Friday’s Heroes: Remembering the Fallen



Deputy Sheriff Michael Butler, 39

Lowndes county Georgia Sheriff’s Office

February 25, 2017 – Deputy Michael Butler was killed in a crash with a semi truck while responding to domestic violence call. The truck crossed the center line and Deputy Butler had no chance of avoiding the collision. The driver of the truck stopped and pulled Deputy Butler from his burning patrol car, but it was too late to save him.


Special Agent Ricky O’Donald, 54

Federal Bureau of Investigation

February 17, 2017 – Agent Ricky O’Donald suffered a fatal heart attack subsequent to completing the agency’s physical assessment testing.

He is survived by his wife and daughter.


Deputy Sergeant Kevin Haverly, 26

Greene County New York Sheriff’s Office

February 28, 2017 – Deputy Sergeant Kevin Haverly was killed in a car crash. It was at the end of a graveyard shift when his patrol vehicle left the roadway and struck a utility pole.

He is survived by his wife, three children, mother, and sister.

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Furloughs: Everyone Needs A Vacation, Even Prison Inmates

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Thursday nights were for doing laundry, letter writing, and shoe-shining. However, the Thursday night of this particular week was a bit different because the next day was the first of a three-day furlough for inmate I. Dunnit #64312-123

Dunnit was 13 months into a 24 month sentence in federal prison for providing false information to the IRS. He’d been a model inmate since the first day he set foot in the camp located in the California desert. Working as a tool room clerk, he earned the top bonus pay of $.40 per hour on top of his $.12 per hour base salary. He attended regular Toastmasters meetings, sang in the prison choir that occasionally performed in local churches, including the one attended by the warden and his family, and he played on the tennis team that regularly crushed the local Jaycee team whenever they visited the prison to play a friendly match or two on the institution’s top-notch courts.

Getting a furlough approved was a long shot, but not impossible. Still, Dunnit’s counselor, Harry Pitts, a portly man with a set of jowls that hung from the sides of his face like a pair of cheap drapes, thought he could make it happen. Pitts was a kind man who saw a little good in everyone, especially in inmate I. Dunnit, and to secure Dunnit’s 3-day furlough he’d reeled in a couple of favors, like not telling the warden’s wife about a certain little blond clerk who spent plenty of time in her boss’s office with the door closed and the Do Not Disturb sign hanging on the outside.

The application process had been short and sweet, with the reason for furlough stated as “to re-establish family and community ties.” The other choices on the form seemed better—to attend a religious meeting, attend a court proceeding/hearing, receive special medical or dental care not offered in the prison facility, and to participate in special training or a work detail—but Pitts stuck to his “keep it simple” plan, and it worked. The furlough was approved and signed by the warden.

So when Friday morning came, Dunnit showered and put on a pair of new jeans, a blue dress shirt, plaid boxer shorts, new Ralph Polo socks, and his favorite pair of New Balance running shoes, the clothing his wife mailed to Pitts a week in advance of the furlough.

At 9 a.m. sharp, the officer working control in the front office called Dunnit’s name over the intercom.

“I. Dunnit, report to the main office.”

This was it. His wife had arrived to take him away from the concrete, the tool room, and the 999 other inmates who were also working on ways to get away from the camp. Although, it wasn’t so bad at the camp, since many of the prisoners “go over the hedges” at least once a week.

You see, the prison camp has no walls or fences, and there’s a dirt road that runs beside the place that leads to the main highway running north to San Jose and south to L.A. The first turn to the left is practically a straight shot to Vegas.

Many of the guys leave the prison at night, running through the tumbleweeds and dust, dodging scorpions and jack rabbits, to hop inside a waiting car driven by girlfriends, wives, friends, or family. They drive into town to catch a movie, have a nice dinner at a local restaurant, or simply climb into the backseat for a bit of “desert delight.” And, somewhere just shy of 10 p.m. count time, the fellows slip back onto the prison grounds with bellies full of steak and wine, eyes red of pot smoke, and the look of satisfaction stamped across their flushed faces. They also bring things back into the prison, such as wine, pot, clothing, food (shrimp, steak, etc.), cellphones, radios, and more.

