Tag Archive for: Writers’ Police Academy

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

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


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

Another yes?

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

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

Alan Ritchson as REACHER

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

So here’s what we did …

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lee Child bio and photo

*I’m extremely grateful to Lee Child for his overwhelming support over the years. His extreme yet humble generosity is most often unseen by you, but will always be remembered by me.


Tami Hoag, the #1 international bestselling author of over thirty books, is GIVING AWAY two registrations ($515 value each) to the 2022 Writers’ Police Academy taking place on June 2-5 in Green Bay, WI. That’s right, she’s giving them away to two lucky people!

To enter the drawing type “I WANT TO WIN” in the comments below.

*Prizes cover registration fee only. Hotel, banquet, and travel are not included. Writers’ Police Academy (WPA) provide lunches at the public safety academy on Friday and Saturday. Breakfasts are included for WPA hotel guests. Winners to be selected by random drawing. Contest ends May 14, 2022 at midnight EST. Winners will be announced on May 15th.

Click here to view the exciting hands-on classes and other sessions offered art the 2022 Writers’ Police Academy.


Writers' Police Academy logo



Writers’ Police Academy
June 2-5, 2022
Green Bay, WI

The weekly REACHER Review has been delayed until next week because we’re in the process of moving the Graveyard Shift to a new server. Also, the site is undergoing a much needed major overhaul which will appear in the near future.

After 15 years of posting articles and thousands of images and videos, well, the website is the size of a busload of bloated brontosauruses on steroids, and moving it is a challenge. We may lose a few bits and bobs during the switch but everything was backed up this week so I don’t anticipate a major loss of information, if any.

In addition, our other sites—Writers’ Police Academy and Writers’ Police Academy Online—will also make the journey over to the new server. The Writers’ Police academy Online site should be in its new home shortly after the Graveyard Shift is settled in. The WPA website will transition after the June event to avoid any disruption to the registration process. Those sites are also under construction with their new looks to be revealed.

The exciting new Writers’ Police Academy Online website is undergoing a huge remodel and is designed to host both live and on-demand courses and classes, from daylong webinars and Zoom classes, to courses where you can learn and study the material at your own pace at any time of the day or night, from anywhere in the world where internet access is available. Courses will include videos, photos, case studies, how-to writing and publishing advice and tips from agents, editors, and authors, and much more.

So, until next week, after the server switch is complete, have a good weekend.

Thanks so much for your patience.

In the meantime, there’s still time to sign up for the 2022 Writers’ Police Academy. Please tell your friends, family, fellow writers. And please share the information to your social media. Thanks!


June 2-5, 2022

Location –  NWTC Public Safety Training Academy

Green Bay. Wi



Realism in fiction is important, when it’s needed and when placed in the proper context. The ability to weave fact into fiction is a must. But writers must have a firm grasp of what’s real and what’s made-up before attempting to use reality as part of fiction. Otherwise, the author is offering readers fiction as reality, and that’s a fact. Or is it fiction?

The above paragraph is as clear as mucky pond water, right? Well, that’s the sort of muddy writing readers must wade through when writers don’t conduct proper research before diving into to write their next story. For example, confusing a semi-auto pistol with a revolver, or a shotgun with a rifle. Those are the sorts of things that cause writers to lose credibility with their readers. A great example of this is in a current book I read a few weeks ago, where the main character racked a shotgun shell into the chamber of her rifle. Silly writer, shotguns shells are for shotguns, not rifles. Therefore, one does not “rack” a shell into the chamber of a rifle.

The writing in the book was absolutely wonderful … until I read that single line. At that point, as good as the book had been, as I continued to read I found myself searching each paragraph for more errors.

Anyway …

Have you done the unthinkable? Are there words in your latest tale that could send your book straight to someone’s “Wouldn’t Read In A Million Years” pile? How can you avoid such disaster, you ask? Fortunately, following these four simple rules could save the day.

1. Use caution when writing cop slang. What you hear on TV may not be the language used by real police officers. And, what is proper terminology and/or slang in one area may be totally unheard of in another. A great example are the slang terms Vic (Victim), Wit (Witness), and Perp (Perpetrator). These shortened words are NOT universally spoken by all cops. In fact, I think I’m fairly safe in saying the use of these is not typical across the U.S.

2. Simply because a law enforcement officer wears a shiny star-shaped badge and drives a car bearing a “Sheriff” logo does not mean they are all “sheriffs.” Please, please, please stop writing this in your stories. A sheriff is an elected official who is in charge of the department, and there’s only one per sheriff’s office. The head honcho. The Boss. All others working there are appointed by the sheriff to assist him/her with their duties. Those appointees are called DEPUTY SHERIFFS. Therefore, unless the boss himself shows up at your door to serve you with a jury summons, which is highly unlikely unless you live in a county populated by only three residents, two dogs, and a mule, the LEO’s you see driving around your county are deputies. Andy was the sheriff (the boss) and Barney was his deputy.

3. The rogue detective who’s pulled from a case yet sets out on his own to solve it anyway. I know, it sounds cool, but it’s highly unlikely that an already overworked detective would drop all other cases (and there are many) to embark on some bizarre quest to take down Mr. Freeze. Believe me, most investigators would gladly lighten their case loads by one, or more. Besides, to disobey orders from a superior officer is an excellent means of landing a fun assignment (back in uniform on the graveyard shift ) directing traffic at the intersection of Dumbass Avenue and Stupid Street.

