Tag Archive for: sponsors

Registration for the 2023 Writers’ Police Academy (WPA) is scheduled to open February 1, 2023, at noon EST.

Space is limited so please be ready to register on February 1 at noon EST. You do not want to miss this event!

This, our 15th year of delivering hands-on training classes and sessions taught by leading law enforcement and forensics experts, scientists, and other industry professionals, is likely the most exciting event we’ve produced to date.

The Writers’ Police Academy is indeed actual law enforcement training. It is exciting. It is unique. And it is FUN!



The Writers’ Police Academy (WPA) is now in its 15th year of providing stellar workshops featuring stellar content and top instructors and experts. The event is thrilling and packed with heart-pounding action.

Each year, the WPA offers and presents a program that’s designed especially for writers. In fact, we build the event around you and your needs as a writer, and to answer your questions and help with your works-in-progress.

There are no classes about writing or panels of agents and editors. There is no pressure to pitch your books or to impress agents, editors, or fellow writers. No author panels or … well, you get the idea. The WPA is not a typical writers conference.

Instead, the Writers’ Police Academy is an exciting hands-on training experience that takes place at a renowned law enforcement public safety training academy. It’s where attendees interact one-on-one with law enforcement (local, state, and federal), firefighters, EMS personnel, and forensics experts. Training includes driving police cars while chasing bad guys, investigating homicides, time on the firing range and participating in law enforcement virtual reality use of force training, handcuffing, using battering rams and explosive devices to breach and searching a building for armed criminals, crime scene investigation, cold case investigations, K9 emergency first aid, death by powders and pills, and much more.

We’ve landed helicopters in the middle of classes, recreated bombing scenes complete with the use of explosives, staged a car crashes and chase with a bank robber that ended in a shootout and arrest, canines show off their search, drug-finding, and bite capabilities. The list of thrilling sessions and top, renowned expert presenters is extensive.

The Writers’ Police Academy kicks off on Thursday with a massive indoor session—“Touch a Truck and Ask the Experts “—at the stunning Fox Cities Exhibition Center. It features variety of public safety vehicles, fire apparatus, CSI Unit, police boats, drones, SWAT vehicle and equipment, and other items for attendees to view and explore. Officers, firefighters, and other experts are on hand for Q&A and live demos.

Classes offered at the Writers’ Police Academy are typically “for law enforcement eyes only,” so it’s super cool that attendees have this rare opportunity, an inside track to details not usually available to anyone outside the profession.

Simply put, the Writers’ Police Academy proudly delivers what other events simply cannot.

But it takes substantial funding to present an event of this magnitude—leasing an entire law enforcement academy along with their team of certified instructors, a driving range, tactical house, burn tower, forced entry structure, an exhibition center large enough to accommodate numerous police, fire, and EMS vehicles, display booths and stations, bringing in high-profile expert presenters, leasing buses to transport attendees between facilities, etc. All of this while keeping registration fees at the bare minimum to allow everyone to attend who wants to take advantage of this rare and unique event.

Obviously, registration fees alone cannot cover the costs associated with a production of this magnitude. Therefore, we heavily rely on the kind and extremely generous support of sponsors.

There are many reasons why sponsoring the Writers’ Police Academy is beneficial and rewarding, including the fabulous opportunities to showcase and promote you, your books, and other products through the WPA’s unique wide-ranging worldwide community and networking environment, including the WPA’s following of thousands of writers and readers of books, television and film writers and their fans and viewers, and the potential to reach audiences not typically within an author’s fanbase, the over 700,000 law enforcement officers in the U.S.

Sponsorships at the upper levels are featured in publications such as Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, as seen in this ad from 2022.

The Writers’ Police Academy is the ultimate means of developing previously untapped sources of customers and readers.

Become a Sponsor

Here’s how you can become a treasured sponsor of the Writers’ Police Academy. Remember, no amount is too small, or too large. Every single dollar helps!

Click here to Become a Sponsor of the Writers’ Police Academy!