Still, getting away to spend three days at home, eating home cooked meals, visiting with family, sleeping in a real bed instead of a steel slab covered with a plastic-coated mattress, walking barefoot in grass, smelling things other than the guy’s feet in the upper bunk, and even holding a dollar bill and driving a car, well, it would be three days in heaven.

Unfortunately, a three-day furlough ends in … well, three short days. And the drive back to the camp was far too quick. But what a weekend! Saturday, the entire family came over for a barbecue around the pool. The oldest daughter brought her kids who stuck to Grandpa Dunnit like glue. Piggyback rides and hugs. Hamburgers and potato salad. Homemade iced tea and ice cream. And dignity. He had his dignity back, even if it was for only three short days. No one telling him every move to make. No strip searches. No bending over. No squatting and coughing while guards look at and inspect his most private areas. Even model prisoners lose their dignity.

Walking back inside the main door to the camp office was tough.

“Welcome back, Dunnit. Have a good time?” said the officer on duty.

“Yeah, it was nice.”

“You see your grandkids?”

“Sure did. They’d grown quite a bit since I last saw them too.”

“I know what you mean. Mine grow like little weeds.”

Dunnit handed the officer his bag.

“Well, I guess we may as well get this over with. Step inside the restroom and take off your clothes and hand me each piece as you take it off. You’re gonna have to pee in a cup for me too.”

Dunnit slipped off his new clothes, and his dignity, neither of which he’d see again until his release date.

*     *     *

Yes, furloughs are possible for federal inmates. The length of the furlough depends upon the time remaining on their sentence—the less time the longer the furlough. In Dunnit’s case, his was an overnight furlough because he had less than 18 months left on his sentence.

The expense of the furlough must be paid for by the prisoner or his family.

Inmates incarcerated for violent crimes are not eligible to receive furloughs.

While on a furlough, the inmate may not consume alcohol or drugs. They also may not consume any food item containing poppy seeds, since the seeds often show up on drug screens as a positive result for opiate use. The same normally applies to those who are on supervised probation.

Some federal inmates are also granted furloughs when transferring from one prison to another.

**Inmate I. Dunnit is a fictional character. Prison furloughs, however, are very real.

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Is Your Detective Bad To The Bone?

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Like all rookie investigators, I couldn’t wait to prove my worthiness. I wanted to catch the case that would surely grace the pages of detective magazines and grocery store tabloids everywhere.

I was a brand new detective with a shiny gold badge and several years of experience behind it. Bad To The Bone, as George Thorogood would eventually sing. In fact, why don’t you click on the video below and crank up the volume while reading the rest of this piece. You know, to set the mood …

Ready? Let’s do this …
Being a detective was cool, or so I thought. I even thought of growing my hair a bit longer to get away from the traditional “cop look” and to amplify the level of cool I knew must’ve been oozing from my pores like oil from a newly-tapped well. Some say that once you become a cop you’ll never lose the look, but I was sure going to try.

Standing in my new office, one featuring a desk all to myself and a real honest-to-goodness door with a knob and everything, a door I could close whenever I wanted, I began to unpack the boxes of personal items—notepads, pens, certificates and framed photos for the wall, and a few other cop odds and ends.

As you probably guessed, I’d arrived over an hour early for my shift. I was excited and I’d wanted to have a bit of alone time to savor the moment. And there was I was, experiencing the very same smells, sights, and sounds I’d experienced many, many times before when bringing suspects to the detectives for interviews. But doggone it, from that second forward those smells and sights and sounds belonged to me … and, well, they also belonged to the other detectives who quickly let me know that my stuff was in their way and that I’d parked in the wrong spot and that I was on call the following weekend and that the others had first picks of vacation weeks and that I’d be on call on Christmas and, and, and …  It. Was. Heaven!

