Vehicle Stops: Day Two At The Writers Police Academy

flashing blue lights


You’ve all seen the flashing lights of a patrol car as it zoomed by, right? Hearing sirens blare those eerie wailing sounds causes most drivers to immediately swerve to the side of the road. But what’s it really like to sit behind the wheel of one of those souped-up black and whites?

Many writers have had the unique experience to listen to cops describe their feelings during those moments when they’re racing to a crime scene. Some writers have also attended citizens police academies to get an even closer feel of what police work is all about. But there’s nothing like climbing in the driver’s seat, buckling up, punching all the buttons, and then use the in-car PA system to command suspects to surrender.

Rebekah Aidukaitis commanded a suspect vehicle to pull over at the next exit.

Photo from Write Out of the Ordinary

Well, the lucky folks who attended the Writers Police Academy last weekend got to experience tons of behind the scenes police activities. We also showed them what it was like to be on the business end of a patrol car and police weapons held by officers who were determined to arrest a car load of dangerous thugs.

Verna Dreisbach (Dreisbach Literary Management) and I played the part of two bad guys who were out whooping it up after committing a robbery. Our passenger (one of our partners in crime) was played by conference attendee Trudy Brandenberg. Poor Trudy had no idea what she ‘d gotten herself into when she ageed to join our gang.

As the conference-goers lined the sidewalks in front of Miami University, I drove our getaway car into the lot – music blaring with Verna “Yee-hawing” to the top of her lungs. Trudy added a few mock drunken yelps of her own to our caterwauling.

We were quickly spotted by a pair of patrol cops (Lt. Dave Swords and Public Affairs Officer Dave Crawford) who quickly pulled in behind us and immediately attempted to stop our car. Well, we were having none of that. I hit the gas and led the officers on a brief high-speed chase, sliding through a series of left and right turns, ducking through parked cars (we’re talking speeds of 40-50mph in a parking lot). But my tiny rental car was no match for the power of the patrol car and the skill of the driver, because he soon stopped me in front of the line of excited conference attendees.

Oh, I forgot to mention that we purposely neglected to tell Trudy (our passenger) the part about the pursuit. I thought it might be more fun if she simply found out the moment when I shoved the gas pedal to the floor. The look on her face when the car leapt into action was priceless!

This is the point where folks got a first hand look at the dangers of situations like this one faced by officers every day. We were armed, we’d just committed a robbery, we had drugs in the car, and we were not complying with the officers commands. But they remained calm, got us out of the car at gunpoint, and finally slapped the cuffs on each of us. Including poor Trudy.

Officers finally get our vehicle stopped and then ordered us out of the car with our hands up.

Keeping three uncooperative robbery suspects covered  is an extremely tense situation.

Lt. Dave Swords handcuffs the the driver of the car while Officer Dave Crawford keeps the very dangerous Verna Dreisbach covered. Verna was not at all cooperative. She also had a 9mm concealed in the waistband of her jeans.

Officer Dave Crawford aims his shotgun at the notorious Trudy Brandenburg. Not exactly Trudy’s best angle. She was a great sport!

After the exercise Officer Crawford answered questions and  discussed the procedure for high-risk traffic stops.

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