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To add to the thrills of the Writers’ Police Academy’s 10th anniversary celebration, we are extremely pleased to make available to you, by SEALED BID, several exiting opportunities of a lifetime. One of those absolutely fabulous and unique offerings is a spot in the private weeklong, “law enforcement only” Crime Scene Investigation course at the elite Sirchie compound near Raleigh, N.C. (Two spots are available. The top two bids win – one spot per bid). That’s right, you will train and learn alongside some of the top investigators in the country! This course is not available to the general public.

To be the lucky winner of one of these rare and exclusive spots available only from the Writers’ Police Academy, simply send your bid to [email protected].If the link doesn’t take you to your email service, then please simply copy and paste the address.

Bidding is open to everyone and you do not have to present to win.

Good luck!!


*Sirchie is the Global Leader in Crime Scene Investigation and Forensic Science Solutions; providing quality Products, Vehicles, and Training to the global law enforcement and forensic science communities.

Course Description

Our Evidence Collection and Processing Training Program provides law enforcement professionals and crime scene investigators with hands on training using forensic tools that will help to execute the best crime scene investigation mission possible.

This class, commonly known as Crime Scene Technology, covers the scientific methods of collection, identification, evaluation, and preservation of physical evidence.  It is the perfect Forensics training for any investigator from new detectives to police officers with more than 25 years on the force.

You need to attend this program if:

  • You process crime scenes
  • You want to learn more about the latest forensic  and crime scene investigation tools and techniques used to process potential crime scenes
  • You want to find as much evidence as possible at the crime scene

COURSE CURRICULUM:

Crime Scene Management

The various types and categories of physical evidence are reviewed with the emphasis being placed on the proper procedures for securing the crime scene and preparing to collect evidence.

Fingerprint Theory and Classification

The fundamental principles of fingerprints are examined, including the basic concepts of ridge pattern development, identification characteristics and classification methods. Students will review latent print comparison methods with emphasis on understanding AFIS and modern latent print identification techniques.

Latent Print Processing —Powders

The proper use of oxide, metallic, magnetic, and fluorescent powders is discussed. Students will develop latent prints on a variety of surfaces including paper, glass, plastic, and even textured surfaces. Students will experience lifting powder developed latent prints using tape, hinge lifters, gel lifters, and Accutrans. Utilizing photography and light source for proper documentation is reviewed.

Latent Print Processing – Chemicals

During this segment, students will develop latent prints on porous surfaces, including paper and cardboard, utilizing iodine fuming, ninhydrin and silver nitrate. Students will review proper process sequencing for the maximum retrieval of latent prints and review the chemical principles of how they work. Cyanoacrylate (superglue) techniques for non-porous surfaces will be demonstrated also.

Crime Scene and Evidence Photography

Procedures and techniques are discussed and demonstrated for properly documenting a crime scene through photography. Also reviewed and demonstrated are key camera settings such as aperture, shutter speed, and ISO, as well as proper accessories and equipment for properly capturing evidence quality photos.

Controlled Substances Identification

Students will work with presumptive field test kits that offer screening of the most commonly abused drugs and narcotics.

Serial Number Restoration

Working with various metallic and plastic surfaces, students will restore obliterated serial numbers. Liquid and gel reagents are used in conjunction with the electron accelerator.

Firearms,  Ballistics, and Gun Shot Residue

Identification of firearms and the fundamentals of ammunition and its manufacture, behavior, and destructive effects is discussed. Fundamentals of gunshot residue, including determining proximity and presumptive testing for GSR are reviewed and demonstrated. Students will also be exposed to basic shooting reconstruction and proper documentation of shooting incidents.

Alternate Lights and RUVIS

The use of alternate light sources to identify evidence at the scene as well as enhance contrast with fingerprint powders and chemicals is reviewed. RUVIS, using the SIRCHIE Krimesite Imager, will be used to demonstrate a non-intrusive technique for discovering latent prints at the crime scene without powders or chemicals.

Biological Evidence – Blood, Fluids, and DNA

Students learn proper methods to locate, identify, and collect physiological fluid stains. Proper search methods including alternate light sources and chemical search methods including luminol and Bluestar are demonstrated. Students will also learn how to presumptively identify the type of stain using chemical reagents. Collection and preservation methods will be reviewed based on the latest best practices for DNA.

Digital Device Forensics Intro

Proper collection of digital devices, including computers and cell phones, will be reviewed. Students will learn the fundamentals, including data that can be extracted from these devices, the legal aspects of data, and ways to preserve data through proper packaging and Faraday techniques.

Footprint, Tire, and Toolmark Impression Evidence

Impression evidence types and their value in criminal investigation will be reviewed. Students will learn and experience methods for capturing footwear tread impressions, including magnetic powder development, electrostatic dust print lifting, and dental stone casting. Principles of footwear and tire comparison will be shown, including proper documentation for the lab and court.

* Students also investigate a mock crime scene as teams and present their findings over lunch on the last day.


Other sealed SEALED BID offerings are unbelievably exciting, and they include:

– Lunch with Lee Child in New York City
– A character name in Craig Johnson’s next book
– A guitar signed by the Grammy Award-winning singing group, the Oak Ridge Boys
– A Murder She Wrote script signed by head writer Tom Sawyer
– A character name in Stuart Woods’ next book

Please send you bids to [email protected]

*Photos and course descriptions ~ Sirchie

I am extremely pleased to announce that we, the Writers’ Police Academy, have once again teamed up with Sirchie (formerly Sirchie Fingerprint Laboratories – name change since the company offers so much more) to offer three unbelievably exciting sessions.