We deeply appreciate your support! And, of course, a special thanks to each of you who’ve supported us in the past and continue to do so today.

*If you don’t see your desired sponsorship amount listed on the website, please contact Lee Lofland at lofland32@msn.com. We’ll make it work for you!

2023 Guest of Honor

Hank Phillippi Ryan

Hank Phillippi Ryan is the USA Today bestselling author of 14 psychological thrillers, winning the most prestigious awards in the genre: five Agathas, five Anthonys, and the coveted Mary Higgins Clark Award. She is also the on-air investigative reporter for Boston’s WHDH-TV, with 37 EMMYs and dozens more journalism honors. Book critics call her “a master of suspense,” “a superb and gifted storyteller”; she’s the only author to have won the Agatha in four categories: Best First, Best Novel, Best Short Story and Best Non-Fiction. Her newest is HER PERFECT LIFE, a chilling psychological standalone about fame, family, and revenge. It received starred reviews from both Kirkus and Publishers Weekly, calling it “a superlative thriller.” B.A. Paris says, “Shocking, suspenseful… kept me guessing until the end.” and Julie Clark says, “You will read this in one sitting!” It is now nominated for the Agatha Award for Best Contemporary Novel. Her next is THE HOUSE GUEST, coming February 2023.  

Hank is a founder of MWA University, host of CRIME TIME on A Mighty Blaze, and co-host of First Chapter Fun and The Back Room. She is a past president of National Sisters in Crime.

Hank’s first novel, the bestselling PRIME TIME (which won the Agatha Award for Best First Novel in 2007) is actually not her first encounter with publishing. That was in 1969, when she got a summer job as a proofreader, and read the entire Indiana Code of Laws out loud.

Hank began her TV career in 1975, anchoring and reporting the news for TV stations in Indianapolis and then Atlanta. She’s battled her way through hurricanes, floods and blizzards, wired herself with hidden cameras, chased down criminals and confronted corrupt politicians. With ground-breaking reports including revealing mistakes in the 911 system that sent emergency responders to the wrong addresses, a failing jury selection system, firefighters given outmoded and failing equipment, corruption in the mortgage industry and unfair practices by powerful contractors, her hard-hitting journalism has changed laws and changed lives. She has also covered national political conventions, the NBA playoffs and the Super Bowl, and has interviewed newsmakers from Prince Charles to President Carter to Muhammad Ali.

Hank grew up in the Indianapolis area and went to Western College for Women in Oxford, Ohio, where she majored in Shakespeare (and, she says, “minored” in “independent reading and listening to rock and roll records”). She also studied abroad at the International School in Hamburg, Germany.

Outside Channel 7, Hank has also been on the advisory board of the Lyric Stage of Boston, a professional theater company. There, Hank founded the Lyric’s “First Curtain” program, which provides the full theater experience for underprivileged students with free tickets and theater education scholarships.

Hank lives in the Boston area with her husband, a nationally renowned civil rights and criminal defense attorney.

Visit Hank at HankPhillippiRyan.com, Twitter @HankPRyan, Instagram @hankpryan and Facebook at HankPhillippiRyanAuthor.

2023 Special Guest Presenters

Each year, we feature high-profile special guest speakers who have special knowledge, experience, and background, and insight into crime, criminals, and crime-solving. These are experts who provide behind-the-scenes information that could help writers add detail that will activate the senses of their readers.

This year I’m thrilled to introduce our three special guest presenters—Photojournalist Mike De Sisti, Steven Spingola, homicide detective/TV personality (Cold Justice, a popular Oxygen Channel true crime program), and renowned serial killer expert Dr. Katherine Ramsland.

So, without further ado, please meet the Writers’ Police Academy’s outstanding 2023 lineup.