4. Those of you who’ve written scenes where a cocky FBI agent speeds into town to tell the local chief or sheriff to step aside because she’s taking over the murder case du jour, well, grab a bottle of white-out and immediately begin lathering up that string of goofy words because it doesn’t happen. The same for those scenes where the FBI agent forces the sheriff out of his office so she can remove his name plate from the desk and replace it with one of her own along with photos of her family and her pet guinea pig. No. No. And No. The agent would quickly find herself being escorted back to her “guvment” vehicle.

The FBI does not investigate local murder cases.

I’ll say that again.

The FBI does not investigate local murder cases. And, in case you misunderstood … the FBI does not investigate local murder cases. Nor do they have the authority to order a sheriff or chief out of their offices. Yeah, right … that would happen in real life (in case you can’t see me right now, I’m rolling my eyes).

Believable Make-Believe

Okay, I understand you’re writing fiction, which means you get to make up stuff. And that’s cool. However, the stuff you make up must be believable. Not necessarily fact, just believable. Write it so your readers can suspend reality without stopping in their tracks to wonder if they should, even if only for a short time. If your character carries a rifle that accepts shotgun shells by “racking” them into the chamber, then you must devise a reason for that to become reality—your character is a wacky scientist who invented the new-fangled long gun, for example. Your readers must believe you and your characters.

Your fans want to trust you, and they’ll go out of their way to give you the benefit of the doubt. Really, they will. But, for goodness sake, give them something to work with, without an encyclopedic info dump. Provide readers a reason to believe/understand what they’ve just seen on your pages. A tiny morsel of believability goes a long way.

Still, if you’re going for realism then please do some real homework. I say this because you certainly do not want readers to barely make it halfway through the first chapter of your latest gem when when they suddenly toss it into my WRIAMY pile (Wouldn’t Read In A Million Years).

It’s sometimes painfully obvious when a writer’s method of research is a couple of quick visits to crappy internet sites, and a 15-minute conversation with a friend whose sister works with a man whose brother, a cab driver in Dookyboo, North Carolina, picked up a guy ten years ago at the airport, a partially deaf man with two thumbs on his right hand, who had a friend in Whirlywind, Kansas who lived next door to a retired security guard who, during a Saturday lunch rush, sat two tables over from two cops who might’ve mentioned a crime scene … maybe.

Please, if you want good, solid information, always speak with an expert who has first-hand knowledge about the subject. Not a person who, having read a book about fingerprinting or bloodstain patterns, suddenly believes they’re pro and hits the writers conference circuit teaching workshops. Sure, they may be able to relate what they’ve read on a page, however, those mere words are not the things writers need to breathe life into a story. Reading about bloodstains is not the same as standing inside a murder scene, experiencing the sights, sounds, smells, and emotions felt by the person who’s there in person. The latter is the true expert who can help a writer take their work to the next level, and beyond.

So, is there a WRIAMY pile in your house? Worse … have you written something that could land one of your tales in someone’s “Wouldn’t Read In A Million Years” pile of unreadable books? If so, perhaps it’s time to change your research methods.

A great means to assist in adding realism to your work is to, of course, attend the Writers’ Police Academy! Registration for the 2022 WPA’s 14th anniversary blowout is now OPEN! You will not want to miss this thrilling experience. It is THE event of the year! Sign up today, and please bring a friend!

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.
For details about how you, too, could enjoy the benefits of joining our beloved sponsor family, please click the link below.

With grocery list in hand and coupons arranged by order of item location in store aisles, it’s time to go Shopping at a Federal SuperMax Prison: USP Florence ADMAX.

As you pass by the deli counter you  remember back to just a few weeks ago, in December, when you’d often see Theodore John Kaczynski, aka the Unabomber (inmate register number 04475-046), waiting for the clerk to wrap packages of pre-cooked bacon and cheddar squares. But the COs rolled-up old Ted near the end of 2021 and shipped him to the U.S. Bureau of Prison’s Federal Medical Center in Butner, N.C.

Roll up –  Order by a corrections officer for a prisoner to move out of an area. Also, when a prisoner is transferred to another location, they’re often told to place their belongings in the center of their bed and roll the mattress around them. The bundle is is easier to carry than individual items.

“Jenkins, let’s go. Roll ’em up!”

The feds have been tight-lipped about why they shipped Ted to Butner, but it can only mean that he’s seriously ill. I mean, they just don’t take hardcore lifers from the SuperMax in Colorado, the “Alcatraz of the Rockies,” and send them elsewhere unless, well, it simply can’t be good news for Kaczynski. Butner is where Bernie Madoff served time and where he died.

Butner’s had a few other notable inmates, such as John Hinkley, Jr. the guy who shot President Ronald Reagan, and Joe “Tiger King” Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage. Exotic was transferred to the Butner medical facility after a cancer diagnosis.

So no, you probably won’t be seeing Ted at the SuperMax deli counter again.

After your moment of woolgathering passes, you decide to grab some pepperoni slices and jalapeño refried beans, because you and the fellas are planning a “spread” for Sunday’s game. Then you head over to the aisle marked “Soups” where you pick up ten packages of Ramen Maruchan Hot-n-Spicy. You already have a bag of Doritos. That’s it. Your portion of the spread is done.

The next aisle is where you spot Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving Boston Marathon Bomber (95079-038) who, along with his brother, killed three people and injured approximately 280 others. The pair also shot and killed MIT Police Officer Sean Collier during an attempt to steal his gun. You make eye contact with him, but keep moving.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev stares into security camera of federal courthouse / United States Marshals Service

While perusing the CHIPS aisle you stop to chat with Michael Swango, aka Dr. Death (08352-424). He, too, is planning a meal for game day, but I imagine he won’t see a single guest. Who’d want to eat anything prepared by this guy? After all, he killed five dozen of his patients, friends, and colleagues by poisoning. Nope. Not a bite of anything he fixes, Not even a single Pepe’s Pork Rind.

