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It was nearly seven years ago to the day when I first made the three-hour drive from our North Carolina home to the 130 acre Sirchie Fingerprint Laboratories compound, and I could barely contain my excitement. After all, the folks at Sirchie are probably the best in the world at what they do and the mere thought of the many superstars of crime-fighting from around the world who’ve been trained at Sirchie is almost overwhelming. Not to mention the hundreds of thousands of crimes that have been solved using Sirchie products—products that are made right there on the compound.

After traveling for what seemed like an eternity, while answering emails and phone calls regarding the Writers’ Police Academy, the sprawling Sirchie property appeared on my right. The first thing that caught my attention was the golf-course-like green grass that stretched as far as the eye could see. And it was surrounded by what appeared to be an endless, gleaming, white 3-rail fence. A large gate, complete with a coded-entry system, was the only break in the fence. Very impressive.

I made the right turn off the winding country road I’d been traveling since I left the bustle of interstate traffic and headed through the opening in the metal gates. Two or three huge, white buildings sat at the end of the drive. And there was a beautifully-landscaped pond in front (I later learned the pond was even stocked with fish). There were no signs or identifying markers—nothing—to let anyone know that this was indeed one of, if not THE premier crime-fighting operations in the world. But, I soon saw a personalized license plate on a vehicle that let me know I was in the right place. The lettering had something to do with crime scene investigation. Bingo.

Anyway, the purpose of my trip was to meet with the folks who run the massive Sirchie operation to discuss their involvement with the Writers’ Police Academy. I can’t begin to tell you how lucky the attendees of the WPA are to have the opportunity to learn from Sirchie instructors. They’re the best-of-the-best and they teach the best-of-the-best. Needless to say, this is a rare opportunity and I’m so pleased to be a part of it.

After our meeting, I was given a tour of the place. And here’s a little of what I saw.

Impression evidence

All sorts of goodies filled tabletops, such as these flashlights equipped with special lenses used for seeing what the naked eye can’t.

Assembling narcotics field-testing kits.

Extensive instruction on bloodstain patterns is offered at Sirchie. WPA recruits will have the opportunity to attend one of these fascinating workshops, by the way.

Bloodstain class area.

Learning to recognize patterns.

Road-mapping to determine Area Of Origin.

So, how would you like to attend some of the extremely elite and specialized law enforcement-only classes at Sirchie? Well, you know me. I’ve got something up my sleeve that just might get you inside this very private world. Interested? Stay tuned …

 

Okay writers, it’s time to sharpen the pencils and get busy studying the above image and then assembling a grouping of words that’ll knock the socks off our mega-famous judge, Tami Hoag.

Yes, you heard me, Tami Hoag—THE Tami Hoag—will read the top twelve entries and then select the winning story. The contest winner, of course, receives a slew of cool prizes including the coveted Golden Donut Award!

Here’s what you need to do to get your writing in front of one of the world’s top authors (sorry for the small font—the graphic is a photo).

This is a fun contest!

Since the graphic above is a photo, the embedded links are not active. Here are the links listed within the newsletter, in their order of appearance in the piece.

  1. Click HERE for a link to more details and contest rules.
  2. If you’d like to be a first-round judge, email us at 2018goldendonut@gmail.com.
  3. Don’t forget to tell your friends who are figuring out how to budget for conferences this year that Sisters in Crime is once again offering a $150 registration scholarship to all SinC members attending the Writers’ Police Academy for the first time.
  4. If you need help with your travel arrangements, feel free to contact Darek Jarmola, the agent who handles arrangements for our guest speakers and experts. Derek is well versed in transportation options for Green Bay, Wisconsin. He can be reached at Darek@authenticeurope.com or by phoning 918-214-4582.

Tami Hoag – Writers’ Police Academy firing range

 

Tami after performing a PIT maneuver at the driving track. Intense action, and FUN! – Writers’ Police Academy

TamiHoag.com


There is still time to sign up for the 2018 Writers’ Police Academy. HURRY!