Special Guest Presenters

Mike De Sisti has been a photojournalist with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel since 2008. He covers everything from breaking news, professional sporting events including the Green Bay Packers, Milwaukee Bucks and Brewers to features, and business assignments. His work has allowed him to travel to China for a story on paper production, Prague for Harley Davidson’s (a Milwaukee based company) 115th anniversary celebration) and to the Super Bowl. He teaches a news photography class at Marquette University in Milwaukee.  

A native of the northwest suburb of Chicago, Crystal Lake, IL., De Sisti graduated in 1996 from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale with a fine art photography degree. His passion for photojournalism started in college while working at the school newspaper, the Daily Egyptian. He also worked at the Post-Crescent in Appleton, WI from 1998-2008. Besides photography, his other hobby is running. Mike has run 11 marathons since 2006.  

He’s married with two daughters, ages 10 and 13. 


The Story In Photos Of The Darrell Brooks Trial And Waukesha Parade Attack

When Darrell Brooks drove his red Ford Escape SUV through the Waukesha Christmas Parade on Nov. 21, 2021, killing 6 people and injuring dozens of others, it shook the city of 70,000 and the entire state of Wisconsin.  Less than a year after the attack, Brooks would be charged and prosecuted in a Waukesha County Court. The four-week long trial was replete with disruptions and delays from Brooks, who decided just days before the proceedings began that he would defend himself. 

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel photojournalist Mike De Sisti spent a majority of the time as the sole pool photographer in the court. He’ll show you in images what that process was like. De Sisti also responded to the scene of the parade attack the night of Nov. 21, and covered the aftermath the days following. 

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


Dr. Katherine Ramsland: The Candy Man’s Handyman … And Killer

Some youthful offenders have been lured onto criminal teams and carefully groomed to participate in murder. Their experience of killing is different from that of a primary predator, as is their post-murder response. For over a year, I’ve worked with Elmer Wayne Henley, Jr., one of the two accomplices to “Candy Man” Dean Corll, who killed at least 27 boys during the 1970s in Houston, Texas.

Henley reveals the mechanism of manipulation and describes where it went wrong as he resisted, then killed his murder mentor. Henley does not excuse his crimes, but he does wonder how he could ever have been involved. Through him, we learn how predators like Corll bait their potential partners and control their behavior.    

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

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

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

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


An Evening With Steven Spingola: The Spingola Files

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

2023 Writers’ Police Academy Instructors and Classes

A Coroner’s Life

An often-unseen part of a homicide investigation, the coroner’s office investigates sudden, unnatural, and unexplained deaths. This course takes you from the scene of the crime to the autopsy table!


Jon HagenCoroner, RN, Flight Nurse, Author

Cold Cases. What Are They And How Are They Investigated?

Looking to add cold case investigations to your mystery writing canon? Join Bruce Robert Coffin, Retired Detective Sergeant and award-winning mystery author as he discusses cold case murder investigation police procedures, and more. You’ll learn the who, what, why, when, where, and how of cold case investigations and how to apply that knowledge to your writing.


Bruce Robert CoffinRetired Detective Sergeant and Award-Winning Mystery Author

Crime Scene Investigation

Investigating a crime scene, whether it is a burglary or a homicide, is a process that involves a wide range of skills and knowledge. Sure, it’s a bit easier to solve a crime when the found evidence is a warehouse filled with stolen goods, but when the clues are as small as a single fiber or human hair, speck of glass, a partial fingerprint, or DNA collected from shed skin cells, well, the situation becomes far more complex. After all, evidence collected today could also prove beneficial years later, making the role of crime scene investigators more crucial than ever before.

In this session, Crime Scene Analyst/Investigator Holly Maas guides participants into the world of evidence collection, detailing various procedures and methods, from lifting fingerprints to collecting DNA to interpreting blood spatter.


Holly Maas, Certified Crime Scene Analyst and Property and Evidence Specialist

Death By Powders And Pills

Over 107,000 overdose deaths were reported in the United States in 2021. Through persistent efforts of investigators, many of these deaths resulted in homicide charges. This course is an in-depth look into the latest emerging drug trends in the United States, including the current fentanyl crisis.

