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It’s Wormhole Thursday, a time to journey back to a time before TASERS and prior to the CSI Effect.

It’s memories of what it was like to be a cop way “back in the day” and I share this with you for two reasons. One: The information contained within are details that could add that extra touch of realism that’s sometimes missing in a crime story. Two: To help those not involved in the real world of coppers better understand that cops are more than just someone in uniform who writes traffic tickets and locks up the bad guys.

So please join me as we wander into the Thursday Wormhole. Oh, and please keep your hands and feet inside at all times. We’re approaching Halloween and you never know what or who is lurking out there in the shadows.

Sheriff’s Office

First, a bit about the office of sheriff. Sheriff’s are elected officials and they’re like the CEOs of their departments. Most operate under a county government. However, a few cities also have sheriffs which, I believe, occurs mostly in Virginia where some cities are legally not a part of the county that surrounds them. The law there states that only a sheriff may serve civil process (jury summons, divorce papers, lien notices, etc.), meaning a sheriff is needed in those locations since, by law, a police department may not serve those papers.

Wearing “the Star”

I worked as a patrol deputy, riding county roads doing double-duty, as we all did, serving civil papers between answering criminal complaints and keeping our eyes open for bad folks doing bad things. In our “spare time” we investigated crimes resulting from those complaints. There were no detectives. Our sheriff didn’t believe in having them, just like he didn’t believe that female deputies should carry guns. In fact, our department didn’t have women working the roads. Not a single female deputy was a sworn police officer. There were female jailers, of course, because our jail, like others, housed women prisoners. We also had female dispatchers.

It was a requirement that all jailers/corrections officers were certified to carry firearms, and they received training at the range. The women who worked in our department also received the training (had to to become certified jailers), but when the training was completed the she sheriff made them turn in their weapons.

In Black and White

Our shifts were divided by race. White deputies were assigned mostly to work with other white deputies, and African American deputies were assigned to work with African American deputies. I was the exception to the rule. I was a crossover deputy. The sheriff called me into his office one day to tell me he was trying the experiment of mixing us (yes, he actually said this) and he thought I had the personality to get along with everyone. Well, duh …

Anyway, that’s the flavor of how it was during the early days of my career in law enforcement. Obviously, things changed over the years, but gradually. This was the South and change and progress in many areas there were slow to come, especially within the sheriff’s office.

Moving Ahead to 1984

August 25, 1984. 2330 hours (11:30 p.m.)

I tucked my daughter in bed for the night and told the overnight sitter I’d see her in the morning, and to call my office if she needed anything. Someone there, I said, would contact me by radio to relay the message. And, if I wasn’t in one of the many “dead spots” in the county I’d respond right away. Then I headed out the front door and to my patrol car, a brown and tan sheriff’s vehicle with a red light bar on top and a long whip antenna that frequently struck and trimmed low hanging branches and leaves from the trees that lined some country roads.

I’d repeat my message to the sitter message each time I worked the night shift. Thankfully, the sheriff understood that I was single dad raising a daughter, so I was fortunate in that I worked mostly day shifts. But, nights were a part of the job so I rolled with the punches.

My attire for the evening, as always, was the standard dark brown shirt, khaki-colored pants, shoes shined until they looked like polished mahogany, a straw campaign hat, a deep brown basketweave-patterned gun belt that held a Smith and Wesson .357 with a 6-inch barrel, a pair of Peerless handcuffs, and two dump pouches that contained a few extra rounds of hollow point ammunition. And a Maglite.

My left rear pocket was weighted slightly by the spring-handled lead and leather SAP I’d slipped inside just prior to leaving my bedroom. It was my secret weapon in the event someone got the best of me and there was no other way to survive the encounter.

This was any and every night back in the late 70s and early 80s. We weren’t issued vests, semi-autos, shotguns, TASERS, or chemical sprays of any type. There were no cages/partitions in our cars either, meaning we’d have to place the crooks in the front passenger seat and, as a result, when we arrested an unruly suspect we’d often have to wrestle with them, while driving, all the way to the jail. On more than one occasion, simply for a bit of relief, I handcuffed the guy to the bracket that held the carseat to the floorboard.

