Arriving into Greensboro, NC’s airport I had no idea or expectation for what awaited me at the 2013 WPA. Stepping off the plane I saw a lady holding a piece of paper with what looked like my name written on it. Since I sit in the last rows when traveling (cop thing) I figured it was for me. Who knew?
Meeting Lee Lofland, Rick McMahan (ATF Agent) and Mike Roche (Secret Service Agent) was like a family reunion for folks who’d never met. The cop fraternity bonds us regardless of being strangers (cop thing). These men were the kindest, most humble professionals I’ve ever met. Who knew?
Lee said the writers would be the most curious and information starved crew I’ll ever present to. Sometimes officers in training are bored and cynical (cop thing). I was inundated with questions. With smart, insightful, knowledgeable, hilarious and challenging questions. Who knew?
I was so nervous before my first presentation; Chiefs v. Sheriffs. Not knowing what to expect from the writers, I could just see my information as being boring or irrelevant to their needs or interests. Both sessions included laughs, great comments, cutting edge questions and inquisitive hands raised. Who knew?
Day 2’s presentations; SWAT – From Let’s Roll to Code 4 was even more nerve wracking. I’ve not seen main characters written as SWAT Operators. Most plots set the SWAT team in the hall ready to roll, as a detective whose short sleeve button down shirt stretches across his broad belly while he kicks in the door with a snub nose revolver in hand. The crime writers were totally energized, and promised to never write the sloppy detective kicking in the door scenario ever again. Who knew?
The “real” VIPS, as Lee let slip in front of Rick, Mike and me (kidding) were entertaining, educational and just amazing. Writing and presenting are two very different skill sets. Mastering both; Dr. Dan Krane, Kathy Reichs and Lisa Gardner were informal, approachable and inspiring. Who knew?
The banquet allowed me an opportunity to continue conversations about writing and ideas and penning passions to paper. It was such a great time and then CJ Lyons asked me to sign my book. Sign my book? I froze. It’s CJ Lyons. I have no pen. I have no idea what to write. She was kind enough to say, “You’ve got till desert time to come up with a pen and autograph line.” Who knew?
I took away an understanding of distinction. The speakers were fantastic, and they are talented celebrities. The writers; those who burn with a passion for understanding policing to memorialize them in story and script are the real VIPs. They were aggressive, inquisitive, razor-sharp on details and tenacious for taking away everything available. SWAT class included talk about a certain tattoo. In joking I responded that it was on my a**. In unison, both classes demanded to see it. Who knew!!!
Leaving on Sunday, I felt a tug at my heart as I said good-bye to Lee and Mike, and several writers I met during the weekend. I came there as a long-time SWAT and chief of police offering information and experiences. I left believing that I too, might just be a writer. Who knew?
I offered my e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) at WPA and have been joyously overwhelmed by the communications with so many of the VIPS. I’m enjoying and learning so much from everyone I’ve chatted with. A writer was so kind as to use me as her character base, and promised to make me taller, but she refused to negotiate on giving me less gray hair.
Whatever bit of light I may shine from my experiences, are yours for the asking. The PowerPoints are also still yours for the taking. I only ask for a connect on Twitter and a check out on my blog http://scottsilverii.com
A Darker Shade of Blue: From Public Servant to Professional Deviant is still available on Amazon, but will (might) go deep undercover once the Taylor & Francis Group (CRC Press) releases Cop Culture: Why Good Cops Go Bad in January 2014.
Lee Lofland willing, I’ll see you at WPA 2014. I might even show ya’ll that tattoo.