Instructor – TBA

Emergency Vehicle Operations (EVOC)

Many murder suspects flee the scene of the crime in a vehicle. Savvy law enforcement officers often spot the absconding suspect’s car and initiates a chase. During this exciting session, WPA attendees get behind the wheel of an actual patrol vehicle to pursue a suspect throughout a 26-acre closed Emergency Vehicle Operator road course.


Andrew Opperman, Professional Standards Division Lieutenant, Wisconsin Department of Justice Certified instructor in EVOC, firearms, and OWI/SFST.

Nicole Crocker, Detective, Wisconsin Department of Justice Certified instructor in Vehicle Contacts (Master Instructor), EVOC, Tactical Emergency and Casualty Care, Officer Wellness, OWI/SFST, Professional Communications, and Scenarios.


Law enforcement officers must be prepared for risks of all types, including gunfire and other threats of serious bodily harm or death. To prepare for the worst, they regularly train with various types of weapons. Hopefully, they’ll never face a situation where deadly force is required. Unfortunately, officers often encounter criminal suspects who are armed and extremely dangerous, such as a homicide suspect who’s determined to escape custody even if it means shooting responding officers.

In this hands-on session, attendees learn about, handle, and shoot firearms that law enforcement officers carry in the course of their duties, such as the Glock pistol and AR15 rifle. Participants become familiar with sight picture, sight alignment, stance, grip, and trigger control, and gain the hands-on knowledge of what it’s like to look down the barrel and over the sights. Experience the feel of the weapon, the pull of the trigger, the movements and action of the gun, and sound of the instructor’s voice when they give the command to “FIRE!


Ian Nishimoto, Certified Master Instructor—Defensive and Arrest Tactics, Firearms/Tactical Rifle, Scenario Assessment, and Tactical Response.

Ryan Peterson, Law Enforcement Academy/Criminal Justice Associate Degree Program Instructor, Former Officer in Charge, Field Training Officer, Evidence Technician, Firearms Instructor, Tactical Emergency Care Instructor, Threat Assessment Officer (Special Investigations Unit), SWAT Team Member, Task Force Officer—US Marshals Fugitive Apprehension, Patrol Lieutenant.

Forced Entry – The Search For, And Capture, Of An Armed Suspect

You and your team are dispatched to a location (our full-scale forced entry structure) where potentially armed and dangerous suspects are hiding. Upon arrival, you and your partners must enter to clear the building and apprehend the offenders. This course will have you ‘slice the pie’ as you make entry into an unknown building to begin your search.

Participants experience first-hand the heart-pounding, adrenaline rush of “going in.” What if the armed suspect is around the next corner? How many suspects are inside? What type of weapons do they possess? What if they’re a wanted person who’s threatened to kill all police officers who try to capture them?

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


Jon Nejedlo, Behavioral Health Officer, Field Training Officer, Training Unit Member, SWAT Team Member, Certified Instructor—Emergency Vehicle Operation and Control (EVOC), Vehicle Contacts, Firearms, Defense and Arrest Tactics (DAAT), Scenario Instructor, and Tactical Response.

Brian Jordan, Patrol Sergeant, Field Training Officer, and Training Unit Member, Unified Tactical Instructor (Professional Communications), Certified Instructor—Defensive and Arrest Tactics, Handgun, Tac Rifle, Tactical Response, Emergency Vehicle Operations, and Vehicle Contacts.


Finally, you’ve caught the suspect and now it’s time for you to “slap on” the cuffs.

This hands-on course details the different methods of securing the perpetrator.  Attendees handle and apply chain cuffs, hinged cuffs, flex cuffs, and leg shackles. Discover how quickly you can get them cuffed & stuffed.


Angel Van Noie, Wisconsin Department of Justice Certified Instructor—Officer Wellness, Constitutional Law, Defensive and Arrest Tactics (DAAT), Physical Fitness, Hazardous Materials, OWI/SFST, Tactical Response, EVOC, Scenario, Vehicle Contacts, Firearms, and Professional Communications.