The desk phone rang. Uh, oh. How should I answer it? Would it be too presumptuous to say Detective Lofland? After all, I’d only officially been on the job for … uh, ten minutes. But that’s what was on the name plate on the door and the one on my desk. So Detective Lofland is was. After all, according to Mr. Thorogood, when you’re “bad to the bone,” even kings and queens step aside when you walk the streets, so I grabbed the receiver and answered … “Hello.”

Okay, so I chickened out and blew the first opportunity to say my name and new title out loud, but the phone call was from dispatch so it really wouldn’t have mattered to them if I’d said I was Abraham Lincoln or Bugs Bunny. They just wanted to pass along the information and get it off their hands.

The dispatcher said patrol officers requested a detective at the scene of an armed robbery. A cashier at a local convenience store told the uniforms a tall man wearing a hoodie aimed a rusty-looking handgun at her and then demanded all the cash in the register. Since I was the only detective around at the time, I said I’d take this mind-blowingly complex case. Can you sense the paint drying from where you sit? It gets better. They always get better.

Anyway, four or five marked units sat at various angles in the parking lot of the convenience store, all parked somewhat near the entrances. As usual … overkill from a bunch of officers who had nothing better to do other than counting the ticks of the clock while waiting for another graveyard shift to pass by.

I pulled in behind one of the patrol cars and slid out of my well-used but new-to-me Chevrolet Caprice, realizing this was my first assignment wearing a coat and tie. I also realized how wonderfully cool and comfortable I felt as opposed to wearing a uniform and hot Kevlar vest.

The clerk was still a bit hyper and quite shaken (“shaken and stirred” as one of my old captains used to say when describing nervous victims). She said the robber became extremely angry when she couldn’t open the cash drawer on the first try (she said her mind went blank when she saw the gun), so he climbed over the counter and started yanking on the register until it broke free of its mounts and wires. Then he grabbed the register and ran outside across the parking lot to an old blue Ford. As she pushed the panic button to summon police, the robber sped off heading south on Main.

I had the clerk lock the doors to keep out customers and the swarm of looky-loos who’d begun to gather outside, and went to my car to retrieve my fingerprint kit. I didn’t see any need to call out anyone else merely to dust for prints and search for bits of trace evidence that were probably nonexistent.

I set the fingerprint kit (a fishing tackle box filled with powders, brushes, lifters and tape) on the countertop well away from where the register used to be, and then slipped on a pair of blue latex gloves.

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That’s when I saw the wallet. It was an older wallet. Well-worn and well-used. The familiar circular print embedded in the leather told me the owner believed in practicing safe sex. I reached down and picked it up, asking the clerk if it belonged to her? I knew her answer before she spoke. It wasn’t hers.

I thought there was no way this could be that simple. However, I opened the wallet, pulled out a Virginia drivers license (back then Virginia used a person’s social security number as their official driver’s license number), and asked the clerk if the man in the picture was the man who’d robbed her. “Yes,” she’d said. “No doubt about it. That’s him.”

The idiot dropped his wallet at the scene of the crime. Duh…

So I packed up my things, pulled the gloves from hands, and headed to my car. I called for backup and then I and a parade of marked patrol cars all drove to the address on the robber’s driver’s license. Lo and behold, parked in the driveway was an old blue Ford. Behind the driver’s seat in plain view, was a nice, shiny cash register. Sitting behind the steering wheel was a snoring, tall man wearing a hoodie. On the seat next to him was an old, rusted revolver with wooden grips. Not only was this crook dumb, he was either too cheap or too poor to get himself a decent weapon.

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I opened the car door, slowly so as to not wake the sleeping beauty, and then grabbed the robber’s hand and arm and pulled him outside to the ground where I and a patrol officer quickly applied handcuffs to the robber’s wrists.