You’re about to say so long to Swango when up walks Robert Hanssen (48551-083), a guy no one wants to talk to. In fact, everyone snaps their traps shut the second that guy is within earshot. You know about him, right? No? Well, let me tell you about the rat. He’s the FBI agent who was a spy for the Russian and Soviet Intelligence Services against the United States, and he did it for TWENTY YEARS! Hanssen gave up big-time classified secrets to the Russians, including our nuclear war strategies. People were killed because of him. He was such a rat that he received 15 life sentences. And that’s why nobody talks to the guy.

Standing near the hemmorhoidal cream and stool softeners is none other than Joaquin Archival Guzman Loera (89914-053), aka El Chapo, the 5′-6″ leader of Sinaloa drug Cartel. He may be short, but he carries a lot of weight, and was giving ole Hanssen the big “stink eye.” It’s no secret that El Chapo doesn’t like snitches, so the double-crossing stoolie quickly moved along.

Seeing Hanssen always spoils anyone’s day, even if the sighting is only in your mind.

So it’s back to the reality of your concrete and steel, soundproofed cell, where each day you’re confined to 22-23 hours of isolation. Reality is where high security cells have two doors, a solid metal exterior door and an interior door constructed of steel bars. If you’re lucky enough to have an in-cell shower, water flow is on a timer to prevent inmates from flooding their cells. Like the single stool inside the cell, the bed is made of concrete. The latter is topped by a thin mattress. The stool has no attached cushion.

But this article is about shopping, not living conditions, so here are the real rules for commissary shopping at USP Florence ADMAX:

Since inmates are confined to their cells, to purchase items from the commissary they must submit their lists in advance of their unit’s assigned delivery days.

Monday – D&Z units

Tuesday – F&H units

Wednesday – J-A & K units

Wednesday – J-B units

Thursday – G unit

Friday – B & E units

Commissary lists (see below) are sent to the commissary and each order is delivered to the cells. There is a limit on the number of items inmates are allowed to order, and there’s a limit to the number of items inmates may have in their possession at any one time. No stockpiling.

Inmates at the ADMAX are limited to spending $285.00 per month. Postage stamp costs are not included within the spending limit; however, stamp purchases are limited to $29.40.

Shoe sales must have prior approval and the cost is deducted prior to weekly commissary sales.

Hobby craft items are permitted, but there’s a limit to the number of items allowed in the cell.

So, with those things in mind, HAPPY SHOPPING!

Commissary Slip

(Use your mouse to hover over the page and then click the arrows at the bottom left  to maneuver between page one and two)




Registration for the thrilling 2022 Writers’ Police Academy OPENS February 1, 2022. Be ready to sign up at 12 NOON EST! Registrations are first-come, first-served until the event is sold out!

Check back each day this week for details, schedule information, news, classes, Sponsor page updates, and much more!!

Become a Writers’ Police Academy Sponsor

Would you like to become a Sponsor of the 2022 Writers’ Police Academy? It’s a fantastic opportunity to showcase your books and other products through the WPA’s unique far-reaching worldwide community and networking environment, all while supporting THE most exciting event for writers.

Sponsor dollars help us keep registration fees at a minimum, which allows an affordable opportunity to attend for more writers, readers, and fans. Therefore, not only are you helping yourself and your colleagues, you are helping jump start the careers and dreams of others.

So please, visit the “Become a Sponsor” page and join the generous folks who support this unique event—Mystery Writers of America, Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, authors Lisa Regan, Denise Grover Swank, Joe Bonsall and the Oak Ridge Boys, Mary Burton, Kendra Elliot, Stacy Green, Kathy Harris, Melinda Leigh, and Patti Phillips.

Without our sponsors the Writers’ Police Academy could not do what we do.

We are grateful to each of you!

To become a WPA sponsor, please click below.

Become a Sponsor

For questions about sponsorships, please contact me at lofland32@msn.com. Type SPONSORSHIP in the subject line of your message.


The much-anticipated day has arrived. Yes, The 2022 Writers’ Police Academy Website is LIVE, and it’s your first look at the exciting lineup of hands-on training classes available at the 2022 Writers’ Police Academy. As always, we’ve assembled an incredibly outstanding group of top instructors and presenters who’re anxious to share with you their extensive knowledge and expertise. Classes offered at the WPA (Writers’ Police Academy) include actual training that’s offered in a police basic training academy, and in advanced level classes attended by in-service law enforcement officers and other veteran first responders.

These special training sessions are offered to you ONLY at the Writers’ Police Academy.

Fox Cities Exhibition Center

We’ve expanded our facilities this year to include not only the renowned Public Safety Training Academy at NWTC and all it offers—the Universal Driving Facility (UDF), Tactical House, Burn Tower, Jail Facility, Firing Range, and more—we’ve also reserved the entire Fox Cities Exhibition Center in Appleton, Wi., which will house an INDOOR display of various law enforcement and firefighting vehicles and equipment. You’ll have the opportunity to explore these vehicles and equipment, and law enforcement and firefighting experts will be on hand to answer your questions. All nighttime, Sunday morning activities, and registration/check-in will take place at the exhibition center, including the banquet, a meet and mingle with live entertainment, special presentations, and more. The exhibition center is owned by the city of Appleton, but is attached to our official event hotel, Red Lion Paper Valley Hotel, through a sky-walk.