So why and how is this good news for you, you ask?

Well, Sirchie is sending instructors to the WPA to teach three over-the-moon fantastic classes. The super-cool aspect to this is that the information they’ll provide to you is not taught to the general public. This is typically for law enforcement eyes only!

Wow, think of the exciting details you’ll be able to add to your tales. It simply does not get any better than this. Please take advantage of this opportunity, if any way possible.

For those of you who don’t know about Sirchie, and every crime writer should …

Sirchie is the Global Leader in Crime Scene Investigation and Forensic Science Solutions; providing quality Products, Vehicles, and Training to the global law enforcement and forensic science communities.

Exciting sessions to be taught by Sirchie at the 2018 Writers’ Police Academy (writerspoliceacademy.com):

FRIDAY MORNING:

“Murder, Death, and Mayhem”

3-hour presentation on medico-legal death investigation covering the following main topics:
A. Manner, Mechanism, and Cause of Death
B. Various types of wounds
C. Homicide statistics and other relevant numbers pertaining to various causes and manners of death
D. A unique murder case study
E. The realities and competencies of CSI and homicide detectives/teams/agents/CSI’s

FRIDAY AFTERNOON:

“Taking Photos of a Ghost – Learning How to Photograph What Your Eye Can’t See”

3- hour hands-on presentation regarding photography in the visible and InfraRed spectrums. The presentation will explore the ability to take photos in total darkness while creating “ghost” images of participants as well as how to visualize a laser.

*FRIDAY EVENING SPECIAL PRESENTATION*

“The Wonderful World of Crime Scene Evidence – Blood, Impression Evidence, and the Little Things That Matter”

Sirchie will conduct presentations followed by hands-on practical exercises on the following topics:
· Find, identify, and Enhance blood patterns and prints
· Basic Crime Scene Processing Procedures/Sketching
· Identifying and collecting 2 and 3-Dimensional impression Evidence
· Macro Photography of Small Evidence

*Slots are available to the 2018 Writers’ Police Academy. Hurry before they’re gone. This is the 10th anniversary and it’s a blowout! See you there!

WritersPoliceAcademy.com


By the way, Sirchie is my go-to source for many aspects of crime scene investigations. In fact, they provided information and photos for my book about police procedure and investigation.

Especially for you, an O-R guide to fingerprinting … and more.

Oil Gland– Unlike eccrine and apocrine glands, which are sweat glands, the sebaceous gland is considered an oil gland.

Oligodactyly– Having less than the ordinary number of fingers or toes.

Orthodactyly– Fingers and toes cannot be flexed.

Ortho-Tolidine– A dual-purpose chemical that works both as a presumptive test for blood and has also been used to develop fingerprint detail on human skin.

Osborn Grid Method– Superimposing a grid on photographic enlargements of latent prints found at a crime scene as well as the inked fingerprints of a suspect(s). Scientist then painstakingly examine both, square by square looking for matching individualities.

Os calcis– A bone in the foot.

Osmium Tetroxide (Osmic Acid Fuming)– A fuming technique used to process items for latent fingerprints. Due to excessive costs and dangers associated with the product, it is now rarely used, if ever.

P.

PBFE– Probability Based Fingerprint Evidence.

Papillary Ridges– Rows of eccrine glands situated along the trail of fingerprint

friction ridges.

Patent Print– Fingerprints that are visible without development. (Latent prints are typically invisible to the naked eye).

Pathology– The study of causes, nature, and effects of diseases, trauma, and other abnormalities, and the changes to the body created by them.

Pattern Formations– Details of fingerprints created as early as the third month of gestation.

Pelmatoscopy– The scientific studies of the friction ridges of the soles of feet.

Pen Pack/Penitentiary Packet– A pen pack is the comprehensive imprisonment record of an inmate that’s supplied by the Department of Corrections. When fingerprints are included in the pen pack, and they are indeed typically found there, they’re used for comparison purposes. Other information found in pen packs are terms of confinement, background intelligence, and other similar details.

Perceptual Set – The tendency to see what we expect to see.

Phalange– Any bone in the fingers or toes.

Phalangeal– Of the bones in the fingers and toes.

Physical Developer– Chemical processing technique to develop latent prints on porous items. The technique was developed in the 1970s to develop fingerprints on porous items.

Pincushion Method– AKA the Constellation Method.  This outdated technique was used in the first half of the 20th century to compare prints and to confirm an identification. Investigators pushed pins through each of the ridge characteristics of both latent (prints discovered at a crime scene) and known prints (prints of a known suspect). They then compared the holes (from the reverse sides). If the holes on the latent print matched those of the suspect’s print, well, they had their man, or woman.

If you happen to have a copy of the April 1956 edition of Fingerprint and Identification Magazine, you could read more on the topic since it was featured in the issue.

Plastic Print– Fingerprint left in a malleable substance, such as clay or wax.

Points/ Points of Identification– Fingerprint ridge characteristics.

R.

RAM– Combination of Rhodamine 6G, Ardrox and MBD dyes. The mixture fluoresces when exposed to a special alternate light source, which in turn makes it possible to see prints developed using cyanoacrylate (Superglue) fumes.

RUVIS– Reflective Ultra-Violet imaging system that allows visualization of fingerprint detail in an ultraviolet spectrum. (see below for details and a video)

Redwop ™– A fluorescent fingerprint powder.

