THRILLING!! – 2017 Writers’ Police Academy Workshops

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The Writers’ Police Academy is the most thrilling event on the planet for writers.

It IS the adventure of a lifetime!

Over 50 specially designed workshops tailored to the needs of writers.

The four day, three night Writers’ Police Academy is indeed THE place to be for the best hands-on instruction that’s based entirely on suggestions, ideas, and requests from writers. That’s right, you asked for each of these sessions. And, as always, we delivered, and we continue to do so because the WPA is all about YOU!

For example …

You wanted to know what it feels like to drive a patrol car while in pursuit and performing a PIT maneuver. Done. Yes, YOU drive patrol cars while in pursuit of fleeing criminals, and YOU perform the PIT maneuvers!

You wanted to learn how to interpret bloodstain patterns. Done. (By the way, we’ve gone all out on this one. Yes, we’re introducing you to Spatter Head!).

You requested time on the firing range. Done. We offer live-fire with both pistol and rifle.

Tribal police? Done. In fact, the WPA takes place on the Oneida Indian Reservation!

Trace Evidence Collection? Done, in this hands-on session.

SWAT Entry? Done. You participate in SWAT explosive entries into “hard-to-reach places. Again, EXPOLSIVE!!


HIT Classes!!!

Here is the list of HIT workshops (over 700 available slots).

Emergency Driving
Shoot/Don’t Shoot Scenario
Handgun: Live Fire Training
Long Gun: Live Fire Training
PIT (Pursuit Immobilization Technique)
EMS Simulator
Traffic Stop/Drunk Driving
Building Search for Armed Suspect
Defense and Arrest Tactics
SWAT: Explosive Entry
Field Sobriety Testing


Wait, there’s MORE! Lots MORE!!

Here are a few of the sessions we have waiting for you in August!

2017 WPA Workshops

(a partial listing)

A show and tell of antique firearms and their modifications and functions.

Special Agent Rick McMahan leads a detailed discussion on the historical events that have been impetus to the nation’s guns laws. Also, legal commerce of firearms, and dispelling the typical gun myths so often seen on TV and in books.

Yes, there will be fire and smoke, and firefighters!

Gang culture, signs, symbols, and language

The science behind bloodstain patterns and spatter.

An armed robber is hiding out and it’s up to you and your team to go inside to capture him. A real nail-biter!

Learn the inner workings of the courts and the roles of the key players—judges, clerks, prosecutors, defense attorney, expert witnesses, Grand Jury, and more. Class takes place in an actual courtroom setting!

A combination of hands-on and discussion, this detailed workshop covers the reporting of the crime, the responsibilities of the first officers on the scene, preservation of evidence, evidence collection, the basic types of evidence – direct, eye witness testimony, circumstantial evidence, and physical evidence.

Walk through the scene to determine the type and manner of death and where the investigation goes from there. Hands-on investigation.

Techniques used to control behavior of cooperative and uncooperative suspects.

See and learn how these remarkable animals perform their duties.

Using insects as murder weapons.

How drones are used in law enforcement. Legal and privacy issues. Features actual drone flights.

Observe and discuss various types of drugs and their impact when ingested.

Experience the difficulty of multitasking while driving, observing, and communicating, and all while utilizing lights and siren.

Interactive patient’s life depends on YOU! Actual medical training.

Two veteran federal law enforcement agents discuss the realities associated with working as a federal agent. Who has jurisdiction over which crimes? Who’s in charge? What the heck do federal agents do? Bring your questions!

Dusting, fuming, and difficult to print surfaces are just a few of the fingerprinting techniques you’ll learn in this detailed hands-on session.

A heart-pounding, eye-opening, and extremely realistic session where you must decide, within a fraction of a second, whether or not to use deadly force.

Patrol officers, the backbone of all police departments, are often neglected or poorly portrayed in works of fiction. Learn how and why these first responders handle life and death situations, including shoot-don’t shoot situations. Also included are an examination of how cases are scrutinized by the media, Stop and Frisk, review boards, use of deadly force to stop fleeing felons, and more.

Learn the fundamentals of a Glock pistol. Become familiar with sight picture, sight alignment, stance, grip, and trigger control. Fire live ammunition on the academy pistol range.

Hit List – the list of HIT workshops

Investigations of illegal dog-fighting and cockfighting. Search warrants, warrantless entry, officer safety and more. An inside look at this horrifying and dangerous underground activity.

Incognito! Explore the undercover experience, from locked door drug deals to never trusting informants. Listen and learn about this heart-pounding, dangerous assignment from a retired undercover NYPD detective, whose vast experience will help you develop your stories and characters.