We have gone beyond over the top to ensure that your experience is one you’ll not soon forget, if ever! We wanted to make the return to in-person training something quite special.

Due to the action-based nature of some of sessions, and for your safety and ours, we’ve slightly reduced the number of available spots at the event. This is to allow an appropriate instructor to student ration. You will need to act quickly to reserve your spot once registration opens.

The level of excitement will be high. There will be firearms, explosions, barking K-9s, gunfire, door-kicking, handcuffing, jail cell doors slamming, and patrol vehicles zipping through a closed driving course. You will be in the thick of it all. It will be loud. It will be and adrenaline-pumping weekend of heart-pounding, titillating, and absolutely electrifying FUN! Oh, and you’ll learn tons of information for your books along the way.

Also new this year, and it’s a real bonus, is the addition of WPA attendees earning continuing education credit and a certificate from Northeast Wisconsin Technical College.

As I mentioned, the 2022 lineup of presenters and speakers is stellar, beginning with the 2022 Guest of Honor, Robert Dugoni.

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


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

Next up are two fabulous, renowned special guest experts, Dr. Katherine Ramsland and Steven Spingola, whose captivating presentations will have you on the edges of your seats.

Dr. Katherine Ramsland 

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

Dr. Ramland’s presentation – Conversations with the B.T.K. Killer, Dennis Rader

*Dr. Ramsland has been with the WPA for many years.

Steven Spingola

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

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

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

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

Steven Spingola’s – The Spingola Files: An Evening with Steven Spingola

In addition are the 30 professionals who host and teach hands-on workshops and other sessions (not all are pictured).

And, three of our loyal and longtime special guest presenters …

Marco Conelli

Writer, Retired NYPD Detective

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

Rick McMahan

Detective, Kentucky Attorney General’s Office

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

Joe LeFevre

Joe LeFevre is a full-time police academy instructor in WI. His instructional focus is on investigations, forensic skills, and officer fitness/wellness. Prior to teaching Joe was a police officer, and had spent a few years involved with a volunteer fire department.

Due to the action-based nature of some of sessions, and for your safety and ours, we’ve reduced the number of spots at the event. This is to allow an appropriate instructor to student ration. You will need to act quickly to reserve your spot once registration opens.

Registration to the unique and thrilling Writers’ Police Academy opens February 1, 2022.

Please take a moment to visit the website to explore the 2022 Writers’ Police Academy, THE event of the year!


We are actively seeking sponsors for this event. If you’d like to support the Writers’ Police Academy as one of our treasured sponsors, please visit  the “Become a Sponsor” page on the WPA website by clicking here. Or, feel free to contact me (Lee Lofland) at lofland32@msn.com. Please type WPA Sponsorship in the subject line of your message.

WPA sponsorships are wonderful means to advertise you and work, or product. Sponsor generosity helps the WPA continue from year to year at an affordable rate for all. Without our wonderful sponsors the WPA could not continue. I thank you all so very much!

Exciting News!

The Writers’ Police Academy is pleased to announce the June 2022 return to in-person, hands-on training in Green Bay, Wi., at one of the country’s top law enforcement training academies. Registration for this action-packed, thrilling event often sells out quickly. Therefore, for the first time ever you’ll have a chance to secure your spot in advance. In addition, this offer includes a 5% discount off the 2022 registration fee.

Here’s all you have to do to take advantage of this incredible opportunity—sign up to attend 2021 MurderCon. It’s that simple!

Click this link to sign up for MurderCon.

Once you’ve registered for MurderCon, your 2022 WPA spot is automatically reserved at the specially discounted rate (5% discount off the 2022 rate).

Writers drive police vehicles in hot pursuit, then perform PIT maneuvers. THRILLING and HEART-POUNDING!

This offer applies retroactively to everyone who’s already registered to attend the 2021 MurderCon event!

Those of you who elected to rollover your Writers’ Police Academy registrations from the 2020 event that cancelled due to COVID, your spot is reserved for the 2022 WPA, at the 2020 rate. 

To claim your discounted rate, you must complete a new registration form. The 2022 WPA registration opens in February. Details coming soon.

In the meantime, sign up to attend the 2021 MurderCon, the ultimate training event featuring incredibly detailed and cutting-edge workshops. 

Click this link to sign up for MurderCon.

All MurderCon participants will receive a free mini fingerprinting kit to be used during an interactive class!











MurderCon sessions, taught by some of the world’s leading experts, have never been available to writers, anywhere. The information presented is typically for law enforcement eyes only./



*The exact days of the 2022 Writers’ Police Academy date TBD.

From the start of the Writers’ Police Academy over a dozen years ago, we’ve taken writers inside the typically closed world of law enforcement, forensics, EMS, and firefighting. We’ve introduced you to world-renowned experts. We’ve helped establish contacts between writers and experts, writers with agents and editors, and more. We’ve seen beginning writers grow, and we’ve seen seasoned authors expand their knowledge in ways that were once not possible.

It’s been a long and exciting journey, one that we’ve made together.

Our 2021 event, MurderCon, continues the tradition of delivering spectacular, unique classes. So without further ado … the fabulous 2021 lineup.