Rubber Lifter– A sheet of flexible rubber with adhesive on one side. Rubber lifters are used to “lift” latent prints.

Ruthenium Tetroxide (RTX)– Chemical used to enhance/see fingerprint detail on fabrics and other porous material such as some stones, leather, glass, tape, wood, plastics, and even human skin and wet surfaces.


RUVIS

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

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

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

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

Note – I doubt many of you will be picking up one of these devices for your home CSI kit. The price tag is between $9,000 and $22,000, depending the style of devise selected.

 

Here’s a video shot at the Sirchie compound near Raleigh, N.C. It shows the Krimesite Imager in action.

Those of you attending the Writers’ Police Academy, take note, because you are in for a surprise! Yes, space is available! By the way, the event is open to all (writers, readers, fans, and anyone else who’s interested in participating in a thrilling, hands-on training event) And, it is FUN!.

In the meantime …

 

I’m celebrating the June 5 release of PICKED OFF, the 2nd humorous Brie Hooker Mystery, with a drawing for a FREE Writers’ Police Academy (WPA) registration. You can enter the drawing anytime from noon (EST) May 15 to noon June 9. Rafflecopter will randomly draw the winner: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/92ed2c4c1/ 

 

So why this giveaway?  I dedicated PICKED OFF to my Writers’ Police Academy “family.” Since I started attending the annual WPA six years ago, each mystery/thriller I’ve written includes insights, inspiration and information gleaned at the Academy. Though PICKED OFF is a cozy mystery, it’s no exception. The WPA inspired its exciting drone chase and other scenes. (Want to read it? Here are e-book pre-order links: https://www.henerypress.com/author-lovely-linda ) 

This August will be my sixth WPA—five as volunteer staff. The WPA is a fabulous resource for anyone who writes or reads mysteries, thrillers or suspense. It’s the WPA’s 10th anniversary and Lee Lofland has pulled out all the stops to make it the best ever. As usual, it will be held at a real, internationally-accredited police academy. Instructors are the same folks who train law enforcement and EMS pros. WPA attendees can choose from dozens of courses and High-Intensity Training (HIT) hands-on training options that offer insight into the emotions law enforcement professionals experience in stressful encounters. Emotions you can share on the page to make your characters more real. 

For example, in Shoot-Don’t-Shoot scenarios, I had to make split-second decisions on whether I should fire my gun, knowing my action or inaction could cost lives. On a mock SWAT raid to clear a building, my adrenaline pumped knowing an armed suspect could lurk behind any corner.  

I’ve asked questions of a former Secret Service agent, an undercover cop, a psychologist who’s interviewed some of the scariest serial killers ever caught, plus experts in bioterrorism, gang violence, constitutional law…and the list goes on. To see the full WPA schedule for 2018, click on this link: www.writerspoliceacademy.com  

The 2018 WPA will be held in Green Bay, Wisconsin, from August 9-12. My FREE registration prize does not include hotel or travel.


To learn more about Linda Lovely and her books, please visit her at www.lindalovely.com

Are you having a bit of trouble with those pesky scenes that involve cops and their wacky shenanigans?

What’s that you say? One of the folks in your writers’ group said he could help because he was once friends with a guy who once dated a girl whose brother worked with a man whose wife went to school with a guy whose son married a woman whose father was a mechanic who worked on police cars and he said he heard cops talking all the time about crooks and raids and guns and stuff.

Don’t Listen to the Mechanic!

Well, that sort of advice may not be the most accurate in the world. Therefore, I suggest—

Ah, you want to experience shooting and driving and dusting for prints and all things associated with police work. I wholeheartedly understand and I have something that will definitely help you take your writing to levels you never imagined. So forget about the auto mechanic someone almost knew a long time ago and take a peek at this video. You’ll be glad you did (try watching in full screen mode with the volume switched on).
 


 

www.writerspoliceacademy.com
 
#2018WPA

Bloodstain Pattern Analysis (BPA) is the study of the shapes, sizes, and locations of bloodstains. The study also determines how the patterns and stains came to be distributed in the manner in which they’re found.

Here, for your CSI library, are a few terms to help the characters in your books sound as if they’ve attended The Graveyard Shift’s …

Homicide School

So sharpen your pencils, take a sip of coffee, and let’s begin …

Accompanying Drop– small blood droplet produced as a by-product when other drops strike a surface (potions of larger drops).

Altered Stain – bloodstain that changed since its original formation.

Angle of Impact – degree of incline/angle at which a blood drop strikes a surface.

Arterial Spurting Pattern – bloodstain pattern(s) caused as blood streams from the body due to pressure from a severed or punctured artery. Blood squirts from the wound with each beat of the heart.

Backspatter Pattern – a result of blood drops traveling in the opposite direction of the force applied, such as when a person is struck with a blunt object, or when flesh is penetrated by a bullet or other projectile.

Bloodstain – deposit of blood on any surface.

Bloodstain pattern – the grouping of bloodstains/droplets/smears, etc., that indicate the manner in which the blood was deposited.

Bubble Ring – circles, or rings, formed when blood containing air bubbles dries and retains the circular shape of those bubbles.

Cast-off Pattern – a bloodstain pattern that occurs when blood-drops are thrown from a blood-bearing object, such as when a killer repeatedly swings a bloody hammer.

Directionality – indicates the direction blood was moving at the time it struck a surface. The shape of the drops are good indicators of direction of travel.

