongoing in a large jurisdiction – the evidence is not sitting at the police station. It’s in a warehouse someplace, and needs to be easily identified when required for court. In addition to several sized boxes for guns and knives, etc. Sirchie also provides an incredible assortment of resealable plastic bags for preserving evidence like clothing, unidentified fibers, etc.

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Magnetic powder was being processed that day and then put into rows and rows of jars and jugs. Before it is sent out to the customers, each lot is tested for moisture content, appropriate ratio of ingredients and other trade secret tests. We joked about taking some back to class for the next round of fingerprint study and were surprised by how heavy the jugs were.

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No, she’s not making bullets. She is assembling the cyanowand cartridges used for fuming with superglue.

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Sirchie makes riot gear.

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This is not a photo of something from a SyFy movie. At the center of the shot is a helmet template. The drills encircling the template are aimed at spots where holes are needed for each helmet, depending on the type of helmet in production. All the holes are drilled at the same time.

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The helmet before anything has been added to it.

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Helmet padding

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Buckles for the helmets

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Padding is inserted after the buckles are attached.

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Helmet components

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Completed Riot Helmet

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The Optical Comparator, as well as the other machines, are built to order by hand.

While in the warehouse, we learned that if a product is discontinued, it is still supported by Sirchie. That means that if a law enforcement officer calls up with a problem a few years after purchasing a machine, he can still get help. Reassuring for jurisdictions with a tight budget that can’t afford to replace expensive equipment every year or two.

Sirchie sends supplies to TV shows, so next time you’re watching a fave detective or examiner lift prints with a hinge lifter, it may have come from Sirchie.

Great tour, great people who work so hard to keep the law enforcement community supplied with the gear needed to catch the bad guys.


To register for the 2019 MurderCon special event at Sirchie, please visit …

https://www.writerspoliceacademy.com


 

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Patti Phillips is a mystery writer/photographer/reviewer whose best investigative days are spent writing, cooking, traveling for research, and playing golf. Her time on the golf course was murderously valuable while creating the perfect alibi for the chief villain in Patti’s novel, “One Sweet Motion.” Did you know that there are spots on the golf course that can’t be accessed by listening devices? Of course, it helps to avoid suspicion if you work on lowering your handicap while plotting the dirty deeds.

Patti Phillips writes the online detective blog, www.kerriansnotebook.com.(Detective Kerrian chats about life as a detective as well as the central case in “One Sweet Motion.”) Patti’s book reviews of mysteries and thrillers can be found on the Facebook, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble sites. Her own review site, ‘Nightstand Book Reviews’ is coming soon.

Patti is a transplanted metropolitan New Yorker/north Texan, now living in the piney state of North Carolina.

We’re all familiar with law enforcement’s obsession with acronyms, right? Well, RUVIS is one you may not have seen or heard of while watching your favorite cop show.

RUVIS (Reflective Ultraviolet Imaging System), a system of locating latent (invisible) fingerprints) without the use of powders, fumes, or chemicals, was developed by Sirchie Fingerprint Laboratories and the U.S. Army. The system focuses on one specific section of shortwave ultraviolet light, the germicidal spectrum of light, which cannot be seen by the naked eye.

A particularly unique feature of RUVIS technology is that it works in both total darkness and in bright sunshine, a must for use by police investigators.

KrimeSite Imager in use by a police detective.

The Krimesite Imager, manufactured by Sirchie, uses RUVIS technology to detect invisible residues from fingerprints. Those residues reflect UV light projected from the device, which immediately captures the reflections with a 60mm UV lens. A built-in scanner then converts the images to visible light, allowing the investigator to see the fingerprint. All this is done instantly, in real time. And, the detective is able to see images from up to fifteen feet away.

 

KRIMESITE IMAGER Master RUVIS Kit

The Krimesite Imager uses RUVIS technology to detect invisible residues from fingerprints. Those residues reflect UV light projected from the device, which immediately captures the reflections with a 60mm UV lens. A built-in scanner then converts the images to visible light, allowing the investigator to see the fingerprint. Again, this takes place in real time and the detective is able to see images from up to fifteen feet away!

Once the print is located the investigator uses the Imager to photograph it and, with the use of a micro-printer, print a copy of the desired evidence. All this without the messy powders that never seem to wash away. The KS Imager can also be used to greatly enhance prints developed using cyanoacrylate fuming (Super Glue).