Again, If you’ve ever wanted to attend the WPA, I STRONGLY and WHOLEHEARTEDLY urge you to do so this year. Openings are available … this year. Could be your last chance. I’m just saying …

WritersPoliceAcademy.com

 

Working as a police officer extremely intense. It’s tough. It’s mentally and physically challenging.

During the course of a typical shift, officers meet many people while responding to various calls and while working a variety of assignments

While protecting and serving, well, here are five things they should ALWAYS do when doing what they do.


 

Spots are still available to the 2018 Writers’ Police Academy. Yes, registration is still open and, we have lots more surprises on the way. This is an event you’ll remember for a lifetime so please hurry while slots are available! Oh, be sure to refer a friend and have them sign up as well. You’ll soon see why that could be a very important step.

 

http://www.writerspoliceacademy.com

Police officer academy training is extremely intense. It’s tough. It’s mentally and physically challenging.

During the course of basic training, officers are taught many topics, tactics, and techniques.

Academy instructors advise recruits on the hundreds upon hundreds things they must do right during their careers as law enforcement officers.

Here are five things they should NOT do.


 

Spots are still available to the 2018 Writers’ Police Academy. Yes, registration is still open and, we have lots more surprises on the way. This is an event you’ll remember for a lifetime so please hurry while slots are available! Oh, be sure to refer a friend and have them sign up as well. You’ll soon see why that could be a very important step.

 

http://www.writerspoliceacademy.com

 

Tomorrow at noon (EST). Set your watches, timers, clocks, and all other reminder-type devices because registration to the 10th annual Writers’ Police Academy is scheduled to go live at that precise moment (12 noon EST).

Be ready to sign up because you will not want to miss the thrills and heart-pounding excitement.

Sign up the first day for a chance to win a FREE registration packet worth over $500! The WPA is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.!

#2018WPA

WritersPoliceAcademy.com

Here’s a preview of what to expect at the WPA. Crank up the volume, set the video to full screen, and hang on!
 

 
Just for fun, who can tell me the name of the person who’s eyes appear in the top photo?

Seeing is believing and the hands-on training offered at the 2018 Writers’ Police Academy is second to none. It’s thrilling, heart-pounding, and a ton of fun! Add a mind-blowing new level of realism to your writing. #2018WPA

Registration opens at noon (EST) February 18, 2018. Please be ready to sign up because spots for the 10th anniversary blowout are extremely limited!

Pursuit Driving – High Speed Pursuit! You will drive the pursuit vehicle!

Wound-Packing – Police officers sustain gunshot wounds in the field and it is often up to their partners to perform life-saving first aid techniques. Now you, too, have the unique opportunity to stop an arterial bleed, seal a sucking chest wound, or to stop bleeding from a gaping wound. Never before have writers been offered this behind the scenes, hands-on experience. Bring life to your characters. Realism beyond belief (Caution – graphic images, but this is a simulation. Not a real victim!).

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

http://www.writerspoliceacademy.com

*Above videos were filmed at the Writers’ Police Academy training facility.

Using a .38 to shoot a gun from the hand of a bank robber from a distance of eight miles away is not realistic. For that matter, neither is shooting anything from a bad guy’s hand at practically any distance, but that’s for another blog article. This one is designed to help improve the shooting skills of the heroes you develop so carefully in other ways—they’re the best interrogators on the planet and they run faster, punch harder, and jump higher than any human anywhere. But their shooting abilities are a bit lacking.

Oh sure, you have them easily take aim and pick off the wings of a gnat in the next county over. But we, the readers, all know what we’re seeing is a load of hogwash. We know this because we see how the characters hold their guns. We see how they pull those triggers.

That’s right, we’re privy to to a writer’s lack of knowledge when it comes to things such as:

  1. Weapon Selection – Choosing the weapon that’s right for you and your character is important. Shooting is not a one size fits all activity. So shop around until you find the firearm that fits your/their hand, is comfortable in the hand, and one that is easy to handle.

As you can see here, the options are many. By the way, the 2018 Writers’ Police Academy features a workshop on Weapons Selection (Explore gun types to match the personalities of various characters of different eras).