Draw-Back Effect – blood in the barrel of a firearm that has been pulled/sprayed backward into the muzzle.

Drip Pattern – formed when blood drips into other blood.

Drip Stain – a free-falling drop that formed due to gravity.

Drip Trail – bloodstain pattern formed due to the movement of a source of drip stains (a bleeder, a bloody baseball bat that’s dripping blood, etc.).

Edge Characteristic – features of the perimeter of a bloodstain.

Expiration Pattern – bloodstain pattern caused when blood is forced, by air, from the nose, mouth, or a wound.

Forward Spatter Pattern – pattern formed by blood drops traveling in the same direction as the force that caused the spatter.

Bloodstain pattern investigation workshop – 2017 Writers’ Police Academy ~ RJ Beam, instructor

High Velocity Impact Spatter (HVIS) – pattern caused by a high velocity impact /force such as that produced by a gunshot or machinery—farm equipment, factory motors, gears, and mechanisms, etc.

Impact Pattern – bloodstain pattern caused when an object strikes liquid blood, sending smaller droplets in random directions.

Insect Stain – bloodstain resulting from insect activity.

Low Velocity Impact Spatter (LVIS) – bloodstain pattern caused by a low impact/force to a blood source.

Mist Pattern – pattern formed when blood is reduced to a fine spray of micro-drops due to the force applied.

Bloodstain pattern session …Dexter-style – 2017 Writers’ Police Academy

Parent Stain – bloodstain from which a satellite stain originated.

Point (Area) of Origin — The common point where the trajectories of several blood drops can be traced.

Pool – an accumulation of liquid blood on a surface.

Projected Pattern – pattern produced when blood is released under pressure, such as arterial bleeding.

Satellite Stain – smaller droplets that surround a parent stain as a result of blood striking a surface.

Saturation Stain – the accumulation of liquid blood in an absorbent material, such as bed linen or clothing.

Swipe Pattern – bloodstain pattern caused by the transfer of blood from a moving surface onto another, with characteristics that indicate motion/rubbing/swiping between the two surfaces.

Target – any surface onto which blood has been deposited.

Transfer Stain – bloodstain resulting from contact between a wet blood-bearing surface and another. Sometimes it’s possible to see a recognizable imprint/shape of the bloody object on the second surface.

Void – absence of blood in an otherwise continuous bloodstain or bloodstain pattern. Perhaps an object was there, in the area of the void, when the blood was deposited, blocking it from landing in that spot. Then someone moved the item afterward, leaving the clean section.

Wipe Pattern – created when an object moves through an existing wet bloodstain, altering its appearance.


** Attention Writers, Sponsors, Readers, and Fans **

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Writers’ Police Academy. That’s 10 years of helping writers “get it right” with actual hands-on police training.

We appreciate all the support over the years and we’re looking forward to the most thrilling and exciting event we’ve ever produced – #2018WPA. If you’ve ever wanted to attend the WPA, I STRONGLY urge you to do so this year. Openings are available.

Readers and fans are welcome to attend and train along with their favorite authors. Past attendees include Jeffery Deaver(2018 Guest of Honor), Michael Connelly, Lisa Gardner, Tami D Hoag, Karin Slaughter, Kathy Reichs, Christopher Reich, Lee Child, Lee Goldberg, Marsha Clark, Kendra Elliot-Boucher, Melinda Leigh, Katherine Ramsland and many, many more!

Again, If you’ve ever wanted to attend the WPA, I STRONGLY, WHOLEHEARTEDLY, urge you to do so this year. Openings are available … this year. Could be your last chance. I’m just saying …

The Writers’ Police Academy is pleased to present our 2018 Guest of Honor, International Best Seller, Jeffery Deaver.

A former journalist, folksinger and attorney, Jeffery Deaver is an international number-one bestselling author. His novels have appeared on bestseller lists around the world, including the New York Times, The Times of London, Italy’s Corriere della Sera, the Sydney Morning Herald and the Los Angeles Times. His books are sold in 150 countries and translated into twenty-five languages.

He has served two terms as the president of the Mystery Writers of America.

The author of forty novels, three collections of short stories and a nonfiction law book, and a lyricist of a country-western album, he’s received or been shortlisted for dozens of awards.

His The Bodies Left Behind was named Novel of the Year by the International Thriller Writers association, and his Lincoln Rhyme thriller The Broken Window and a stand-alone, Edge, were also nominated for that prize, as was a short story published recently. He has been awarded the Steel Dagger and the Short Story Dagger from the British Crime Writers’ Association and the Nero Award, and he is a three-time recipient of the Ellery Queen Readers Award for Best Short Story of the Year and a winner of the British Thumping Good Read Award. Solitude Creek and The Cold Moon were both given the number one ranking by Kono Misurteri Ga Sugoi in Japan. The Cold Moon was also named the Book of the Year by the Mystery Writers Association of Japan. In addition, the Japanese Adventure Fiction Association awarded The Cold Moon and Carte Blanche their annual Grand Prix award. His book The Kill Room was awarded the Political Thriller of the Year by Killer Nashville. And his collection of short stories, Trouble in Mind, was nominated for best anthology by that organization, as well.

Deaver has been honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Bouchercon World Mystery Convention and by the Raymond Chandler Lifetime Achievement Award in Italy. The Strand Magazine also has presented him with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Deaver has been nominated for seven Edgar Awards from the Mystery Writers of America, an Anthony, a Shamus and a Gumshoe. He was shortlisted for the ITV3 Crime Thriller Award for Best International Author. Roadside Crosses was on the shortlist for the Prix Polar International 2013. He’s also been shortlisted for a Shamus.