This class will give you an understanding of modern firearms, how they work and how to better use/describe them in your writing.

Legal requirements for K-9 searches of vehicles. Alerts, kinds of drugs recognized, training, and more.

How to write effective “bad guys” in fiction, including why you should eliminate morality from the equation. New ways of viewing characterization and how to open up ways in which to create truly compelling stories.

In this eye-opening session, renowned writing teacher, author, and … former prison “resident,” Les Edgerton, lays it all on the table – how “we” outlaws actually commit a crime. This from the man whose “specialty” was second-degree burglary, and armed and strong-armed robbery. This is learning at it’s finest from one of the best instructors around. Be ready, too, to have your funny bone tickled.

Learn the basics of the .223 patrol rifle, nomenclature, field stripping, fundamentals, and live fire on the rifle range.

When suicide is … murder. Learn how suicide notes help investigators find their true authors.

What is it that writers do that drives martial artists nuts?

Learn how police departments handle mental health issues involving both officers and citizens.

Romance, the Ferguson effect, how cops view the world, and more. Agent Roche spills all the beans!!

First it’s time in the classroom to learn details and information about mounted patrols, how and why they’re used, and about the stars of the show, the magnificent horses. Next, participants will head outside to see the horses and officers in action.

Experience the unique culture of the Oneida Tribe as well as the history of the Oneida Tribal Police and American Policing—not always cooperative.

Opening Ceremonies by Oneida Tribal Police, Oneida Nation Tribal Leaders, color guard, and dancers. The blessing of the WPA!

Details TBA

The effects and consequences on the officer, department, career and family.

High Speed Pursuit! You will drive the pursuit vehicle!

Behind the scenes peek at the inner workings of the Secret Service.

Learn how to conduct actual filled sobriety tests, and then implement them on actual drunk drivers. Yes, volunteers will be consuming alcohol (in a controlled, safe environment).

Each year we incorporate surprise sessions that are designed to excite the senses of WPA attendees. The purpose is to allow you to experience “events” that unfold in real time, just as officers and other first responders experience in the real world.

Ready, Set … Blow Down Those Doors! KABOOM! Yes, you and your fellow SWAT team members will learn to use explosive charges to gain entry into “hard-to-reach” places. This is the real deal!

This is a HOT one! An exciting hands-on FAVORITE session. Combat medical/officer down/lifesaving techniques – You are the EMS 1st responder!

Learn how the experts elicit information from serial killers.

Tasers will be deployed. Class participation is encouraged…if you dare.

Learn how a projectile behaves when it hits its mark and then transfers its kinetic energy to the target.

A veteran detective and a renowned forensic psychologist come together to analyze real-life cases and crimes from competing and at times collaborating perspectives. See how these two professionals come together to dissect the criminal mind and uncover clues to ultimately solve major crimes.

You conduct the traffic stop, and yes, drinking is involved, but not by you!!

This workshop provides background, knowledge, and understanding relating to the interdisciplinary connection among animal abuse to child, elder. spousal abuse, and domestic violence.
See you in August.
Sign up today at:
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Friday’s Heroes: Remembering the Fallen



Officer Keith Boyer, 53

Whittier California Police Department

February 20, 2017 – Officer Keith Boyer was shot and killed while investigating a traffic crash. The shooter, the driver of the vehicle involved in the crash, was recently released on parole and had just murdered another person a few hours earlier. Another officer was wounded during the exchange of gunfire. The suspect was also wounded.

Officer Boyer is survived by his three adult children and his parents.


Major Jay R. Memmelaar, Jr. 49

Goldsboro North Carolina Police Department

February 16, 2017 – Major Jay R. Memmelaar suffered a fatal heart attack while participating in department physical fitness training. He is survived by his wife and two children.


Officer Lucas Chellew, 31

California Highway Patrol

February 22, 2017 – Officer Lucas Chellew was killed in a motorcycle crash while in pursuit of another motorcycle. He is survived by his wife, daughter, son, a sister, and his parents. His father is a retired CHP officer. His sister also works for the department.


Deputy Sheriff Michael Foley, 60

Alameda County California Sheriff’s Office

February 23, 2017 – Deputy Michael Foley was struck and killed by a prisoner transport bus. He was a 37-year law enforcement veteran.