Neil Dorner, 21-year law enforcement veteran, Entry and SWAT Team Member, Evidence Technician, School Resource Officer, NWTC Academy Instructor.

Homicide 101—The Basics Of Homicide Investigation

Everybody loves watching TV shows like CSI Las Vegas, but how authentic is it really? This class, taught by a veteran police officer, gives you the real story on the basics of homicide investigation, and break down what cop shows most often get wrong. The instructor is also a published author of over 45 books and will give you tips on how to make your fiction more realistic and believable.


Michael A. Black, Award-Winning Author, Retired Chicago Area Police Officer (Patrol, Homicide, SWAT).

K9 Emergency Aid

From missing persons to drug investigations to fleeing suspects, and even emotional support—K-9s have been a very important part of public safety for over 50 years! Unfortunately, there are times when K-9s have been attacked and suffered injuries. This course details how responding emergency rescue personnel and K9 handlers apply immediate medical aid to these valuable partners.


Lyn Schuh and The Operational K9 Medical Team of Wisconsin – Educators of K9 Handlers (Law Enforcement, Search and Rescue, Military K9 Teams, EMS Personnel and Firefighters) for Prehospital Emergency Medical Care for their K9 partners.

TI Training – Interactive Use Of Force Simulator

Police officers, as part of their regular duties, are faced with difficult decisions, decisions that offer no time for detailed scrutiny before reacting to the problem at hand. Often, when confronted with a potential deadly force situation, officers must perceive/identify the threat, evaluate the situation, develop a plan of action, and then set that plan in motion, all within a timeframe of less than one second. To put this scenario into perspective, a police officer’s reaction time (based on a study of 46 trained officers), when they already know the threat is there, AND, with their finger already on the trigger, is 0.365 seconds.

Still, decisions made by officers have come under increased scrutiny in recent years. This applies to not only to deadly force situations, but the apprehension of suspects, and even the decision to enter a building.

This gripping session places you, the “officer,”  in a variety of interactive situations where you will have to think  and react quickly to save lives and catch the suspects.


Jason Feucht Investigations Lieutenant. Fun Fact About Jason—Aside from his career in law enforcement, Jason had an on-screen role in the Public Enemies film starring Johnny Depp!

Vehicle Contacts

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


Mike Knetzger Certified Use of Force Analyst (Force Science Research Center) Patrol Sergeant (ret.), Certified by the Wisconsin Department of Justice Training & Standards Board to teach Victims, Defensive & Arrest Tactics, Firearms, Vehicle Contacts, Professional Communications Skills.

Jeff Steeber, Police Officer, Criminal Justice instructor at NWTC Certified by the Wisconsin Department of Justice to Teach Instructor Development (Master Instructor), Vehicle Contacts, Officer Wellness, EVOC, Firearms, Defensive and Arrest Tactics, Scenario, Tactical Response, and Constitutional Law.

Virtual Reality Police Training Simulator

The sheer unpredictability of calls and situations that an officer faces sets their job far apart from any other occupation—the person you believe to be a witness to a homicide may, in fact, be the suspect; encounters with individuals can quickly change from dealing with someone who’s calm and cooperative, to a person who’s combative with deadly intentions. To better handle all types of situations, from peaceful to life-threatening, academies use real-time scenario-based training, including virtual reality.

Participants in this heart-pounding hyper-realistic session use a state-of-the-art Apex Officer VR system that places them (virtually) into numerous environments and circumstances where they will have to think quickly to make the right decisions! This is the same training system used by law enforcement officers around the world.


Erik Walters, Public Safety Training Complex Specialist, Former Patrol Sergeant, Wisconsin Department of Justice Certified Instructor in Defensive and Arrest Tactics, Vehicle Contacts, Scenario, EVOC, Tactical Response, Physical Fitness, and Firearms.