His The Starling Project, staring Alfred Molina and produced by Audible.com, won the Audie award for best original audiobook of the year in 2015. A serial novel he created and contributed to, The Chopin Manuscript, also won this honor.

He contributed to the anthology In the Company of Sherlock and Books to Die For, which won the Anthony. Books to Die For recently won the Agatha, as well.

His most recent novels are The Steel Kiss, a Lincoln Rhyme novel, Solitude Creek, a Kathryn Dance thriller and The October List, a thriller told in reverse. For the Dance novel XO Deaver wrote an album of country-western songs, available on iTunes and as a CD; and before that, he wrote Carte Blanche, a James Bond continuation novel, a number-one international bestseller.

His book A Maiden’s Grave was made into an HBO movie starring James Garner and Marlee Matlin, and his novel The Bone Collector was a feature release from Universal Pictures, starring Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie. Lifetime aired an adaptation of his The Devil’s Teardrop. And, yes, the rumors are true; he did appear as a corrupt reporter on his favorite soap opera, As the World Turns. He was born outside Chicago and has a bachelor of journalism degree from the University of Missouri and a law degree from Fordham University.

Readers can visit his website at www.jefferydeaver.com.


It’s an honor to welcome renowned forensic artist Carrie Stuart Parks as our 2018 Special Guest Speaker/Expert.

Carrie Stuart Parks is an award-winning, internationally known forensic
artist. She travels across the US and Canada teaching courses in forensic
art to law enforcement professionals including the FBI, Secret Service, and RCMP, and is the most widely known instructor of forensic art in the world.

Carrie’s novels in the mystery/suspense/thriller genre have garnered numerous
awards including the Christy, Carol, and Inspys. As a professional fine artist, she has written and illustrated numerous best-selling art books for North Light Publishers.

You can visit her website at carriestuartparks.com


 

This is our 10th anniversary so expect the largest and most thrilling event we’ve produced to date. The lineup is unbelievable!

When:

August 9-12, 2018

Where:

Northeast Wisconsin Technical College
International Public Safety Training Academy
Green Bay, Wisconsin

As always, there’s far too much to see and do in a single weekend, so get plenty of rest, wear comfortable shoes, and prepare to be blown away by THE event of a lifetime!

Hotel:

HYATT REGENCY GREEN BAY

333 Main Street

Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA, 54301

Tel: +1 920 432 1234

Shuttle service is provided to and from the hotel and airport.

Reservation code coming this week. Reserve your rooms asap. Space is limited!

Airport:

Austin Straubel International Airport
Airport Code – GRB
Shuttles are provided between the airport and event hotel.

Since the 2018 WPA is our 10th anniversary, we’ve pushed our own limits to take the 2018 WPA to a level of unbelievable excitement and heart-pounding action. You will not believe your eyes.

WPA melts the wall between cops

Cops are a unique breed. They dress differently. They speak differently. They’re in a class all to themselves, and it’s a “Members Only” sort of group where those on the outside looking in simply don’t understand what it is that officers do and why they do it.

Unfortunately, law enforcement is an operation that sometimes, to best protect us from harm, must do things out of public view. And that lack of understanding and wondering “what they’re up to” often leads to mistrust.

Some members of society reject any form of authority. Others distrust police officers because they’ve heard friends or family members say they don’t like cops. In some corners of cities, counties, and states, young children, even before they’re taught to read and write, are taught to hate the police. Then there are the bad apples of law enforcement who commit acts that go against the very meaning of their badge and oath.

Over time, and as a result of hatred and violence directed toward cops, police officers metaphorically circled their protective wagons in order to survive in a world populated by people who simply don’t like them. Actually, hate would be a more appropriate term in many cases. Unfortunately, the escalating hatred of police combined with the circling of those wagons transformed what was once a wedge of apprehension between citizens and the officers into a nearly impenetrable wall.

Yes, the wall is there. No doubt about it. But what many people don’t understand about the “wall” is that one of its cornerstones is fear—fear of abuse, fear of beatings, fear of racism, and even fear death. Yes, some people live their entire lives being deathly afraid of the police. And likewise, the police, too, fear injury and death.

As a detective in charge of certain operations I devoted much of my time attempting to tear down the invisible wall. I wanted people to know that police officers are human, that we do good, and that we were there FOR them, not AGAINST them. And I still try to convey that message through this blog and through my writings. I also had the same goal in mind when starting the Writers’ Police Academy several years ago.

I knew the instructors at the WPA were the best in the business at what they do, but when I received the letter below, I also knew the event had achieved far more than helping writers “get it right.”

Finally, after all these years, there was a crack in the wall. And I want to say THANK YOU to everyone involved in the WPA for merely being you. It is because you’re who you are that someone took the time to let me know the WPA had a huge and emotional impact on their life.

Here’s the letter (I’ve omitted names and locations to protect the writer’s identity and, please, if you think you recognize the author of the letter, keep the name to yourself).

Here goes…

Dear Mr. Lofland:

It’s been almost a year since I attended the Writer’s Police Academy in September and I am writing to share my experience during that weekend.