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The Poisoner’s Poison


Hugh Killdme let the spoonful of peas and carrots rest on his tongue. He closed his eyes, savoring the combined taste of his two favorite vegetables. In his mind, he pictured the green and orange delicacies as they danced and rolled in boiling hot water. He saw tendrils of wispy pea-carrot flavored steam shimmying and twisting up from the blue porcelain Rachael Ray pot to the gleaming stainless steel hood above the range.

Hugh shifted his thoughts to the basement freezer. He’d purchased the Acme Super-Duper Chill-Zero model from a close friend, an expert on refrigerators and freezers, who owns a local appliance store (Wile E. Coyote isn’t the only character in the world who knows where to shop for a good deal).

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The day after Acme’s number one best-selling frost-making machine arrived, he’d packed it to the brim with bags of frozen peas and carrots. Bought every single package within a twenty-mile radius.

Hugh alway got all warm and squishy inside when he heard his wife, Earline, say those three little words he so adored—“Dinner is served.” And say them she had, and best of all she’d said them on Peas and Carrots night at the Kildme household.

The second she’d uttered those delicious-sounding words, Hugh rushed to the dining room where he slid his Hush-Puppy-clad feet beneath the table and picked up the silver spoon spoon beside the molten-hot bowl of green and orange ecstasy. As he began to shovel those scrumptious orbs and blocks into his gaping piehole, he couldn’t stop himself. He was just so darn happy that, well, he couldn’t stop his lips from splitting into a very wide but lopsided grin. So wide, in fact, that several tiny, sweet peas almost tumbled out.

He was graveyard dead thirty seconds after swallowing the first spoonful.

The instant Hugh’s face crashed into his dinner plate, sending airborne little green pellets and perfectly cut squares of orange, his wife of thirty years scurried toward the basement to unplug the freezer, muttering along the way about never again cooking another pea or carrot as long as she was able to draw a breath. For that she was thankful. She was also thankful that the poison had worked so quickly. Not because her husband hadn’t suffered long, though.

Instead, she had plans to play Bingo at the Presbyterian church over on Save-a-Soul Drive, and to have her portly husband flopping around on the kitchen floor for hours would have absolutely ruined her evening. Probably would’ve ruined the shine on her brand new linoleum too.

Her mother always said things have a way of working out. She, too, went quickly … bless her heart. It was her affection for green beans that brought about her early demise. But, Earlene was, after all, in need of a new car and mother’s life insurance was just enough to care of it and the new Acme Fill ‘Er to the Brim Baby above ground pool in the backyard. Earline opted for the model 200xz, the really big one. Sure, it was more expensive, but …

Questions about poisons. I get them all the time, and the number one question that most often pops up is, “What’s the best poison a fictional wife could use (on her fictional husband) that would act quickly and be difficult for police to detect?” So lets dissect this one by visiting a very real high-profile case.

First of all, police officers probably won’t be the folks who detect the poison. That’s the job of the medical examiner and/or laboratory scientists. Next, to detect a specific poison the medical examiner would have to request specific testing for the substance/toxin/chemical/etc. A tox screen is not a one-stop-shop and does not detect most poisons. This is where the police can be a big help to the M.E., lab technicians, and scientists. For example, a savvy detective may notice a bottle labeled “Husband Killer” on the kitchen table next to the head of the deceased. If so, he/she would collect the bottle as evidence and report his/her discovery to the M.E., who would then order testing for the potentially deadly concoction.

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Another huge clue that sharp detectives should pounce on would be the fact that the widow works as a scientist for a bio-pharmaceutical company. And that’s sort of what happened in the case of Tianle Li, the Chinese woman who was convicted of murdering her husband, Xiaoye Wang. Her weapon of choice—thallium.

Thallium, a metal that’s used in electronic switches and some medical devices, was once used as a major component in insecticides and rat poisons. It’s basically odorless and tasteless. And it is well known as the “poisoner’s poison” because it is so difficult to detect in the human body. Thallium use as a pesticide was banned in the U.S. in the early 70’s.

Biotech and pharmaceutical companies are permitted to conduct research using dangerous chemicals, toxins, poisons, extracts, etc. That’s how Tianli Li obtained the thallium she used to murder her husband. As a chemist for Bristol-Myers Squibb, Li ordered thallium to research its effect on humans.

After receiving doses of thallium (how Li introduced the thallium into her husband’s body is not clear) Wang became ill with flu-like symptoms and checked himself into a local hospital, where he lapsed into a coma and died two weeks later.

Had it not been for a quick thinking nurse who’d read about a thallium poisoning case in China, Li would have gotten away with murder … the “perfect murder,” using the “poisoner’s poison” as her instrument of death. The nurse alerted officials who then conducted tests and indeed found thallium in Wang’s body.