2023 Writers’ Police Academy (WPA) registration is scheduled to open February 1, 2023. In the meantime, please visit us at www.writerspoliceacademy.com to view the schedule of events, a complete list of classes and instructor bios and photos, hotel information, the special Thursday afternoon session—Touch a Truck and Ask the Experts, and other details.

Reserve Your Room Early!

Hilton Appleton Hotel Paper Valley
333 W College Ave, Appleton, Wi. 54911

For reservations, call 1-800-774-1500 and Ask for the Hilton Appleton Paper Valley Hotel and the Writers Police Academy Block.

Click here for Online Reservations

The event begins at noon on Thursday June 8, 2023. It is highly recommended that you reserve your room from Wednesday June 7 – Sunday June 11 to take full advantage of the exciting activities.

Questions? Please contact Lee Lofland at lofland32@msn.com


To Our Treasured Sponsors

On behalf of the Writers’ Police Academy, I’d like to take a moment to personally extend a deep and heartfelt “Thank You” to the generous supporters who make it possible to produce this one of a kind, thrilling event for writers, readers, and fans.

 Without you, dear friends, the renowned Writers’ Police Academy would not be achievable.

And now, without further ado, please meet the heroes of the 2022 Writers’ Police Academy … our Sponsors.

Mystery Writers of America

Corporate Sponsor

Mystery Writers of America is the premier organization for mystery writers, professionals allied to the crime-writing field, aspiring crime writers, and those who are devoted to the genre. MWA is dedicated to promoting higher regard for crime writing and recognition and respect for those who write within the genre. We provide scholarships for writers, sponsor MWA Literacy programs, sponsor symposia and conferences, present the Edgar® Awards, and conduct other activities to further a better appreciation and higher regard for crime writing.

Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine

Corporate Sponsor

For over sixty years, Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine has been one of the foremost publishers of mystery, crime, and suspense short stories, offering mystery fiction of the broadest range and the highest quality. Home to many renowned authors, including Martin Limón, Jane K. Cleland, Loren Estleman, Rhys Bowen, and Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Hitchcock’s stories represent every subgenre of mystery fiction, from the classic whodunit to the hardboiled tale of suspense, and everything in between. AHMM has also introduced numerous new authors who have taken their places among the luminaries of the genre. Stories featured in AHMM have won dozens of awards, including many Robert L. Fish awards for Best First Mystery Short Story of the year.


Lisa Regan

lisa regan

Silver Star Sponsor

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

The Drowning Girls cover

“The Drowning Girls”

A knock on the door late in the evening can only mean trouble for Detective Josie Quinn, but fear chokes her at the news that the one of her own team is missing. No one has seen Denton PD’s beautiful Press Liaison Amber for days. Sweet-natured and totally dedicated to the job, she’d never let her colleagues down. A message scrawled on the frosted windscreen of Amber’s car leads Josie to a nearby dam. But the body they pull from the water is not Amber …

Denise Grover Swank

Denise Grover Swank

Medal of Valor Sponsor

Denise Grover Swank is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author. She indie published her first book, a romance mystery, Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes, in 2011. She has since published over seventy novels, novellas, and short stories as an indie and with five publishers. She is published in eight languages. She has sold nearly three million books to date.


“A Cry in the Dark”

A woman on the run with no one to trust.
With the ink barely dry on her new identity, Carly Moore just wants to disappear…but fate has other plans. Broken down car, next to nothing in her bank account, Carly is stuck in a Smoky Mountain town that time has forgotten. Drum is riddled with secrets and outsiders are eyed with distrust. Still, it isn’t until she witnesses a cold-blooded murder in a darkened parking lot, that she realizes she’s escaped one nightmare, only to land in another.