Krimesite Imager

  • Detects latent fingerprints without the use of powders or chemicals.
  • Effective on smooth, non-porous surfaces (flooring, walls, countertops, tables) and on multi-colored surfaces like magazine covers.
  • RUVIS uses shortwave UV light.
  • Enhances the ability to see cyanoacrylate fumed prints without using dye- staining, lasers, or alternate light sources.
  • Detects other “invisible” evidence you may not have otherwise seen.

To learn more about the Krimesite Imager, a device that’s an absolute must for the crime scene investigators in your stories, visit Sirchie’s guide to Ruvis and ALS (alternate light sources) Systems.


Those of you attending Writers’ Police Academy’s 2019 special event, MurderCon, will see the KrimeSite Imager at the very location where the devices are manufactured. Yes, during a tour of Sirchie’s absolutely amazing facility you will see this device and much, much more. I cannot stress enough how cool and rare this opportunity is for writers.

Sign up today to attend this rare opportunity for writers. Hurry while there’s still time!

https://www.writerspoliceacademy.com

It would have been a day sometime way back in the 1970s when I nervously held a fingerprint brush for the time, hoping to solve the big crime of the century, the breaking and entering of private residence where a thief stole a well-used VCR player.

I recall that it was a messy process due to the fact that I’d mopped on the deep black powder much as a rookie house painter would apply a coat of Benjamin Moore primer to the side of an old barn. Even Boss Ross, when using his trusty landscape knife, applied less oil to a canvass than I did fingerprint powder to that broken window pane and surrounding wood trim.

Still, I managed to develop and collect a couple of usable prints. Unfortunately for me, this took place long before the rapid fingerprint matching system that’s now in place. In those days we collected the print, sent it to a fingerprint examiner who used hand and eye to match the print to a known suspect, or not, and would then send us a report that was basically a thumbs-up or thumbs-down. Yes, it was a match to someone, or no it was not. Their typical catchall response was, of course, “inconclusive.”

I honestly believe they had an admin temp assigned to open our paperwork, file it in a holding bin for several months, and pull the evidence out to rubber-stamp each submission with that dreaded “INCONCLUSIVE” text seen so often as their response. I’ve actually lifted prints at crime scene and sent them to the FBI and, in the meantime through other methods, arrested a suspect, testified about the case in court, and had the person go to jail and get out again before receiving a response. INCONCLUSIVE, of course.

But things changed over time, as they do. Techniques became better and better. Crime scene technology and equipment became more user-friendly and delivered more accurate and speedier results. Nowadays, fingerprint comparisons are performed almost within the blink of an eye—even quicker than that irritating FBI temp could whip out the stamp and ink pad.

Thanks to modern technology, law enforcement is now able to lift prints from the skin of humans, from wet surfaces, and much more.

The company that leads the way in these advanced fingerprinting techniques is, of course, Sirchie, the host of the Writers’ Police Academy’s 2019 special event, MurderCon.

I’ve mentioned before that MurderCon instructors are some of the best in the business … in the world, even. But what I think I haven’t stressed to you enough is that these highly-skilled men and women are the representatives and trainers of the company that actually invented/invents these tools, equipment, and processes that you, as MurderCon attendees, will see and learn to use with your very own eyes and hands. And what you’ll see and do are the precise actions and materials taught to top law enforcement investigators from around the world.

Yes, the folks teaching the MurderCon workshops are delivering their material straight from the source of its existence. It simply doesn’t get any better, starting with fingerprinting.

Sirchie, the History

Sirchie was founded in in 1927, in Philadelphia, with the purpose of providing fingerprinting materials to law enforcement. Then, approximately thirty years ago, the company decided to provide instruction and hands-on training to the investigators who often called Sirchie to say they didn’t understand why a product wasn’t working the way it should. So, after conducting a bit of research, Sirchie officials discovered the problem wasn’t the products, it was that they were being used incorrectly by the investigators in the field.

This was the start of Sirchie’s renowned training programs. Their initial instructional courses primarily focused on fingerprinting, of course. After all, their company name at the time was Sirchie Fingerprint Laboratories.

As the company began to develop more and more products and technology to aid crime scene investigators, they began to add other classes and courses.

Today, Sirchie offers 18 unique Crime Scene Technology courses at their Youngsville campus, the site of the 2019 MurderCon special event. This high-level of instruction includes all types of evidence collection, analysis, and preservation. They also offer 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, footwear analysis, and arson investigation to name a few.