I learned later the bad guy had been on the tail end of a two-day crack binge when he robbed the store, probably to get some cash to keep the high going. However, since he was well on his way down, he simply crashed when he arrived home, which made the arrest about as simple and easy as they come.

And the excitement continued. Like the the times when …

I once worked an arson case where the firebug also dropped his wallet at the scene. Again, it was a simple matter of driving to the address on the driver’s license where we found the big dummy at home eating a bowl of Captain Crunch cereal.

And then there was the time when four teenage burglars entered a business to steal whatever they could haul away. The first little darlin’ made his way to the roof and then slid down a large drain pipe into my waiting arms. I had to send in my dog to nab the others, and nab one he did. Well, let’s just say that my four-legged partner seemed to enjoy the taste of fresh “rump” roast.

Oh, and then there was the man who broke into a store, took off his mask, and walked straight to the surveillance camera, looking directly into the lens before covering it with his stocking cap/mask.


When he finished gathering items he went back to the camera to retrieve his cap, which he used to wipe and rub the recording device (doing away with prints, I suppose), again, staring directly into the lens. I recognized this genius as someone who’d been arrested numerous times for B&E’s. Not the sharpest bandit on the block.


Of course, time marched on and the cases became more complicated than arresting two-bit B&E guys. Soon I had more murder, kidnapping, narcotics, and sexual assault cases than you could shake a stick at, but I’d still occasionally come across one where the crook was, well, let’s just say he was not too bright. So I, and other officers, arrested him over and over again, and he’d go to jail or prison for while to work in the institution’s kitchen or furniture shop until his time was up. Then he’d come home and start breaking and climbing through windows and doors all over again.

Of course, ten stints in the prison woodworking shop and a not-so-bright bad guy could have a difficult time using lock picks and other burglar tools.


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7 Ways Cops Spot Drunk Drivers

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The driver who turns up a fifth of Jack Black while singing Sweet Home Alabama at the top of his little redneck lungs is obviously driving while under the influence of alcohol. But what about the driver who chugs only three or four drinks before sliding in behind the wheel? What makes a patrol officer zero in on that guy? And, what if an inebriated driver eats an onion after consuming his alcohol? Suppose he drinks a bottle of mouthwash? Will those tricks fool the officer’s breath-testing equipment?

Let’s first start with some of the signs officers look for when scanning the roads for intoxicated drivers. Here’s a few dead give-aways:

1) Stopping in the middle of the road for absolutely no reason. Believe it or not, this maneuver is often performed in front of a marked police car.

2) Driving the wrong way on a one-way street. The drunk driver in this scenario is often seen “flipping off” approaching drivers, including patrol officers, as if they’re the ones in the wrong.


Photos, above and below ~ 2013 Writers’ Police Academy nighttime high-risk traffic stops. Yes, those are writers in the white vehicle.


3) Driving in the center of the road, straddling the center line. This maneuver, too, often occurs in front of a police car.

4) Failing to dim headlights when meeting an oncoming car. Older drivers are sometimes seen stomping the left floorboard of the car (that’s where the dimmer switches were located forty years ago).

5) Traveling well below, or above, the posted speed limit.

The exception to this rule is an old guy wearing a John Deere hat. They almost always drive well below the posted speed limit. May or may not be drunk. This one’s a coin toss.

Exception number two—three-foot tall women over the age of eighty. However, they’re normally on the way to the doctor, the grocery store, or to a hair appointment.

6) A car that strikes stationary objects on either side of the roadway as it passes by. Has the appearance of the silver ball in a pinball machine.

