WPA Donations At Work For GTCC Criminal Justice Students

WPA donations at work

I’ve been bragging for three years about the instructors at the Writers’ Police Academy, with good reason. Simply put, they’re second to none. And top-quality teachers produce top-quality students, right?

During the WPA, we only see the instructors in their various roles, teaching writers how to “get it right.” However, that’s only one weekend out of many. These dedicated educators spend the rest of the year in classrooms and out in the field teaching classes to criminal justice and crime scene investigation students, certifying and re-certifying police officers, and training EMS personnel and firefighters.

It’s a hectic and strenuous year, teaching first responders. Every detail has to be just right. No mistakes. None. Because the skills learned by these unique students are the skills they use to save lives.

In recent years, education budgets have been cut to the point where administrations all across the country worry about keeping the lights on and who gets laid off next. Needless to say, extra activities are totally slashed.

Well, thanks to the Writers’ Police Academy (that’s everyone who’s attended, and each of our generous sponsors, contributors, instructors, and volunteers) there’s a bit of light at the end of the tunnel for criminal justice students at Guilford Technical Community College (GTCC). Each year, WPA profits are donated to the criminal justice foundation at GTCC, and the funds are earmarked specifically for training and educating students enrolled in various criminal justice programs/curriculum. In the past two years alone we’ve donated a whopping $18,000!

This year, a group of criminal justice students had the opportunity to show of some of their hard-earned knowledge and skills, and I’m going to let GTCC Associate Professor Andy Russell (criminal justice) tell us about it. Those of you who’ve attended the WPA will recognize Andy from your FATS and pepperspray training.

Andy Russell

Hi everyone. I wanted to drop you a note about the Skills USA Competition that the Writers Academy donation funds are helping sponsor.

On April 24. 2012, GTCC students James Ziglar, Amanda Orndorff, and Kyle Szuts took First Place in the Crime Scene Investigation competition; they will be competing at the national level on June 26th, in Kansas City, Missouri.

Amber Kellam took First Place in the Criminal Justice Competition; she too will be competing at the national level on June 26th.

In the CJ Competition, the students handle a series of “routine” calls for service, which can vary from simple “assist a citizen” calls to the initial response to a death scene. We do not know the types of calls they will confront until the competition. The students undergo the test for about an hour. Then they face a mock oral board.

The CSI team processes a crime scene, documents it, produces a scale drawing, collects all evidence and packages it, all within 30 minutes.

The idea is to demonstrate the skills learned in their respective technical programs in high school and technical programs at community/technical colleges.

This will be our second year competing; we took first in the state in both competition last year as well (also funded with WPA donations). At the Nationals we took 4th place in the CSI completion and 9th in the CJ competition. We have a great team this year and with the experience we gained from last year we hope to be in the top three this year.

Again, I wanted to drop you a note and say thanks for the help (money).

We hope to see you guys this fall at the next Writers’ Police Academy.

I will let you know how we do at nationals. Here is a link to SkillsUSA, if you want to check out what it is all about!



2012 Conference – SkillsUSA

2012 Conference. SkillsUSA returns to Kansas City June 23-27, 2012 for the 48th annual National Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC), a showcase of


James Ziglar, Amanda Orndorff and Kyle Szuts took First Place in the Crime Scene Investigation competition

Amber Kellam took First Place in the Criminal Justice Competition

*By the way, Andy Russell is the person who started this whole ball rolling. It was he who arranged the first meeting between the WPA and GTCC. So a special thanks to Andy Russell for all his hard work.


6 replies
  1. Mary Brookman
    Mary Brookman says:

    Congratulations to the state winners and their instructors, and good luck to you in the national competition.

  2. Dave Pauly
    Dave Pauly says:

    Hats off to the entire team from the founder to the staff at GTCC, fabulous speakers like Katherine Ramsland, and the attendees! What a great event and outcome!

  3. Maryann Mercer
    Maryann Mercer says:

    Having seen them in action last year at WPA, I’m not surprised these men and women place so high in the competitions! I would want to have them at the ready in case I ever needed them! Professionalism and skill are not adequate words…there’s a passion there as well. Makes all the difference. Rock on!
    (And hopefully I’ll make it there again next year!)

  4. Elizabeth
    Elizabeth says:

    I’m truly pleased for everyone! Congrats to GTCC and major congrats to THE MAN–Lee Lofland!

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