Of course, Sirchie wouldn’t be Sirchie without fingerprinting in their lineup. Therefore, also included in their course material is in-depth, advanced instruction related to fingerprinting. The latest fingerprinting techniques allow latent fingerprints and palm prints to be discovered and collected on a variety of challenging surfaces.

As their product line expanded, Sirchie recruited numerous subject experts to join their training staff, such as a leading expert in blood stain analysis. Another is known as a driving force in successful efforts to identify criminals by matching crime scene fingerprints and now palm prints across data bases.

MurderCon attendees will be treated to hands-on sessions taught by a hand-picked group of Sirchie instructors.

Advanced Fingerprinting at MurderCon

During MurderCon’s highly-detailed fingerprinting classes, the same taught to police investigators and other crime scene investigation professionals (I cannot emphasize this enough), attendees will learn and experience the proper use of oxide, metallic, magnetic, and fluorescent powders for discovering latent fingerprints at crime scenes. Attendees will develop latent prints on a variety of surfaces including paper, glass, plastic, and even textured surfaces, and practice lifting developed latent prints using tape, hinge lifters, gel lifters, and Accutrans.

In addition, class participants will develop latent prints on porous surfaces, including paper and cardboard, utilizing iodine fuming, DFO, and ninhydrin. WPA attendees will learn the proper process sequencing for the maximum retrieval of latent prints and review the chemical principles of how they work. The class will be treated to special demonstration of using cyanoacrylate (superglue) on non-porous paper (carbon).

So, as you can see, attending MurderCon to learn crime scene investigation is akin to attending a light bulb conference featuring classes taught by Thomas Edison and British chemists Warren de La Rue and Joseph Swan.

It’s highly advanced law enforcement training offered to writers, readers, and fans, all made possible by the combined efforts of the Writers’ Police Academy and Sirchie.

Fun Sirchie Fact – DNA-free Fingerprinting

Did you know that it’s possible to lift DNA-free fingerprints?

Well, Sirchie has made it so, and this is a super cool detail for a book!

DNA Free Fingerprint Lifting Kit with Fiberglass Brush ~ Sirchie image

Sirchie provides DNALP100 DNA-free latent fingerprint lifting kit with fiberglass brush for use in lifting latent fingerprints from crime scenes.  This fingerprint lifting kit is certified DNA-free through independent testing.

Why are certified DNA-free products important?

  • Advances in collection methods allow for processing of touch DNA
  • Prevention of cross contamination
  • Proper sterilization techniques allow for certification of items to be free of DNA

Sirchie’s DNA-free products can help in the preservation of the integrity of the investigation and aid in the efficient pursuit of justice.

This fingerprint lifting kit is treated using a scientifically proven DNA destroying process, that penetrates and decontaminates throughout, not just the surface.  Each lot is certified through third party testing to ensure each batch processed is DNA free.

All items are packaged to prevent contamination before use, and are meant to be used only once. These DNA free items provide the investigator with the tools to eliminate DNA cross contamination, but still process the scene with the tools that they require.

 


 

Registration to this unique training event opens tomorrow, February 24, 2019 at noon EST. Please be ready to sign up at that time. This wildly popular event often sells out, sometimes within a few hours after registration opens. Believe me, you do not want to miss this extremely rare opportunity!

https://www.writerspoliceacademy.com

This year, 2019, the Writers’ Police Academy has gone far outside the box to provide a rare opportunity for writers, fans, readers, and anyone who’s fascinated with the knowledge of how homicide investigators solve even the most complex cases. It’s called MurderCon and its name says it all. The four day event is all about the crime of murder.

MurderCon is not a writers conference where attendees learn plotting and sentence structure and how to land an agent. Not at all. MurderCon, as its name suggests, is designed to help writers bring much-needed life into their “death” scenes, and how their characters should go about reaching a solution to those cases—collecting and preserving evidence, interrogating suspects, examining blood evidence, concealing a murder using fire, and clandestine grave investigations, to name a few.

 

 

In addition to the steps involved when investigating a homicide, MurderCon offers the little things, facts and intricate details that you’d never, not ever, have the opportunity to experience, unless, of course, you’re an actual homicide investigator.

It’s those nitty-gritty details that make readers turn pages and stay up all night hoping to solve the crime before the hero of the tale brings the case to its conclusion. They’re the points that could send your stories soaring to levels you might never have achieved without attending this extraordinary event.