 

2. Stance and grip – Accuracy begins with a proper and solid stance.

  • Your stance should be firm and unwavering.
  • Feet approximately shoulder-width apart.
  • Your body weight – well-distributed.
  • Lean slightly into the gun.
  • Grip on the weapon should be firm and strong, but not so tight that your hands shake.

3. Sight Alignment – align the front sight between the rear posts in the rear notch with an equal amount of light on each side.

4. Sight Picture – hold the sight alignment on the target, at the spot in which you wish to strike the object with the bullet.

5. Trigger Control – This step is extremely important! The trigger is the key to accuracy. Poor trigger control leads to poorly-fired shots. The trigger should rest on the pad of the index finger, approximately half-way between the fingertip and the first joint. NOT in the fold/crease of the knuckle! To fire, squeeze the trigger/apply a slow, steady pressure.

6. Practice, Practice, Practice!!

Spend as much time on the range as humanly possible. Well, that’s if you want to improve your shooting. If not, good luck during the next foot pursuit of a crazed and heavily-armed escaped convict/masked murderer/robber/rapist/known cop-killer.

2018 Writers’ Police Academy Offers Live-Fire Workshops!

By the way, you can enjoy time at the rifle and pistol range at the Writers’ Police Academy. Click the link for details. Registration for this one-of-a-kind thrilling event opens at noon (EST) February 18, 2018. This is our 10th anniversary so expect over the top excitement!

Range time – Writers’ Police Academy

2018 marks the 10th anniversary of the Writers’ Police Academy and the event is nothing short of AMAZING! As in OMG A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.! Believe me when I say this is THE year to attend. Registration opens at noon (EST) on February 18, 2018. Please be ready to sign up the moment the clock strikes twelve because space is extremely limited!

WORKSHOP DESCRIPTIONS


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

 

INSTRUCTOR: DR. KATHERINE RAMSLAND
Crime scenes always tell a story, which shows up most clearly in behavioral clues. This can mean anything from signatures that link crimes to indicators of staged crimes to predictors of dangerous future behavior. This session shows writers how to spot and interpret behavioral clues during criminal profiling or psychological autopsy.

 

INSTRUCTOR: R.J. BEAM
The science behind bloodstain patterns and spatter. Hands-on session that includes time with SPATTER HEAD! *HIT class

 

This is a HOT session. A vehicle is fully engulfed and it’s up to you and your team to extinguish the flames. *HIT class

 

INSTRUCTOR: CARRIE STUART PARKS
Forensic art – composite drawing, facial reconstruction and unknown remains, cognitive interviewing, signs of deception.

 

Experience the sights, sounds, odors, and emotions associated with rescuing victims trapped in confined spaces. *HIT class

 

INSTRUCTOR: JUDGE KEVIN RATHBURN
Officers must follow the law of the land and this session details the law as it pertains to traffic stops.

 

INSTRUCTOR: KNETZGER
Techniques used to control behavior of cooperative and uncooperative suspects. *HIT class

 

INSTRUCTOR: ZAWACKI
Session explores DNA evidence, samples, the testing process, and errors often found in books, TV, and film.

 

INSTRUCTOR: VARIOUS
Police dogs doing what they do best.

 

INSTRUCTOR: HEENAN & JOHNSON
Experience the difficulty of multitasking while driving, observing, and communicating, and all while utilizing lights and siren. *HIT class

 

INSTRUCTOR: R.J. BEAM
Dusting, fuming, and difficult to print surfaces are just a few of the fingerprinting techniques you’ll learn in this detailed hands-on session. *HIT class

 

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. *HIT class

 

INSTRUCTOR: KNETZGER & NEJEDLO
As police officers, you and your partner respond to an alarm at a local business. It is up to you to search clear the building. Part of “clearing” involves looking for criminal suspects who may or may not be hiding. Of course, the person you encounter could be the janitor. Or is he?? *Participants will be required to wear protective gear during this hands-on exercise.  *HIT class

 

INSTRUCTOR: STOVER & NISHIMOTO
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 class

 

INSTRUCTOR: STAFF
Hit List – the list of HIT workshops

 

INSTRUCTOR: STAFF
Human trafficking – Details TBA

 