Other times I’d call for backup and that poor deputy would have to ride in the backseat and tussle with the a-holes until we arrived at the jail.

Some of us kept a baseball bat tucked between the driver’s seat and door, in that narrow space on the floorboard. It’s purpose was to equal the odds a bit when facing a group of people who were hellbent on bashing in the brains of a solo deputy. To paint a better picture, imagine yourself facing a crowd of 100 drunk people in a nightclub parking lot who’re in the midst of fighting, cutting, stabbing, and shooting and it’s your job to break it up. Then many of them decide it’s time to attack the cop and that cop is you and you’re the only cop there. Yes, a baseball bat came in handy, believe me.

We were required to wear the Smokey Bear campaign hats any time we were outdoors. If the boss drove by a traffic stop and the deputy’s head was bare, well, there was a good chance by afternoon he’d no longer be a deputy. And you’d as soon be caught dead as to have your photo appear in a newspaper story without the hat perched atop your dome. Goodness, NO!

The same was true about the shine on our shoes, and that meant after rolling in a mud hole with a dangerous suspect, trying to handcuff him while he constantly punched, kicked, and bit you, well, the moment you were once again upright you’d best be wiping away the mud from your shoes and buffing them back to a glossy shine. Otherwise, you risked being sent home for good.

As I briefly mentioned above, there were several radio dead spots throughout the county. In those areas calling for backup was absolutely impossible. Remember, cell phones weren’t around back then. Therefore, we answered dangerous calls there with the mindset that we’d do whatever it took to come back. It was a bit like entering the Twilight Zone.

It’s not a good feeling to respond to a murder scene, knowing the killer was last seen entering a dark and big old abandoned building, knowing you’ve got to go in to get the guy, alone. Just you, your revolver, a Maglite, and a heart that’s jackhammering against the inside of your chest wall.

To make things worse, those were often the areas inhabited by people who loved to make and guzzle moonshine, fight the police, and who didn’t mind spending a few nights in a jail if it meant getting in a few good punches on a cop’s face.

Neighbors were no help to us either, because many of them enjoyed seeing a good brawl, scuffles that sometimes included being bitten by dogs of questionable intelligence who were defending their owners with every tooth in their snarling mouths.

Wives and shoeless and shirtless kids also liked to dive on the “beat-a-cop” pile.

The good neighbors, well, most of those folks didn’t own a phone so they were useless when it came to calling for help. They’d have to get in a car, if they owned one, and drive to the home of the nearest neighbor who had a “telly-phone.” Sometimes the closest phone was a located many miles away inside a country store, the places where large jars of pickled pigs feet and eggs sat on plywood counters near the old-timey cash registers, just a few feet from potbelly stove.

Somehow, and it’s difficult to fathom how, we’d almost always come out on top and bring in the person we’d gone out to get. And, sometimes we’d bring back an extra man or woman, depending upon how badly they’d beaten us.

Then, after tucking the offenders away in a nice warm jail cell and at shift’s end, I’d drive home facing a rising sun.

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After parking my car and signing off for the day, I’d open my front door, thank the babysitter, pack my sweet little girl’s lunch, usually a peanut butter grape jelly sandwich (her favorite), and then watch her run to meet the bus and her little friends. She never failed to grab a seat at the window so she could toss me a kiss and a wave goodbye.

Me? Well, I had shoes to polish and uniforms to wash, and a warm, soft bed and pillow waiting for me whenever I was ready to … zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz


More about the office of sheriff.

The duties of a county (or city) sheriff differ a bit than those of a police chief. In fact, not all sheriffs are responsible for street-type law enforcement, such as patrol.

In many areas the sheriff is the highest ranking law enforcement officer in the county.

Remember, this information may vary somewhat from one jurisdiction to another.

Who is a sheriff?

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1) Sheriffs are constitutional officers, meaning they are elected into office by popular vote.