I learned about your Academy from a book on getting one’s book published (I don’t remember the title of the book) that I was skimming through in a Barnes and Noble store in early September of last year. Since I have no law enforcement background, I was looking for a way to verify that the information in the novel that I’ve been working on for some time is correct; that’s when I saw the piece on your Academy. I couldn’t believe it; especially since the Academy was being held in a few weeks. I quickly signed up and prepared to go along with my wife, my little daughter, and my mother-in-law.

The Writer’s Police Academy was a life-changing experience; but not in the way I imagined.

You see, I’ve never had a good relationship or opinion of the Police and I’ll explain why.

I was about 8 years old and it was a summer night in the mid 1970’s when suddenly I had a terrible cough just before going to bed. My mother is a praying woman and she taught us that when we’re sick God can heal us; so that night I asked her to pray for me. Quickly, the cough was gone and just before I dozed off into sleep I remember seeing the reflection of Police car lights on my bedroom wall.

The next day I awoke to find that my 16 year-old brother was missing. As my mother finished praying for me and I fell asleep, my mother saw the Police lights on the wall, too, and quickly ran to the window. Two policemen were surrounding my brother. What happened was that a car was stolen in my neighborhood and my brother was accused of being the person who stole the car.

My mother quickly ran downstairs and stood between my brother and the Police; the two men smelled of alcohol and their eyes were bloodshot. One Police officer pulled his weapon on my mother.

The owner of the car ran up to the officers and told them that his car was found by other officers and that my brother was innocent. One of the officers refused to let my brother go and wanted to take him in. My brother panicked and ran.

You see, we lived in the **** area of the **** and this was in the mid 70’s. Police abuse was rampant and crime and fires in the area were out of control. There was little trust in the Police from the community.

They shot at my brother as he ran down the park stairs and he was captured by other officers from three squad cars that suddenly appeared. They took him to the ******** and beat him to a pulp. My parents went to the precinct and were told he wasn’t there and had been released; it was a lie. Later on, the officers took him to an industrial area called *****, beat him some more and left him there in the middle of the night. My brother showed up at my house at 12 in the afternoon the next day.

Investigating officers reported that no such incident occurred and that one of the officers whom allegedly was present that night, whom my brother remembered his name and badge number, didn’t exist. An officer told my mother that she better get my brother out of the area or he would be killed by the police. She obliged.

Since then, my experiences with the Police haven’t been positive. There have been incidents in which I was treated well so I don’t want to over generalize but the bad has far outweighed the good. During the **** years, it was hell! I am of **** **** descent and although I am fair skinned, college educated and have worked all my life; I felt that I had a target on my back as I walked the streets or drove in the City. ….police brutality cases have only made me less trustful of the police. I have often wondered why I am even writing a novel related to the Police.

So, last year, when I went to your Academy, I was very uneasy. I was entering an actual Police Academy and was going to be surrounded by Police. I was nervous, apprehensive, and at times, felt like a hypocrite for even being there. But then the Academy started.

Friday morning began with a presentation on the Jaws of Life. The dedication and care for the public from the presenting officer just oozed out of him and impressed me. I then attended “Making a Lasting Impression” with Robert Skiff and David Pauly: I was blown away. The commitment from those two gentlemen to find the truth in order to protect the public blew me away. I slowly began to see that the Police weren’t necessarily out to get me but to protect me.

I then went to “Fingerprinting” and it was awesome. Next, I attended “Cold Cases and the Realities of Investigations” by David Pauly and Dr. Ramsland; this is where things really started to change. The openness of the presenters in sharing their knowledge was incredible. I could feel their passion and dedication to getting the truth and solving murders. More importantly, I could see and feel their humanity.

Friday evening after the Night Owl Presentation, I had to go to the Bar and gather myself. My head was spinning. Not only from the information I received in the classes but my emotions were everywhere. Then McMahan sat next to me in the bar and began to talk to me; my heart was racing and my palms were sweating. A law enforcement officer was sitting next to me and talking to me man-to-man. He is truly a gentleman. I found out he’s a dedicated dad and husband and I was humbled by his humility and integrity.

We were joined by David Pauly and Dr. Ramsland; they talked to me like I was a human being. You see, Mr. Lofland, in dealing with the Police in my past, I often felt less than human. David Pauly bought me a beer (please tell him I owe him one) and the four of us talked for a while. It was great. They are great people and their knowledge and dedication just blows me away.

Not long after that, Detective Conelli joined us and we had a brief talk; he was exhausted from his trip and needed rest. I couldn’t wait for his presentation on the following morning “Anatomy of an Undercover Cop”.

Saturday came and I was seated on the floor in Detective Conelli’s classroom (the room was full to capacity). He started out by showing a picture of “His Office” which was a building in the Grand Concourse in the Bronx. My heart stopped, I went cold, and I was almost brought to tears. I had been in many buildings like the one in the picture! He then showed us a picture of him while undercover. He had no weapons and was taking a huge risk in going into those buildings. It was during the Crack epidemic and I witnessed, firsthand, how it devastated neighborhoods.

Hearing Mr. Conelli talk transformed me. I began to see the other side of what it is to be a Police Officer. I began to see them as being on my side, for me, and not against me.

On Sunday, during the debriefing panel, I was struck by the Chief’s words and his assistant. I’m sorry but I don’t remember their names. They urged the writers present to write positively about the Police profession. They said it was very easy to portray cops in a negative light but we were witnesses that weekend to the goodness found among law enforcement professionals. I take that advice to heart.