Mary Burton

Mary Burton

Commissioner Sponsor

Mary Burton is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling novelist, and is routinely featured among the top ten writers in Amazon’s Author Rankings for suspense, romantic suspense and thrillers. Her recent titles Don’t Look Now, Near You, Never Look Back, I See You, Hide and Seek, Cut and Run and Her Last Word consistently rank high on the Kindle eBooks bestseller list. She is the author of 37 published novels and 5 novellas. Mary has also published 8 works of contemporary fiction as Mary Ellen Taylor, including Winter Cottage, Spring House, Honeysuckle Season and the upcoming The Words We Whisper.

Kendra Elliott

kendra elliott

Commissioner Sponsor

Kendra Elliot has sold ten million books, hit the Wall Street Journal top ten bestseller list over a dozen times, and is a three time winner of the Daphne du Maurier award.

She is an International Thriller Writers’ finalist and a Romantic Times finalist. She grew up in the lush Pacific Northwest but recently spends most of her time on a warm beach, always wearing flip flops.


Stacy Green

stacy green

Commissioner Sponsor

Stacy Green is the author of the Lucy Kendall thriller series and the Delta Crossroads mystery trilogy. ALL GOOD DEEDS (Lucy Kendall #1) won a bronze medal for mystery and thriller at the 2015 IPPY Awards. TIN GOD (Delta Crossroads #1) was runner-up for best mystery/thriller at the 2013 Kindle Book Awards. Stacy has a love of thrillers and crime fiction, and she is always looking for the next dark and twisted novel to enjoy. She started her career in journalism before becoming a stay at home mother and rediscovering her love of writing.

Stacy is represented by Italia Gandolfo of Gandolfo, Helin and Fountain Literary Management for literary and dramatic rights.

She lives in Iowa with her husband and daughter and their three spoiled fur babies.

Melinda Leigh

melinda leigh

Commissioner Sponsor

#1 Wall Street Journal bestselling author Melinda Leigh has written twenty novels and sold over 10 million copies of her books. Her stories have been been translated into more than a dozen languages. Her debut novel, She Can Run, was an International Thriller Award finalist. Since then, she has garnered numerous writing awards, including two RITA® Award nominations.
Melinda holds a 2nd degree belt in Kenpo Karate. She’s dabbled in Arnis stick fighting, studied Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and taught women’s self-defense. She lives near the beach with her family and two spoiled rescue dogs. With such a pleasant life, she has no explanation for the sometimes dark and disturbing nature of her imagination.
Find out more about Melinda by visiting www.melindaleigh.com.

Patti Phillips

patti phillips

Commissioner Sponsor

Patti Phillips is the person behind Detective Charlie Kerrian at www.kerriansnotebook.com. Her second ebook, “Kerrian’s Notebook, Volume 2: Fun, Facts, and a Few Dead Bodies,” covers a wide range of law enforcement procedures and techniques. Ms. Phillips has experienced seven of the Writers’ Police Academies. Many of her stories and non-fiction articles are based on the interviews she conducted at WPA as well as the intensive WPA sessions and weeklong classes at SIRCHIE she attended over the years. Hundreds of Phillips’ photographs seen on her blog and around the internet attest to the fun and knowledge gained by all at WPA. Her book reviews can be read at www.nightstandbookreviews.com

Special Friends and Supporters of the Writers’ Police Academy

The Oak Ridge Boys

oak ridge boys

The Oak Ridge Boys have spawned dozens of Country hits, including Country-Pop chart-topper “Elvira,” as well as “Bobbie Sue,” and “Dream On.” In 1977, Paul Simon tapped the Oaks to sing backup for his hit “Slip Slidin’ Away.” In 2021, Mike Rowe(“Dirty Jobs”), John Rich of Big and Rich, and the Oaks teamed up to release the hit song “Santa’s Gotta Dirty Job,” which quickly reached the number one spot on the iTunes chart.

They’ve scored 12 gold, three platinum, and one double platinum album—plus one double platinum single—and had more than a dozen national Number One singles. During their career, the group has earned top honors such as Grammy, Dove, CMA, and ACM awards, to name only a few.