2021 Guest of Honor – Andrew Grant (Child)

Andrew Grant was born in Birmingham, England in May 1968. He went to school in St Albans and later attended the University of Sheffield where he studied English Literature and Drama. After graduation Andrew set up and ran a small independent theatre company which showcased a range of original material to local, regional and national audiences. Following a critically successful but financially challenging appearance at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival Andrew moved into the telecommunications industry as a ‘temporary’ solution to a short-term cash crisis. Fifteen years later, after carrying out a variety of roles—including a number which were covered by the UK Official Secrets Act—Andrew escaped from corporate life, and established himself as a critically-acclaimed author. He published nine novels under his own name, and in 2020 began a collaboration—writing as Andrew Child—with his brother Lee, to continue the internationally-bestselling Jack Reacher series.

He is married to novelist Tasha Alexander, and lives on a wildlife preserve in Wyoming, USA.


1. Rescue Your Characters from Sticky Situations: Fingerprinting Problematic Surfaces

Learn how experts process fingerprints on problematic surfaces, such as the sticky sides of various tapes, wet and/or textured surfaces, firearms, and more. Class includes instruction on forensic chemical processing and the use of powders and brushes to develop and capture prints. Attendees will receive training from one of the most knowledgeable experts in the field, who will lead the class in real-time, hands-on fingerprinting exercises using the kit supplied to attendees by Sirchie.

*All MurderCon attendees will receive the Sirchie kit in advance of the event!

Instructor – Andy Parker

Andy Parker has a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminology / Criminal Justice from Florida State University. He began his career in law enforcement with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. After seven years with FDLE, he worked crime scenes, analyzed latent prints and footwear evidence for the Tallahassee Police Department. In 2002 he began work with the City-County Bureau of Identification in Raleigh NC. At CCBI, he has held the position of Latent Print Examiner, Latent Print Section Supervisor, Deputy Director in charge of the Identification Division, Deputy Director in charge of the Laboratory and currently is responsible for the Investigations Division.  He is a certified Latent Print Examiner with the IAI. Andy is also a graduate of the FBI’s National Academy.

2. “Spatter” or “Splatter?” Have You Written it Right, or Wrong?

Attendees will witness the real-time creation of various bloodstain patterns, and then learn to recognize each configuration and how investigators determine where an injury or bleeding event occurred.

Former FBI Special Agent David Alford, a founding member of the FBI Evidence Response Team, presents the key information to each type of design and shape, and how the volume of blood, amount of force, and directionality of the force can form consistent patterns while still producing individual flares to each stain.

Combining this incredibly detailed training with their own observations, the class will understand how bloodstain patterns tell a story. This session is certain to help your stories zing with realism, including correcting an often-misused term. Is it Spatter, or Splatter? One is appropriate. The other is not.

Short Story Contest – Bloodstain pattern posters will be provided to attendees, who will then arrange them in their own unique order to build a crime scene. Then, when the plot begins to thicken, use those mysterious details to write a short crime story of 500-800 words to be submitted to contest judges. Prizes will be awarded to the authors of the top three stories. Contest to be judged blindly. Participation is merely a fun exercise and is not mandatory.

Instructor – David Alford

3. Solving the Unsolvable: The Pandemic of Murder Cases Across the U.S.

With over 17,000 murders in the United States each year, and nearly 40% of the murders going unsolved, a quarter million unsolved murders remain in filing cabinets and databases across the country. As a member of the Vidocq Society that specializes in assisting law enforcement in solving the most complicated murder cases, the instructor details why cases “go cold” and how detectives can become more efficient and effective at solving the most violent and serious crimes committed in the United States.

Instructor – Dave Pauly.

David Pauly retired from The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command as a Special Agent-in-Charge/Commander and Forensic Science Officer. He performed duties in over a dozen states, and frequently worked with local, state, and federal agencies. He also performed duties in Panama, South Korea, Afghanistan, Haiti, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey, Sinai, Egypt, Canada, Guam, and Nigeria. He holds a Master of Forensic Science degree from The George Washington University and is currently the Director of Applied Forensic Science at Methodist University, Fayetteville, NC.

David graduated the FBI National Academy (Session 195), Canadian Police College – Major Crimes Course, Miami-Dade Police Department – Bloodstain Interpretation Course, and National Fire Academy – Arson Investigation Course. He is a Fellow of The American Academy of Forensic Science, and is a current, or past member of the International Association of Identification, North Carolina Chapters of the IAI and FBINAA, International Association of Bloodstain Pattern Analysts, North Carolina Homicide Investigator’s Association, The Vidocq Society, American Investigative Society of Cold Cases (AISOCC), and various other professional law enforcement and/or forensic science associations.

4. Case Study of the FBI

She had a lot going for her—living on the Presidio of San Francisco with a gorgeous view of the ocean, a husband in the US Army, two sons, and a good path forward. Little did she know, on one February day, people stood outside her front door waiting to kill her. When she opened it, she was shot seven times, beaten, and stabbed. If she’d had any hope of surviving the deadly encounter, those expectations were dashed when her attackers slashed her throat, from ear-to-ear.

This presentation is the story told by David Alford, the FBI agent who worked the case. You’ll see photos of the crime scene, and you’ll learn about the FBI investigation which took four years to unravel the convoluted details. Was the victim’s killer an upset boyfriend? Her husband, or his mother who was happy to “take care of her no-good daughter-in-law?” Were others involved? It took another six years to bring four defendants to justice.

The bloody crime scene was preserved the entire ten years, remaining much like it was found the night of her murder. The break in the case came during a call from Fort Worth, Texas, when a host of participants and witnesses relayed various pieces of information needed to solve the case, including a string of arsons, a heartless nurse and mother, a new wife, a box of money, a map from Germany, and sex games used to eliminate one of the witnesses. Truth is indeed stranger than fiction.