“When writers graduate from MurderCon, they’ll have the knowledge to describe what really happens—and doesn’t happen—in a homicide investigation.” ~ Sirchie’s Vice President of Product Development and Training, Dyer Bennett

During this intense weekend, we’re offering a collection of amazingly detailed and hands-on classes and training sessions that are typically available only to law enforcement. You will indeed participate in actual training at the very source of crime scene and forensic technology, the one and only training and manufacturing facility of Sirchie.

Buried Bodies, a MurderCon session taught by Dr. Bryan W. Brendley, is an outdoor session with demonstrations of various stages of a clandestine grave excavation. Dr. Brendley currently serves as a cold case consultant. In addition, he’s an expert in Clandestine Grave Recovery, Forensic Palynology, Drowning Forensics, Land- and Water-Based Crime Scenes, and Forensic Dental Identification.

Sirchie, the global leader in Crime Scene Investigation and Forensic Science Solutions, is, to put it simple terms, is an industry leader staffed by a team of famed professionals who research a need, develop a product to meet those needs, and then manufactures and distributes those products to law enforcement worldwide. They fabricate and make available thousands of products, from patented fingerprint brushes and powders all the way to high-tech surveillance and evidence collection vehicles, and lots more in between.

In addition to tools and equipment, Sirchie offers world class, high-level training at their elite Youngsville, N.C. compound. It’s a private facility that sits on a sprawling property. Their renowned group of instructors are some of the best in the business.

Sirchie instructors teach classes, courses, and workshops to law enforcement professionals from local and state police forces as well as officers and agents from federal agencies, including state prison systems, airport security, FBI agents focused on counter terrorism, and Treasury and Secret Service agents. International students travel to Sirchie from countries ranging from Italy to Mexico and Argentina to Qatar.

To give you an example of the level of instruction MurderCon attendees will receive … remember the horrific Polly Klaas kidnaping and murder? This was a convoluted investigation that involved multiple law enforcement agencies—local, state, and federal, including the FBI—over 4,000 volunteers who assisted in the search, major television network shows such as America’s Most Wanted and 20/20.

Over 500 search team members from 24 agencies were involved in what was the largest effort of its kind in the state of California.

One of the key investigators involved in the Polly Klaas investigation was David Alford, a Sirchie and MurderCon instructor.

Agent Alford, now retired after 21 years of service, was one of the founding members of the FBI Evidence Response Team (ERT).

Since David and crew founded the extremely vital ERT team, it has grown tremendously and is now composed of supervisory special agents, forensic canine consultants and operations and logistics management specialists, and management and program analysts.

The ERT program supports teams in all 56 FBI field offices to ensure evidence is collected in such a manner that it can be introduced in courts throughout the U.S. and the world.

*ERT information and image source – FBI.gov

David also conducted crimes scene searches on numerous international violent crimes and bombings, as well as being involved the search of the Unabomber’s cabin and the 9/11 Pentagon scene. He’s a Forensic Serologist, Hair and Fibers Examiner, and Bloodstain Pattern Analyst.

David Alford’s session at MurderCon exposes attendees to proper methods to locate, identify, and enhance blood evidence. Also included in this workshop are chemical search methods using luminol and Bluestar. Attendees will also receive an introduction to blood patterns and what they can tell an investigator about a scene, as well as instruction regarding the identification of blood by using chemicals to enhance suspected blood patterns.

And this is only one of the renowned and highly-skilled instructors and the classes offered at the 2019 MurderCon event. When we say MurderCon is the real deal, well, that’s exactly what it is.

Sirchie’s Vice President of Product Development and Training, Dyer Bennett says MurderCon attendees will be trained the same way they train law enforcement. And, writers who’ve attended prior WPA courses can expect the learn-by-doing philosophy to continue. Every course will have a hands-on component.

They’ll see and do what officers see and do.


MurderCon is about knowledge. It’s about exciting and teasing the senses of both you and your readers. It’s about enhancing your credibility as an author. It’s about fun.

“Having first-hand experience will allow writers to portray crime scene details realistically; and it will let them share with their readers how it feels to investigate a homicide.” Dyer Bennett

For details about the Writers’ Police Academy special event, MurderCon, please visit our all new website.

Registration opens at noon on Sunday February 24, 2019 EST. Please keep in mind that past WPA events have sold out on the first day. Sometimes within an hour or so of the opening of registration. That’s how wildly popular and important these events are to writers, readers, and fans. So please be ready at noon on Sunday. Believe me, you do not want to miss this one. It’s amazing!

MurderCon