On the plane on my way home I thought about my experience. I have a coworker whose brother is a **** Captain. I decided I would reach out to him in order to not only get information for my novel but most importantly, bury some painful experiences I had been carrying for many years. I realized that the experience with my brother had colored my view of Cops and I needed to change that.

Captain **** **** so happens to be the Captain of *** homicide. When we texted each other in order to set up a meeting, he told me he worked out of the ****! The same one in which my brother was abused. But the *** **** had since moved so I thought nothing of it. It turns out that the **** has indeed moved but the original building (in which my brother was abused) is used to house Captain **** and other administrative offices.

So, on a cold December night around 11pm I went to meet Captain ****. It was surreal walking into that building. I confessed my feelings about the Police to Captain **** and told him that if he felt uncomfortable with me that it was okay if he didn’t want to share and continue our meeting. He was very gracious and understanding. He confessed that the **** doesn’t have clean hands and didn’t have clean hands during those days in the 70’s in ***** but he shared his side of things.

I made peace with a lot of things that night, Mr. Lofland. It all started with your Academy and your gracious speakers. You have a very special thing going there. My mother would call it a ministry; something God-given.

My wish is that your Academy could be duplicated throughout the country and be used as a tool not only for writers but to bridge the gap between the Police and the communities in which they serve. I would like to see young people attend your Academies and receive healing just as I did.

I would also like to see you guys do a documentary on the Police. My vision is to have several Police recruits from several Police Academies from different parts of the country be followed from just before they enter the Police Academy to about five or more years into their careers. The documentary would show their everyday lives and their struggles and maturing process. I think the public would love it and gain a lot from such a program.

As for me, I don’t know if I will ever finish my novel or have it published. I am currently working on getting a Master’s of Social Work (MSW) so that I could work in the **** Schools helping kids in the inner city; kids much like me when I was younger. I can’t attend this year’s Academy because we can’t afford it and because of my studies.

However, I will forever be grateful to you and to Mr. McMahan, Mr. Skiff, Mr. Pauly, Det. Conelli, Dr. Ramsland, and all the others who were there last fall. I’m a better man for attending and am at peace now.

I am eternally grateful to you and to your partners. May you guys have the best Writers’ Police Academy yet and may God richly bless you and yours.

Thank you,

Name withheld


Details of the 2018 Writers’ Police Academy will soon be available. 2018 marks our 10th anniversary so expect the largest and most exciting event we’ve ever produced. It’s going to be BIG!

*Sisters in Crime is a major sponsor of the WPA.

My protagonist is former police detective turned college writing professor. (Hey, we have to have some stuff in common!) Because I share her disabling hearing loss but not her police experience, the Writer’s Police Academy is the perfect place to put myself in my character’s shoes.

I know TV is not the place to learn correct police procedure and even the best authors can make mistakes. Writers need to learn as much as they can so they write about police procedure correctly.

So what did I learn?

1. Police gear is heavy, bulky, and hot (and sometimes smelly).

Yup, it looks cool, but it’s bulky and heavy. Notice that that duty belt is mostly empty. It needs extra ammo, a night stick, extra handcuffs, extra pouches of miscellaneous stuff (like medical gloves and tourniquet), etc. These make the belt so bulky you can’t comfortably lean back in a chair or car seat – and female officers have to take the belt off to go to the bathroom. (Ask Tami Hoag about that.)

And it’s HOT. In the photo I’m comfortably dressed in shorts and t-shirt. In her patrol officer days, my protagonist would have worn long pants and a uniform shirt over that t-shirt and vest. Did I mention how hot that would be? The vest doesn’t breathe well so you sweat more. That means your t-shirt, vest, and even your uniform shirt become sweaty in no time.

Now imagine how hard it is to get in and out of a patrol car in all that gear, without snagging it on the seat belt, steering wheel, car door, etc. It impedes other movement too, like chasing bad guys and tying your shoes.

The equipment changes your stance, too. The first couple hours I wore a duty belt, I was busy trying to figure out what to do with my arms. I ended up putting my hands on my hips or resting them on the duty belt. Now I understand why some people find the cop stance threatening or intimidating.

2. But wait, there’s more!

(Photo by Angi Morgan)

In some situations, officers carry a Break Out Bag (BOB) with extra gear. That way if they’re stuck in a stand-off they have extra ammo, snacks, water, first aid stuff, cargo straps for hauling injured office to safety, and any extra equipment they might need. In this photo Matt Ninham is showing just a few things from that BOB: a mirror on a stick, a selfie stick (for looking in attics, etc.), a pry bar, first aid gear, etc. The BOB is carried on the officer’s non-weapon side. Yup, even more added weight. My protagonist definitely does her push-ups and weight lifting.

3. There’s MUCH more to training than you might think.

Need to use your night stick to get a suspect to back up? Don’t aim for the head!

(Photo by Annette Dashofy)

When searching a building for an armed suspect, can you walk quietly and safely using a roll-step? Communicate silently with your fellow officers? Go though doorways without whacking your weapon, duty belt, etc., on the doorframe? It’s a good thing my protagonist knows this stuff!

That doorframe probably has marks from my weapon and duty belt whacking it. The bad guys would definitely hear me coming.

Can you anticipate an attack?

This was an example of how fast a suspect could draw a knife and kill an armed officer.

Writers Police Academy 2017 Knife Vs. Gun

It’s one thing to read about that on The Graveyard Shift; seeing it in action is an eye-opening experience.

This was also a good example of other skills my protagonist needs, like dealing with Emotionally Disturbed Persons (EDPs) and having a basic understanding of languages used by local populations (like Spanish in Green Bay). Hmm, what language does my protagonist need to learn?