Instructor – David Alford

5. Criminal Homicide: Viewing a Murder Scene Through the Eyes of a Seasoned Detective

Acclaimed homicide detective Jeff Locklear takes the class inside the barriers of crime scene tape, to a place where only police and medical examiners are permitted to go. This is a rare opportunity for writers to learn insider details of investigating suspicious deaths, and to pick the brain of a highly successful homicide detective who’s solved hundreds of murders, including high-profile homicide cases featured in the national media.

Instructor – Det. Jeff Locklear

Detective Sergeant Jeff Locklear, a 22-year veteran law enforcement officer, currently works with the Fayetteville North Carolina Police Department as a homicide police specialist and training officer.

As a homicide detective he’s been involved with over 350 homicide investigations. He’s also investigated hundreds of violent felonies including rapes, robberies, aggravated assaults, and missing persons.

During his career he has responded to hundreds to death scenes such as suicides, homicides, accidental deaths, and natural and unexplained deaths.

Detective Locklear has conducted thousands of interviews of violent offenders, including cases featured on 48 hrs (The Kelli Bourdeaux murder), Swamp Murders, NCIS – The Cases They Can’t Forget: The Holley Wimunc Murder, Scorned Love Kills 2014, The Today Show, and numerous other news and media outlets, such as People Magazine and Time Magazine.

He’s a founding member of both the 2008 Fayetteville Police Homicide Squad and the 2016 Fayetteville Police Violent Criminal Apprehension Team (VCAT). In addition, he’s served as sheriff’s deputy , Forensic Technician, Patrol officer , Crimes against persons detective, homicide detective, gun and gang task force detective, and as a Violent Criminal Apprehension Team Detective.

Detective Locklear has presented cases workshops at a number of conferences and events, including the North Carolina Homicide Investigators Conference, North & South Carolina Arson Investigators Conference , Fayetteville State University (Criminal Justice), Fayetteville Technical Community College (Registered Nursing students), Methodist University, and more.

Having spent the majority of his career investigating violent crimes, Detective Locklear has a unique and vast perspective of being the first officer on scene, the Forensic technician processing the scene, the detective investigating the crime, and the detective whose task it is to track down and capture the suspects who committed the crimes. He’s a dynamic speaker who can “escort you” to a crime scene, “walk you” through what happened, “show you” who did it, and then “lead you” to where the suspect fled after committing the offense.

Detective Locklear is married and the father of three children.

6. Forensic Toxicology: Poisoners Throughout History

An entertaining and educational discussion of the history of homicidal poisoning from the days of early man, down to the present, with case discussions of real poisoners drawn from criminal history. Also discussed will be the psychology of the poisoner, and poisons used by writers in their fictional works.

Instructor – John Trestrail, the “Poison Detective”

John Harris Trestrail, known as “The Poison Detective,” is a practicing boarded toxicologist, and for many years, was a visiting instructor at the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia, on the subject of murder by criminal poisoning.

Mr Trestrail is recognized internationally, as the foremost authority on criminal poisoning and murder by poison. For 33 years (1976-2009), he served as the Managing Director of one of the nation’s certified regional poison centers. He now serves as the Director of the Center for the Study of Criminal Poisoning.

Since 1990, Mr. Trestrail’s seminars on“Murder by Poison!” and “Poisoners Throughout History”, have been received with wide acclaim by audiences throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia.  Having presented over 300 seminars, he is a popular speaker.

As an expert consultant, Mr. Trestrail has served in many criminal poisoning investigations, to law enforcement and attorneys. He has been honored as a Fellow by the American Academy of Clinical Toxicology, and is a Diplomate, by examination, of the American Board of Applied Toxicology. Mr. Trestrail founded the Center for the Study of Criminal Poisoning, as well as the Toxicological History Society, and has been featured in multiple episodes on The Discovery ChannelThe History Channel, The Learning Channel, and PBS.

He was the project leader for the forensic research project that was able to resolve the key question in the famous British, 1910 Crippen murder case, using DNA comparisons with living exemplars, and took part in London, England, as a member of the research team, in the making of the PBS documentary “Secrets of the Dead: Executed in Error”, on this infamous poisoning murder case. He has been an active participant in the International Program on Clinical Safety, of the World Health Organization (WHO), working for the establishment of poison control services in the world’s developing countries.

Mr. Trestrail is the author of the pioneering book Criminal Poisoning: An Investigational Guide for Law Enforcement, Toxicologists, Forensic Scientists, and Attorneys, published by Humana Press, in 2000 (2nd edition in 2007). He is also one of the co-editors of the popular book Toxicology Secrets, published by Hanley and Belfus Publishers, in 2001. His third book The Poison Quiz Book(2nd Ed.), was published by McGraw-Hill, in 2006.

Graduating with honors, Mr. Trestrail obtained a B.S. degree in Pharmacy, from Ferris State University, Big Rapids, Michigan, in 1967, where he was initiated into Rho Chi (Pharmaceutical Honor Society). In 2010, he received the Ferris State University’s “Distinguised Alumnus Award”.  From 1967-1968, he attended graduate school, at the College of Pharmacy, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, majoring in natural product chemistry. Mr. Trestrail’s public service experience was as a Volunteer with the United States Peace Corps, from 1968-1970, where he taught chemistry at the University of the Philippines College of Agriculture, in the Republic of the Philippines.