So there you have it, my writer friends—two very important bits of information for possible use in your work (writing, that is). One – thallium is the poisoner’s poison because it is difficult to detect. Two – people who work in biotech and pharmaceutical research are able to purchase just about anything in the name of “science.”

By the way, it takes a while for most poisons to get the job done. Having your character go as quickly as Hugh Killdme is, well, fictional.


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Now for a true story about botulism, the cause of poor Hugh’s death. But this case, the true story, wasn’t murder, just an unfortunate accident that involved a woman, some green beans, and a home canning jar.

Canning jars have lids designed to exhibit a slight indentation in their centers when food is fresh. If the indentation inverts (pops up), the vegetables may be contaminated, and should be discarded.

A woman was preparing dinner for her family and decided to serve some of her home-canned green beans that evening. She picked up a jar of beans, but thought the pop-up didn’t look quite right. So, to satisfy her curiosity, she opened the jar, touched her finger to the bean juice, and tasted it. It tasted fine to her, so she cooked the beans and served the steaming hot dish to her family. The next day, the woman died, but her family survived. The beans contained botulism toxin, produced by the bacteria, Clostridium botulinum.

C. botulinum lives naturally in the soil.

Botulism toxin is one of the most powerful neurotoxins known to man. About 10 ounces could kill everyone on Earth. It works by paralyzing its victim.

Oh, why didn’t the other members of the woman’s family die? The toxin is inactivated by heat.

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The Graveyard Shift: Feral Dogs, Mannequins, and The Sandman


It’s four in the morning and fatigue is slowly gaining control of your eyelids. It’s a subtle move, like grasping the string on your grandmother’s window shades, slowly pulling them down. The Sandman’s gentle action is so gracefully executed that, well, you hardly notice it.

Thinking about your family asleep in their warm beds, you turn onto a side street and then into a narrow alleyway, trying to find a place to pull over. Five minutes. That’s all you need. Shouldn’t have spent those three hours today playing with the kids when you could’ve been sleeping. Still, that’s the only time you get to see them awake. And, someone had to mow the lawn this afternoon, right?

Oh yeah, tomorrow is the day you’re supposed to go to your third-grader’s class to tell them about police officers. How long could it take? One or two hours at the most, right? Well, there is the lunch afterward. Another hour. After all, you promised. Besides, it’s impossible to say no to those sweet brown eyes and minus-one-tooth smile.

Sleep. You need sleep.

Your headlights wash over the back of the alley as feral dogs and cats scramble out of the dumpster that sits behind a bakery like an old and tired dinosaur waiting for extinction. The knot of animals scatter loaves of two-day-old bread in their haste to escape the human intruder who dared meddle with their nocturnal feeding. A speckled mutt with three legs hobbled behind a rusty air conditioning unit, dragging a long, dirty bag filled with crumbled bagels.

You move on, shining your spotlight at the rear doors of a five and dime, an auto parts store, a barber shop, and the real estate office you used when buying your house. Only twenty more years to financial freedom and the joy of seeing the first AARP invitation-to-join letter in the mail.

The night air is damp with fog, dew, and city sweat that reeks of gasoline and garbage. Tendrils of steam rise slowly from storm drains—ghostly, sinewy figures melting into the black sky. Mannequins stare into infinity from tombs of storefront glass, waiting for daylight to take away the flashing neon lights that reflect from their plaster skin.


Desperate to close your own eyes, just for a minute or two, you park at the rear of the next alley, alongside a stack of flattened cardboard boxes. Their labels reflect someone’s life for the week—chicken, baby food, lettuce, disposable diapers, cigarettes, and two-dollar wine.


Four more hours. If you can only make it for four more hours…

Suddenly, a voice spews from the speaker behind your head, “Shots fired. Respond to 1313 Mockingbird Lane. Back up is en route.”

“10-4. I’m 10-8.”

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And so it goes. Night, after night, after night …


It’s believed by some that the graveyard shift (not this blog) got it name from people who accidentally buried their loved ones while they were still alive. Believing the “dearly departed” had gone on to their reward, these folks fitted an unconscious or comatose Uncle Bill or Grandma with a new outfit and a spiffy pine box. Then they buried them in the local cemetery where night workers claimed to hear the dead screaming for help from below the ground. When they dug up the coffins, they sometimes found scrape marks on the casket lids, indicating the person inside had tried to claw their way out before finally succumbing to a lack of oxygen.