4. Practice, practice, practice.

I thought hitting a target on a shooting range meant I was a good shot. During Shoot/Don’t Shoot training I learned that hitting a moving target is NOTHING like hitting a stationary target at a range.

I also learned that If my life depended on drawing a Glock from the holster on a training duty belt, I’d probably die. Officers have to practice drawing their weapon tens of thousands of times so they can do it quickly and smoothly when their lives depend on it.

Shoot/Don’t Shoot training really gave me insight into what a shooting situation feels like. I knew it was just a training scenario and that I was completely safe but I felt my heart rate increase when the countdown started. (“Your scenario will begin in 5 seconds… 4…. 3…” Yikes!) In my second scenario I even experienced the stress-induced slow-motion effect. It was like the bad guy reaching for that revolver was moving underwater. (Too bad for him that all but one of my shots hit center mass.) I was so focused on being ready to shoot that I forgot all the other things I should have done like speak, move, and take cover. This give me a lot more to work with when I have to imagine what my protagonist is experiencing in a shooting situation.

5. So much to learn, so little time to learn it.

WPA is only four days. I’d love it if it were at least two day longer so I could take all the sessions. Here’s a smattering of what learned in the sessions I haven’t mentioned yet:

  • Handcuffing another student is much easier than handcuffing a training dummy.
  • Tasers don’t cause convulsions, drooling, or any of the other amusing affects seen on TV or in books. They do cause muscle stiffness and involuntary screaming but not permanent harm.
  • TASER stands for Thomas A. Swift Electric Rifle. (How cool is that?!)
  • You can leave behind touch DNA (from sweat and skin cells).
  • You can leave fingerprints behind even when using latex gloves. (Who knew?!)
  • Fingerprints can be recovered from the sticky side of duct tape, even if when two sticky sides stuck to each other.
  • Bad guys are more likely to give up when they see police dogs, even when the human cops are visibly armed.

I learned so much more about procedure, mind set of cops, interview and interrogation, etc. than I could possible describe in one short blog post.

After thinking about all I learned at WPA and how little I have in common with my protagonist, I’m now working on making her a more realistic, well-developed character. It’s working, too. For the first time, I feel like my character is telling me things I need to know about her, like what her name really is (which is not the name I chose for her).  Either I’m starting to get the hang of this writer thing or I’m becoming an EDP – and I have WPA to thank for it. I can hardly wait for next year!



Cathy is a college writing instructor at the University of Michigan-Flint. In her copious spare time she’s working on her first mystery novel and enjoys attending mystery writing conferences and the WPA. She can be reached at [email protected] or [email protected]

The 2017 Writers Police Academy marked the second time I was lucky enough to present This year I had the honor to present workshops on Blood Spatter analysis and Fingerprinting.

As usual, before I started my first session I felt under prepared. I teach these topics on a regular basis to folks going through police training. To get ready, all I did was take materials I already hand and cut stuff out to fit in the session time of just over one hour. Then self-doubt hit, I feared I had cut too much information and my sessions would run short.

Wow was I in for a surprise. In every session, I ran out of time! I forgot how many amazingly good questions WPA participants ask.

As an Academy instructor, there is always pride in hearing about former recruits doing good as officers. That same pride bubbled up every time someone thanked me for a tidbit they used in a story.

During the blood spatter class I was able to do a demonstration of blunt force trauma using a spatter head.

Blood Spatter/Investigation

One the points I made in class was saying there was a certainty unpredictability about what will happen during a bloodletting event. Body composition, hydration levels, and other factors can alter characteristics of blood. This proved correct with each session.

In the first session, fake blood was flung nearly all the way across the classroom.

Bloodstain pattern session. Dexter-style (photo – Ry Brooks)

In the second session, it only flew a few feet.

Regardless by the squeaks of joy coming from participants it seemed they had fun watching my dummy (who I call Daryl) getting his skull beaten in.

The fingerprinting sessions while less exciting provided some thought provoking questions. During the sessions, I told the story of Brandon Mayfield, a person suspected of a terrorist bombing due to an error in fingerprint matching. In each session, I saw eyes widen as if the story sparked an idea for writers in the room.

Both days went fast, and soon it was time for the banquet. Walking towards the banquet, I was stopped by someone who said they were a first-time attendee. She wanted to ask a question not covered in the sessions. It was about home life and the ability to see my children play sports if on duty. I enjoyed every question I get but overjoyed to spend time humanizing the badge.

It seems the human facet of cops is one aspect of the WPA that does not get enough attention. There are countless books, videos, and web pages to research police procedure. Until folks meet a few officers and honestly take some time to talk to us people never fully “get” police personalities.

My only regret from the weekend was not being able to attend any session. With teaching multiple topics multiple times a day, I never got to go sit in on any of the other sessions. Also, personal and professional responsibilities kept me away from most of the evening events at the hotel.

Hopefully next year I will be invited back to present again. Until then my inbox is always open for questions or feedback, [email protected]


RJ Beam is a Law Enforcement professional and author from Wisconsin. He has experience both as a firefighter and police officer. During most of his career, RJ served as an evidence technician, processing crime scenes.

In 2003, he started writing by launching his blog www.RescueHumor.com. Over the years RJ was asked write articles for various police magazines and journals. He has released two novels in his Stuart Thompson series, Fire Cop in 2015 and Cops & Stalkers in 2017.