2) Generally, sheriffs do not have a supervisor. They don’t answer to a board of supervisors, commissioners, or a county administrator. However, any extra funding that’s not mandated by law is controlled by county government.

Sheriffs are responsible for:

1) Executing and returning process, meaning they serve all civil papers, such as divorce papers, eviction notices, lien notices, etc. They must also return a copy of the executed paperwork to the clerk of court.

2) Attending and protecting all court proceedings within the jurisdiction.

– A sheriff appoints deputies to assist with the various duties.

3) Preserve order at public polling places.

4) Publish announcements regarding sale of foreclosed property. The sheriff is also responsible for conducting public auctions of foreclosed property.

5) Serving eviction notices. The sheriff must sometimes forcibly remove tenants and their property from their homes or businesses. I’ve known sheriffs who use jail inmates (supervised by deputies) to haul property from houses out to the street.

6) Maintain the county jail and transport prisoners to and from court. The sheriff is also responsible for transporting county prisoners to state prison after they’re been sentenced by the court.

7) In many, if not most, areas the sheriff is responsible for all law enforcement of their jurisdiction. Some towns do not have police departments, but all jurisdictions (with the exception of Alaska, Hawaii, and Connecticut) must have a sheriff’s office.

8) Sheriffs in the state of Delaware, our new home, do not have police powers.

9) In California, some sheriffs also serve as coroner of their counties.

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10) In the majority of jurisdictions, sheriffs and their deputies have arrest powers in all areas of the county where they were elected, including all cities, towns, and villages located within the county.

*In most locations, deputies serve at the pleasure of the sheriff, meaning they can be dismissed from duty without cause or reason. Remember, in most areas, but not all, deputies are appointed by the sheriff, not hired.

The above list is not all inclusive. Sheriffs and deputies are responsible for duties in addition to those listed here.

Every job has its difficulties, and police work is no different. In fact, I don’t believe there’s another job in the entire world that offers more opportunities to screw up than a career in law enforcement. Think about it. What other business provides its employees with high-powered weapons and live ammunition, a car that you can drive like a $29-dollar-a-day rental, and permission to squirt hot pepper juice in someone’s eyes? The major problem with each these quirky, but super attractive perks is that they come with a slight disadvantage, the possibility of having to take a human life, or losing your own.

To further complicate the loss of life factor is the split-second decision-making cops are faced with as a part of their everyday routine.

A plumber’s plans are laid out for him—hot on the left, cold on the right, and crap doesn’t flow uphill. Mechanics rely on a little sing-songy phrase about which direction to turn a wrench—Lefty Loosey and Tighty Righty (turn the wrench to the left to remove the bolt, or turn it to the right to tighten it).

But cops often operate in a world of gray. There are no handy-dandy nursery rhymes to guide officers through their tours of duty. But wouldn’t it be great if there were such a thing—a happy verse or two  to help relieve some of the pressure.

You know, like …

Police K-9

Hickory, dickory, dock,

The crook pulled out a Glock.

The cop shot once,

The thug fell down.

Hickory, dickory, dock.


Hey diddle diddle,

The crook stole a fiddle,

The thief jumped over the fence,

The little cop laughed to see such fun,

When his dog caught up with the goon.


 

New Picture (3)

This old man, he was dumb,

He sold crack vials to a bum,

In a locked up, paddy wagon,

Throw away the key;

This dumb guy ain’t coming home.


How much crack could a crackhead smoke if a crackhead could smoke crack?


Georgie Porgie, a ped-o-phile,

Kissed the girls and made them cry,

When the boys came out to play,

Georgie Porgie lost his mind.


Jack and Sam Went Up the Street,

To sell a stolen gun.

Jack took off and ran away,

So Sam went pocket picking.


Jim Plott could smoke no pot

His wife could snort no coke.

And so betwixt the two of them

They both stayed free and clean.


Eeny, meeny, miny, moe,

Catch a robber by the toe.

When he hollers, take the dough,

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe.