INSTRUCTOR: VARIOUS

 

INSTRUCTOR: NWTC STAFF/RANGE INSTRUCTORS
Learn the basics of the .223 patrol rifle, nomenclature, field stripping, fundamentals, and live fire on the rifle range. *HIT class

 

INSTRUCTOR: ESOMA KUNG FU MASTER INSTRUCTOR HOWARD LEWIS
Learn more intricacies of the martial arts. The basics of getaways, pressure points, holds, locks and bars, multiple opponents. Learn how one defends against various weapons. Believe me there are big differences. Feel free to bring your fight scene (in your mind, not on paper) and we’ll try to work through it. Hands-on workshop.

 

INSTRUCTOR: ESOMA KUNG FU MASTER INSTRUCTOR HOWARD LEWIS
If you’re writing a character who has studied or uses martial arts, pick a discipline that matches his or her personality and physical strengths. It will make your character more credible. We’ll give you information to help you choose wisely. You’ll also learn how martial artists in various disciplines are trained. This determines how they think and react when confronted. See what they see. Hear what they hear. A perfect way to build suspense in your fight scenes.

 

INSTRUCTOR: DR. DENENE LOFLAND
Why carry a gun when you can let a microscopic creature do the job for you? A collection of my most interesting and deadly microbiology cases. This workshop provides an opportunity for audience participation. Download the student version of the Socrative app so you can provide your anonymous (if you want) opinion on these fascinating cases. www.socrative.com/

 

INSTRUCTOR: PAUL BISHOP
Behavioral science is one of law enforcement’s most powerful weapons. Profiling—mindhunting—helps not only capture predators, but can also uncover the key to their motivations. Mindhunting will explore how criminal predators work, ways to prevent them from striking again, and how to protect yourselves and others by knowing your enemy.

 

INSTRUCTOR: DR. KATHERINE RAMSLAND
More people now resort to public acts of extreme violence than in the past. Although it is still difficult to identify individuals who will act out violently, threat evaluation has improved. This session shows specific risk factors associated with the violent mind, understanding prediction limitations, and devising plans of action.

 

Opening Ceremonies by TBA

 

INSTRUCTOR: MIKE BLACK
An examination of basic police procedures and how incidents can get distorted by the media.

 

INSTRUCTOR: SPECIAL AGENT MIKE ROCHE, U.S. SECRET SERVICE
What causes PTSD? The effects on officers and their families. The symptoms of PTSD and treatments. How departments and other officers respond to those suffering the effects of PTSD. How cumulative stress can impact performance and health.

 

INSTRUCTOR: HEENAN/JOHNSON
High Speed Pursuit! You will drive the pursuit vehicle! *HIT class

 

INSTRUCTOR: SPECIAL AGENT MIKE ROCHE, U.S. SECRET SERVICE
Examining the love tendencies of law enforcement officers. From scandalous infidelity, to office romance and the sparks ignited while answering calls. We will rip the sheets off the mattress and expose the inside world of love in the cop world.

 

INSTRUCTOR: JORDAN
More than an Aerosmith song title, “Walk This Way” is a room-clearing tactic used by American Law Enforcement. Session also details how to distinguish whether or not someone is or was a police officer, and if they’re on or off-duty. Say what??

 

INSTRUCTOR: JORDAN
You will never approach or view staircases the same way again, ever! This session details how officers safely approach, explore, and evaluate stairways. Hands-on.

 

INSTRUCTOR: ATF SPECIAL AGENT RICK MCMAHAN
Workshop title and details TBA

 

INSTRUCTOR: MARCO CONELLI
Session with NYPD Detective Marco Conelli – Workshop title and description TBA

 

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.

 

INSTRUCTOR: KNETZGER & JEDI
Ready, Set … Blow Down Those Doors! KABOOM! Yes, you and your fellow SWAT team members will learn to use explosive charges and other methods of gaining entry into “hard-to-reach” places. This is the real deal! *HIT class

 

INSTRUCTOR: GILBERT
Police officers sustain gunshot wounds in the field and it is often up to their partners to perform life-saving first aid techniques. Now you, too, have the unique opportunity to stop an arterial bleed, seal a sucking chest wound, or to stop bleeding from a gaping wound. Never before have writers been offered this behind the scenes, hands-on experience. Bring life to your characters. Realism beyond belief!