*The Oaks’ organization is a longtime supporter of the Writers’ Police Academy. In 2019, Joe Bonsall (on the left in the photo above), the lead voice on the hit songs “Elvira”, “It Never Hurts To Hurt Sometime,” and “Love Song,” joined several authors in writing a collection of short stories for the Writers’ Police Academy’s anthology, After Midnight: Tales form the Graveyard Shift. 


Joe Bonsall

joe bosnall

In addition to singing with the Oak Ridge Boys, Joe Bonsall is an avid writer. He published his first children’s books in 1997, The Molly Books, a four-book series. In 2003, Joe published G. I. Joe and Lillie: Remembering a Life of Love and Loyalty, an inspirational biography about his parents. His song by the same name was included on the Oaks’ Colors album and a music video of the song became a YouTube phenomenon with more than five million views.

Joe authored the text for the Oaks’ coffee table book, An American Journey and a Christmas story titled An Inconvenient Christmas, On the Road with The Oak Ridge Boys (2015), and From My Perspective (2010), a collection of commentaries, stories and other writings. He also wrote Sunshine Berkman, a short story in the Writers’ Police Academy 2019 anthology, After Midnight: Tales from the Graveyard Shift.

*Bio source and images – oakridgeboys.com

Kathy Harris

Kathy Harris is an author by way of a “divine detour” into the Nashville entertainment business. After graduating with a Communications degree from Southern Illinois University, she moved to Tennessee to work in the Christian music industry, a position that soon transitioned into what would become a long-tenured country music marketing career with The Oak Ridge Boys.

For several years, Kathy freelanced entertainer biographies and wrote, as well as ghost wrote, news stories and columns for various music publications. In 2007, she sold her first Christian non-fiction story, “Walk on Water,” which was included in Thomas Nelson’s All My Bad Habits I Learned from Grandpa. That same year one of her devotions was published in The One Year Life Verse Devotional from Tyndale House. She also contributed “Blooms of Wisdom” to the Chicken Soup for the Soul 2010 release Thanks, Mom and “He Who Laughs Last Is the Weiner” to the Chicken Soup for the Soul 2019 release Life Lessons from the Dog.

Abingdon Press, an imprint of the United Methodist Publishing House, released Kathy’s debut novel, The Road to Mercy, in September 2012. In October 2019, Iron Stream Media released Deadly Commitment, the first book in The Deadly Secrets romantic suspense series. Deadly Connection, the second book in the series, was released in October 2021.

An American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis finalist in 2007 and category winner in the RWA/Faith Hope & Love Touched by Love in 2011, Kathy was included in Family Fiction magazine’s list of ‘five new voices encouraging and challenging the modern woman.’ She was also a featured panelist at the 2012 Southern Festival of Books.

Kathy is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), the Christian Authors Network (CAN), the Country Music Association (CMA), the Gospel Music Association (GMA), the Academy of Country Music (ACM), and the Americana Music Association (AMA), and a former member of National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS). She is also a former board member of the Tennessee Committee for Prevention of Child Abuse and the Nashville Entertainment Association, and a former volunteer board member of The Book Club Network.

Like Joe Bonsall, Kathy Harris has supported the Writers’ Police Academy since its first year of operation. It is she who travels the streets and roads around Nashville each year to meet with country superstars to have them sign the guitars and other merchandise offered each year in the raffle and auction.

One year the guitar was slow to arrive, and it was because country music legend Kenny Rogers had taken it home with him to sign and Kathy had to wait for him to return it. Then she tracked down Dolly Parton, who added her name to the guitar.

International bestselling author Lee Child was high-bidder for a guitar signed by Keith Urban, the Oak Ridge Boys, Lady Antebellum, Brad Paisley and more. Who knew that Lee Child was a fan of country music!

Kathy Harris bio source and image – kathyharrisbooks.com

Writers’ Police Academy (WPA) Registration opens February 1, 2022, at noon EST.

Please visit the WPA website to view class schedules, instructors, special guests, venue, hotel, and other details.
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