To remedy the situation, caskets were fitted with a long string that reached from inside the buried coffin to a bell up on the surface. This enabled the “dead” person to ring the bell should he awaken after his burial. Workers could then quickly rescue the living dead.

It’s debatable as to the validity of this tale, but it makes for an interesting story, especially for police officers who have cemeteries to patrol in their precincts. This bell-ringing story may have also been the inspiration for early tales of zombie activity.

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The Prowler: Page 99 of My Spiral Notebooks

2 a.m.


Whirling, swirling.


Lone bat.

Looping, swooping.

Frogs, crickets.

Train whistle, far away.

Radio crackles,

In still, night air.

Prowler complaint.

Noise outside window.

“I’ll take it.”




Front porch light.

Moth. Flittering, fluttering.





Curtain, lace.


Leaves ticking, clicking across weathered floorboards.

Porch swing.

Rusted chain.


Door swings slowly inward.

Just a crack.

Yellow light.

A sliver,

Pours outside.

Tiny face,

Crinkled with days long since passed.

“I heard them again, Officer.”

“Yes, Ma’am.”

Wet, anxious eyes.

Faded gray with time.

“They were at the window, like before.”

“I’ll check around back.”

“You’re too kind.”

“I wish my Bill was still here.”

“I know.”

“He’s been gone ten years this week.”

“A good man.”

“Thank you.”


“It’s fresh.”

“Yes, Ma’am.”

“Two sugars and a little cream, right?”

“Yes, Ma’am.”

“Be right back.”




Neighbor’s house, dark.

Heating unit, humming.

Rattles, stops.




Two minutes.


Kitchen window.

Full coffee pot.

Silver tray.





For two.

Screen door,



“Everything’s okay.”

“Yes, I do feel better now.”

Warm smells.


Fresh bread,


“It’s just with Bill gone …”

“I know.”

A glance,


Wall clock,


A sigh.

A tear.


Tick, tick, tick.

“Would you mind if I sat for a minute?”

A sniffle.

“I’m tired, and really shouldn’t drive.”

“How would that look?”

“A cop asleep at the wheel.”

A smile.


Just like last night.

And the night before.

And the night before.

At 2 a.m.

Ten years after her Bill passed away.

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Times Are Changing: Buy Your Villain A New Weapon


Are the villains in your tales growing weary of having to choose from a limited supply of murder weapons? Do you hear them sigh each time you type the words Glock, Oleander, chainsaw, wood chipper, candlestick, and severed gas and/or brake lines? Who can blame them for their dismay? After all, for decades now they’ve reached into their toolboxes to find the same old tired instruments of death, time and time again.

Well, thanks to a handful of computer geeks and hackers, your bad guys will soon have a new method of “whacking” the cleverly-crafted characters you’ve designated for the grave. Now, instead of having to chop, hack, shoot, and slice, killers can keep their hands spotlessly clean while tending to their evil business.

How will they do it, you ask? Okay, imagine this … your evil-doer, I. Stoppa Uhart, is on a tight schedule, needing to kill several people before the noon hour. So he whips out his handy-dandy, hand-held pocket computer, otherwise known as a cellphone. He sets a special app to the scan mode. And … presto! He’s located three people nearby who’re connected to insulin pumps. He pushes a few touchscreen buttons and … WHAM! The pumps each deliver a lethal dose of insulin to the unsuspecting victims. The murderer switches off the device and goes on to his next appointment … the hospital trauma ward where there should be plenty of morphine drips.

The best part of the whole deal (for the killer) is that there’s no physical evidence to tie him to the murder—no fingerprints, no trace evidence, no shell casings, no murder weapon … nothing.

Across town, Uhart’s first cousin and partner in crime, I. Maka Ubleed, is standing by at the freeway, ready to switch on a hacking program that would soon give him control of the on-board computers regulating the systems of nearly every passing vehicle. His button-pushing-finger, poised and ready to act, trembled slightly as it hovered above the bright red key marked “Press Here For Death And Destruction.” Yes, in just a few minutes there’d be a massive auto crash and countless deaths and injuries.

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Sound like fantasy to you? Well, it’s not. The hacking of these types of programs is relatively easy to accomplish with technology that’s readily available. And, if hackers already have the ability to control our medicine and our vehicles, what’s next? Our food and water supply, power grids, and … no, not that. Not our Kindles!

It’s true, folks. The day may soon come when a band of evil hackers decide to gain control over all e-readers, and that would surely mean certain and instant death for us all. Either that, or we might be forced to do the unthinkable … buy and read real books. What a “novel” idea …


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