 

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

 

INSTRUCTOR: RATHBURN
Actual courtroom testimony. Experience what it’s like to testify as a police officer, recalling incidents, responding to legal questions, etc. Learn how your testimony as a law enforcement officer affects and influences a jury.

 

You conduct the traffic stop. Various scenarios. Be prepared for … well, anything!

 

INSTRUCTOR: PAUL BISHOP
Do you know the truth when you hear it or see it? Join nationally recognized behaviorist, interrogation expert, and experience LAPD detective Paul Bishop as he guides you into the intimate world of interrogation—where success or failure is determined before the first question is asked.

 

INSTRUCTOR: JANDA
Explore gun types to match the personalities of various characters of different eras.

 

INSTRUCTOR: MIKE BLACK
How TV, movies, and fiction distort police work

 
*More workshops to be announced. Check back often to view new additions.
 
http://www.writerspoliceacademy.com

Each year the Writers’ Police Academy features a fun writing contest called The Golden Donut Short Story contest. We provide a photo prompt and writers must use it as the theme of their stories. The catch? Each tale must be exactly 200 words.

The concept of flash fiction is not new, of course, but the way this contest came about was, well, here’s how I arrived at the decision to include the contest as part of the thrilling WPA.

This was the time before cellphones, social media, and TV remotes

As a child, I read everything and anything I could get my hands on, from Superman comics to Poe. And, as a result, I often wrote silly little stories and even made a few attempts at poetry. But, as time passed, writing faded out of the picture as my focus turned to police work. I never stopped reading, though. Book after book after book. I loved libraries and book stores. I loved the smell of both new and old books. And I was never very far away from something to read. Running radar … sure, there was a book nearby for the slow times. Working graveyard shift … I had to have something to keep me awake during the times when drunks and robbers slept. Fishing … well, those sly rascals aren’t always biting.

Fast Forward to Shortly After Leaving Police Work (Retirement is Boring)

I wanted to write because I had so many stories to tell. And then I saw it … a writers group for beginners. No experience needed. So I signed up (this was 10 years ago, or more) and it wasn’t long before we were hard at work writing short stories. The instructor, though, added a twist to our assignments. He wanted us to write a complete story in exactly 200 words (now you know where I got the idea for the WPA 200 word story contest).

To write a complete story in 200 words was a tough task, especially for someone like me who’d never written anything worthwhile with the exception of a few hundred traffic tickets and thousands of police reports. The assignment was indeed challenging, and fun. And, later, we had to do the same in just 50 words.

I kept my first story as a reminder of the beginning. And, for fun, I thought I’d post it here today. What about you? How early in life did you know you wanted to write? Do you ever re-visit your early work?

Anyway, here you go … my first official attempt at writing. It’s called Economic Downturn. Remember, it’s an unedited first attempt/draft written 10 years ago. So a bit of pity for me is fine … 🙂

Economic Downturn

Moments ago, the palette of reds, oranges and purples streaking the horizon gave way to night’s inky blackness. The sun had surrendered its position to a heavy and swollen harvest moon. Milky light pushed its way through the tired oak’s twisted and knobby branches.

A cold puff of wind shoved and swirled ribbon-like waves of dried leaves along the cracked asphalt street. They made clicking, ticking sounds as they tumbled and danced along the cold and lonely tarmac.

As he looked towards the sounds, an icy chill swept over his jacket-less frame. Turning toward the house where his wife lay sleeping, he saw the once toothy Halloween jack-o-lantern. It had begun to rot and its sagging, twisted grin mocked him.

Time was slowing and sounds were disappearing as the big limb groaned from the stress of the foreign weight. The thick rope tightened still more as the massive tree pulled him upward against gravity.

His feet came to rest two inches above the cool earth, and the crumpled lay-off notice he had clutched so tightly fluttered to the ground.

His last breath gently floated skyward to mingle with the autumn air.

He wondered if she would miss him.