He is a member of the following professional organizations:

  • American Academy of Clinical Toxicology (AACT)
  • American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC)
  • North American Mycological Association (NAMA) [Life Member]
  • Toxicological History Society (THiS)

7. Forensic Botany: Utilizing Plant Evidence to Solve Crimes

Forensic botanical evidence is relevant in high‐profile criminal casework and in circumstantial cases where little other evidence is available. When requested to assess the value of botanical evidence, a myriad of questions typically arise. A discussion of available scientific methods follows to establish how best to classify, identify, individualize, database and utilize this unique form of biological evidence. Case examples are often the best method for visualizing applications and fostering discussion with investigators. Two of the most fascinating cases I have been asked to participate in include a John Jay University student homicide where plant seed evidence was associative to the body, vehicle, and defendant (People of the State of New York v. Darryl Littlejohn); and an outdoor crime scene and clandestine grave where placement of botanical evidence and weather conditions were key controversial evidence regarding criminal intent and premeditation (State of Kansas v. Luis Aguirre).

Instructor – Dr. Heather Miller Coyle

Heather Miller Coyle is an Associate Professor in the Forensic Science Department at University of New Haven, a small private University located in West Haven, CT. She obtained her B.S. in In Vitro Cell Biology from State University of New York –Plattsburgh in 1986 and her Ph.D. in Plant Biology from University of New Hampshire in 1994.

Her work experience includes employment in the pharmaceutical industry (Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals; Ridgefield, CT) and the DNA unit of a forensic science laboratory (Division of Scientific Services; Meriden, CT). She is also a private consultant for DNA review and independent quality control of forensic laboratory casework on request and is court qualified to testify in six states and federal court.

Dr. Coyle’s research interests focus on touch DNA cases, trace biological evidence and DNA quality control issues. She is a science and technical writer who has published numerous scientific and technical peer-reviewed journal articles both independently and with University of New Haven student research projects.

She is also the editor of a textbook on Forensic Botany and a separate textbook on Nonhuman DNA; both relate to criminal casework and use of scientifc methods. Her consulting on botanical evidence includes assessment of cases such as the homicide of Imette St. Guillen (People of the State of New York v. Darryl Littlejohn), a double homicide with an outdoor crime scene excavation (State of Kansas v. Luis Aguirre), and the St. George’s County homicides (State of Maryland v. Jason Scott).

8. Mantracking: Hunting Humans

With thousands of fugitives going on the run each year it takes a dedicated, persistent, and competent “tracker” to locate and successfully return the most violent and dangerous felons to law enforcement to stand trial for their crimes. Taught by a world-renowned tracker, this session will provide details to add to your one-of-a-kind story.

Instructor – Kyt Walken

Kyt Lyn Walken serves as an official representative of Hull’s Tracking School and is the first female mantracking lead instructor at a U.S. school based in Europe. In Poland, she received instruction led by C.R.O.W. (Conservation Rangers Operations Worldwide Inc.) and was certified as a Wildlife Conservation Ranger.

Currently, Kyt hosts and teaches “ManTracking” courses across Europe, collaborating with Survival Schools, S.A.R. Groups, and with Ballistic Experts. She is proficient in Tactical Tracking, Anti- and Counter-Tracking, Strategic Movement, and Deceptive Techniques.

Kyt has trained Slovenian, German, and Italian Law Enforcement Officers, and members of Special Forces. She is a regular feature writer for prestigious US and UK based webzines whose focuses are Survival, Off-grid Living, and Prepping.

Recently Kyt has been entitled Directora de la Escuela de Rastreo Umano Carcayú (Director of the Umano Carcayú Tracking School) – Spain.

She is author of the Manuals “The Importance of Being a Tracker”, “The Urban Tracker”, “Tracking Compendium”(with Andy Martin) and “Jungle Warriors: The SAS In Malesia and Borneo,” available in English and Spanish.

9. Carolina Homicide: Case Studies of the South

Southern charm can be inviting, warm, and welcoming, but it can also have a dark side. Taught by one of the south’s finest detectives, Jeff Locklear, this session offers rare insight into homicides committed in the All-American City—Fayetteville, NC.

Nestled next to Fort Bragg, home of the Airborne Special Forces and Delta-Force, Detective Locklear and his fellow investigators have their hands full working cases that easily rival those of The Big Apple.

Instructor – Jeff Locklear

10. Forensic Entomology: Utilizing Insects in Criminal Investigations

Insects that inhabit human tissue in postmortem situations can play a valuable part in death investigations. In this class, taught by one of the world’s leading forensic entomologists, you’ll learn how experts use medicocriminal entomology to help determine time of death, establish the geographical location where a death likely occurred, link suspects to victims, and even offer a different source of toxicology and DNA evidence.

Instructor – Jason Byrd

Jason H. Byrd, Ph.D., D-ABFE, is an associate professor within the University of Florida Department of Pathology, Immunology and Laboratory Medicine and the associate director of the William R. Maples Center for Forensic Medicine.

In his capacity as a professor, Dr. Byrd directs programs in veterinary forensic sciences, wildlife forensic sciences, and forensic medicine. He has combined his formal academic training in entomology and forensic science to serve as a consultant and educator in both criminal and civil legal investigations throughout the United States and internationally.

Dr. Byrd specializes in the education of law enforcement officials, medical examiners, coroners, attorneys and other death investigators on the use and applicability of arthropods in legal investigations. His research efforts have focused on the development and behavior of insects that have forensic importance, and he has more than 20 years of experience in the collection and analysis of entomological evidence. He has also published numerous scientific articles on the use and application of entomological evidence in legal investigations.