7) My personal favorite is the “impaired” driver who stops beside a police car at a red light. First comes the casual sideways glance toward the officer, followed by a nod and the mule-eating-briars grin. Then, they just can’t help themselves—down comes the window so they can tell the officer what a fine job he’s doing and that his third cousin twice removed on his mother’s side of his daddy’s grandmother’s family was the chief of police in Doodlebunk, Kansas. Well, it’s pretty obvious this guy’s stoned out of his gourd. Of course, the bag of dope hanging out of his shirt pocket doesn’t help his case, either.

Okay, now for the onion trick. No way. Attempting to fool breath-testing equipment is a waste of time. The machines don’t measure the amount of alcohol in the air, or in the suspect’s breath. Instead, the devices measure the ratio between the concentration of alcohol in the blood and the concentration of alcohol that’s in deep lung air, air that’s in the alveoli (tiny air sacs in the lungs).

So, eat an onion if you like, you’re the one who’ll be sleeping in a jail cell with bad breath.

* New Year’s Eve is approaching, and I know most people want to celebrate. However, please, please, please don’t drink (or use drugs of any kind) and drive. You certainly don’t want to end up like the drunk driver in the photo below. Yes, the car was ripped in half when it struck the tree. And yes, you’re correct in assuming the demise of the driver. So be responsible. Your family loves you.

By the way, those of you attending the Writers’ Police Academy this year will have the unique opportunity to conduct actual traffic stops on drunk drivers. Once you’ve stopped the vehicle you’ll have those drivers perform the field sobriety tests you learned earlier.


2013 Writers” Police Academy


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Guns: Are You Using “Selective Research?”

Writers spend a lot of time researching cops, private investigators, detectives, CSI techs, state police, sheriffs’ deputies, and federal agents. Lots of time.

A great deal of a crime/cop writer’s valuable time is spent participating in citizens police academies, attending the Writers’ Police Academy, emailing cops and former cops, visiting police stations, and reading blogs, such as this one.

It’s obvious, and I applaud you. You want your details to be accurate, and you want your tall tales to be fantastic, maybe even perfect.

So why do we still see books with cop facts that are totally and absolutely wrong?

Well, some writers devote tons of time to the finest of finite crime scene details, but not a single second goes toward the accuracy of other aspects of  the story. Yes, it’s true. Some writers pick and choose which facts to feature with precision,  leaving other “stuff” to fend for itself, meaning the book is a hodgepodge of solid realism mixed with sloppy carelessness. Trust me, the laziness always bleeds through the text.

In addition to gun inaccuracies, a great example of this selective research phenomenon is small town cops. They’re quite often portrayed as being totally and unbelievably dumb. S.T.U.P.I.D.

To those people who aren’t aware, and apparently there are some, being from a small town does not automatically cause ignorance. Nor does it mean the only way the town’s officer got the job is because no one else wanted it. Like people who long to become writers, or lawyers, or doctors, there are people who actually do dream of becoming police officers, and many of those people are from small towns. You know, just like many doctors and lawyers are from small towns. To suggest otherwise is highly offensive to small town police everywhere.

Let’s explore a bit further by leading with a question. Why do some writers think it’s okay/not offensive to write all officers who live in the south as racist rednecks? I saw this today, again, in fact. Or that cops are fat, ignorant slobs who can barely dress themselves because they always have a donut in one hand and a bottle of vodka in the other. Yes, this stuff is highly offensive, but it seems to be okay to write as long as it’s about cops from the south, or cops in general. Actually, writing this stuff shows a complete lack of knowledge and understanding of the good people of the south. Again, Selective Research.

And, I won’t jump on the cordite bandwagon again (No, No, and NO cordite!).

For now, let’s get back on track and address some of the firearms terminology I often see in crime novels. And, that’s where some of the trouble begins. Starting with …


Shotgun v. Rifle

I see these two used interchangeably, and they’re not. Not even close. Yes, they’re both considered long guns, but a rifle has a barrel with interior spiraled grooves that cause the projectile (bullet) to spin (think of a football thrown by a quarterback). The spinning increases accuracy and the distance the round can travel. Normally, shotgun barrels are not rifled.