Outside of academics, Dr. Byrd serves as a medicolegal death investigator within the National Disaster Medical System, Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team, Region IV. He also serves as the commander for the Florida Emergency Mortuary Operations Response System.

Dr. Byrd is a Board-certified forensic entomologist and a diplomate of the American Board of Forensic Entomology.  He was the first person to be elected as president of both the American Board of Forensic Entomology and the North American Forensic Entomology Association.  He has also served as President of the International Veterinary Forensic Sciences Association and subject editor for the Journal of Medical Entomology.  Dr. Byrd is also a fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences.

11. Committing the Perfect Murder – an interactive discussion of not getting caught

Modus operandi, Motive, Signature, Trophy, and X-factors are intriguing concepts to consider when writing the perfect plot. But pulling off the perfect crime is rarely accomplished by even the most prolific and intelligent of offenders. Attend this special session to discuss how to conceptualize the perfect murder!

Instructor – Dave Pauly


12. Trivia “Myth Busters”

Test your CSI and forensics knowledge. Is the information you see on television and film correct? How accurate is the crime scene technology, evidence processing, and police procedure seen in crime fiction? This informative panel discussion and Q&A will “bust” all common myths, mistakes, blunders, and gaffes.

A must-attend session designed to help writers eliminate embarrassing missteps in their stories.

Each registered attendee receives an official mini Fingerprinting Kit from Sirchie. The kit is to be used during the session called “Rescue Your Characters from Sticky Situations: Fingerprinting Problematic Surfaces,”
an interactive session taught by Andy Parker, a certified Latent Print Examiner with the IAI. Andy is also a graduate of the FBI’s National Academy.

Registration is open.
Seats at this virtual event are limited and are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
*Please direct questions to Lee Lofland at lofland32@msn.com.

Sponsors, The Heroes that help make it all happen. You can too!

The Writers’ Police Academy needs your support!

Each year we rely on sponsorships to help offset the huge costs associated with the high level of programming we offer. Sponsor dollars also assist in maintaining affordable registration fees for writers at all stages of their careers.

Yes, sponsoring the Writers’ Police Academy is a worthy cause, but it’s also a wonderful opportunity to showcase your books and other products through the WPA’s unique far-reaching worldwide community of thousands upon thousands of writers, readers and fans, television and film writers. There’s also the potential to reach audiences not typically within an author’s fanbase, such as the over 700,000 law enforcement officers in the U.S. alone. In addition are forensics experts, attorneys, firefighters, corrections officers and staff and, well, the list is practically endless. The Writers’ Police Academy is the ultimate means of developing previously untapped sources of customers and readers.

Sponsorships are also a vital part of helping the Writers’ Police Academy continue with its unwavering commitment to aiding writers in their quest to write “killer” fiction.

So won’t you please join us as a 2021 sponsor? I’d deeply appreciate it!

Several levels of sponsorship are listed on the MurderCon website. They range from the Hero Level to friends of the WPA at the other end of the spectrum. No amount is too small or too large, and every single dollar is much appreciated and very much needed.

The list of sponsorship levels and benefits is available on the WPA “Become a Sponsor”page. There, you may also select the level of your choice and then and submit the corresponding dollar amount via PayPal. Or, payment by check is also welcome.

Sponsors are featured and promoted on the WPA/MurderCon sponsor page, on social media throughout the year, and on this blog, The Graveyard Shift.

Please contact me with your questions at lofland32@msn.com

The Writers Police Academy, and the writing community, wish to extend a deep and heartfelt “Thank You” to each of our generous supporters. Without you, dear friends, this celebrated event would not be possible.

What is it that sets writers of crime fiction apart from, well, everyone else in the entire world? Could it be that …

1. The worst murder scene in the world pales in comparison with the thoughts roaming through your mind at any given moment of the day.

2. You actually do wonder what human blood smells like.

3. Somewhere in your house is a book containing photos of crime scenes and/or dead bodies. (Click the book!)


4. You want to ride in the back seat of a police car.

5. Your internet search history has a file all its own at the Department of Homeland Security.

6. At least once in your life you’ve asked your significant other to pose in a certain way so you can see if it’s possible/believable to stab, cut, shoot, hack, or strangle them from a variety of angles.


7. You own a pair of handcuffs, and they’re strictly for research purposes.

8. The cop who lives in your neighborhood hides when he/she sees you coming with pen and paper in hand.

sex in a graveyard

9. You attend more police training workshops than what’s required of the police officers in your town.

Lecture Hall – Writers’ Police Academy

10. While other people fall asleep listening to soft music or gentle ocean waves, your sleep machine plays the sounds of police sirens and automatic gunfire.

11. Your favorite bookmark is an actual toe tag from the morgue.

12. Writers in other genres listen to classical music while working. You, however, have a police scanner chattering in the background.

13. When using a large kitchen knife to chop vegetables, your thoughts drift to using an ax to dismember a body.

14. You see a cop and instantly know the caliber and manufacturer of the pistol on his side.

15. You’ve searched high and low for a perfume or cologne that smells like gunpowder.

16. You own a police flashlight.

17. Your screensaver is a photo of a police K-9.

18. The ringtone on your phone is the theme song for the TV show COPS.

19. You think you know more about crime-scene investigations than most of the cops in your city, and you probably do.

20. You’ve registered for 2021 Virtual MurderCon, a one of a kind event that takes writers behind the scenes to learn insider information about crime-solving from top forensics and law enforcement experts. And yes, we’re pleased to announce that spots are now available! So please spread the word.