Snipers use rifles, not shotguns.

A shotgun has a smooth barrel that’s designed to fire a shell containing several small pellets called “shot.” When fired, the shot spread out allowing a greater chance of hitting a target. However, a shotgun is basically accurate only at closer distances. But, hitting a moving target, or smaller targets, is much easier with a shotgun than with a rifle.

Officers typically make use of shotguns at distances of 75 yards and less (distances vary).

Of course, there are those over-and-under long guns. They feature two barrels, one above the other. One of the two barrels is a shotgun barrel. The other is a rifle barrel. Therefore, an over-and-under of this type is both a shotgun and a rifle!

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To go one step further …

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Handguns vs. Firearms vs. Pistols vs. Revolvers

I might create a little buzz with this one, but yes, there’s a difference between a pistol and revolver. A revolver is a handgun with a rotating cylinder that feeds ammunition, one bullet at a time, to its proper firing position each time the trigger is pulled. A revolver is a handgun, and it is a firearm.

A handgun, such as the ‘Glock or Sig Sauer, is actually a semi-automatic pistol. Ammunition is fed to the firing position by a spring-loaded magazine. A pistol is also a firearm.

I know, the NRA uses a slightly different set of terms. For the purpose of cops and guns, and federal law and terminologies, though, we’ll stick to ATF’s definitions and explanations.


Clip vs. Magazine

It’s a magazine that’s loaded with bullets and inserted into the pistol carried by your protagonists. A clip is actually something that stores ammunition and refills magazines. So please don’t confuse the two.  Officers do not shove a fresh “clip” into their pistol when reloading. Magazine, magazine, magazine!



One round of ammunition is a cartridge.

Typically, pistols, revolvers, and rifles do not fire shells (there are a few exceptions).

So, silly writer, shells are for shotguns …

Or the beach …



Pistol v. Revolver

The images and information below are from ATF’s website.

Pistol (semi-automatic)


The term “Pistol” means a weapon originally designed, made, and intended to fire a projectile (bullet) from one or more barrels when held in one hand, and having:

  • a chamber(s) as an integral part(s) of, or permanently aligned with, the bore(s);
  • and a short stock designed to be gripped by one hand at an angle to and extending below the line of the bore(s).

Pistol nomenclature (below)






The term “Revolver” means a projectile weapon of the pistol type, having a breechloading chambered cylinder so arranged that the cocking of the hammer or movement of the trigger rotates it and brings the next cartridge in line with the barrel for firing.


Revolver nomenclature (below)


*All of the above (text and images) are from ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives). Thanks to the folks at ATF for allowing the reproduction and use.


For Writers: Semi-autos and fully automatic (machine guns) automatically eject spent cartridges. Revolvers DO NOT. Therefore, writers, chances are slim and mostly none of finding empty revolver cartridges at a crime scene. Please remember this when writing the “aha” moment in your WIP.


Important Notice!!

As always, I highly recommend presenting your questions to a qualified expert, not the brother of a brother’s sister’s cousin’s third wife’s hairdresser’s neighbor’s son’s father who lives next door to a guy who once saw a cop walking along the sidewalk. And, someone who merely reads something about a law enforcement topic and then relays the information to you, well, this is not the best method of conducting research. Reading a chapter in a book does not make your barber an expert on police procedure and/or forensics.

Please, please, please, speak with law enforcement professionals about the desired cop-stuff. After all, you wouldn’t ask a cop to diagnose your medical conditions, right? So why ask a physician about police procedure, even if her advice comes straight from my book on police procedure. Why not? Because sometime people, even those with the best of intentions, can misread and/or misspeak, and then it is your work and your reputation that suffers for the mistake of someone else.

The best solution, of course, is to attend the Writers’ Police Academy, where you learn by participating in actual hands-on police training, such as shooting, driving, fingerprinting, evidence collection, and homicide investigation.

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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.
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