Here We Go Round the Gangster’s House

Here we go round the gangster’s house,

The gangster’s house,

The gangster’s house,

Here we go round the gangster’s house,

So early in the morning.

 

This is the way we kick their doors,

Kick their doors,

Kick their doors.

This is the way we kick their doors

So early in the morning.

 

This is the way we cuff their wrists,

Cuff their wrists,

Cuff their wrists.

This is the way we cuff their wrists,

So early in the morning.

 

This is the way we lock them up,

Lock them up,

Lock them up,

This is the way we lock them up,

So early in the morning.

 

Here we go round the streets again,

The streets again,

The streets again.

Here we go round the streets again,

So early in the morning.


Little Boy’n Blue, put on your vest,

The crook’s in the shadows, the gun’s in his hand.

Where is the cop who looks after your back?

He’s lying in the alley, barely alive.

Will you go back? Yes, you must,

For if you don’t, he’s sure to die.


Pease-porridge hot, Pease-porridge cold,

Pease-porridge in the pot, Nine days old;

Some liked it hot, left out to rot,

Some ate from the pot, died on the spot.

 

I know, I’m goofy …

 

Many writers have never, not once, set foot inside a police car, nor have they climbed out of bed at 11 p.m. to swap pajamas for a police uniform, Kevlar vest, gun belt, sidearm, and spit-shined shoes. And they’ve not headed out into the night to spend the next eight to twelve hours dealing with the city’s “worst of the worst,” and worse.

Most people have not left home with their family saying, “Be careful, see you when you get home,” and know they’re saying it because they worry the next time they see their loved one will be at their funeral service. “Killed in the line of duty” is what the bloggers and reporters will say.

Sure, you all know what goes on during a police officer’s shift—fights, domestic calls, shootings, stabbings, drug dealers, rapists, and killers of all shapes and sizes.

But what those of you who’ve never “been there, done that” cannot honestly and accurately detail the sounds heard when someone take a shot at you. No, not the actual gunshot. Its the other noises that help bring super-cool details to your stories.

To learn about those sounds, let’s pretend we’re the officer who’s just been the target of a bad guy’s gunfire. We’re chasing the suspect through alleys and paths that wind through dark wooded areas, all while knowing the guy has a gun and he’s definitely not afraid to use it.

Can’t see your hand in front of your face, so you stop and listen. And then it happens …

That eerie calm.

It causes the hairs on the back of your neck to stand tall and straight. Goose bumps come to attention on your arms. A lone pea-sized bead of sweat worms its way down your spine, easing through the space between your pants and the bare skin of your waistline. It feels oddly cool against your fear-warmed flesh.

If this occurred in a movie there would be, of course, background music. So let’s do this right. Hit the play button, take a sip of your coffee, or tea, and then read on to learn about A Cop’s Nighttime Melody.

 

10-4, I’ll take this one …

The call came in as “Shots Fired. Suspect is armed with a handgun and caller advises he is still at the residence and is threatening to kill responding officers.”

I was working the county alone so I asked the dispatcher to request backup from a nearby city and from the state police. The trooper in our county was also working alone. Our roles differed, though. He was out on the interstate writing traffic tickets while I responded to the usual plethora of calls. Either way, we were alone when we approached whatever situation was before us, be it stopping a stolen car with dark tinted windows or heading toward a house where I knew a man was waiting to kill me.

The sound of a police radio is far different when it’s heard late at night as opposed to the same radio traffic during daylight hours. Its an unexplained phenomena. It could be that dark skies and night air create different acoustics. Or that working the graveyard shift forces dispatchers to work really hard to battle “the thing” that comes out at night to squeeze their emotions into submission. They typically lose the fight which results in a manner of speech that’s without feeling, inflection, and dynamics.

Nighttime radio traffic echoes and travels far. It’s weird and out of place among the stars and creamy moonlight. Dispatchers drone on like robots … “Robbery at …” “Wife says husband hit her …” “Lost child …” “Possible drug overdose at …” “Loud music at …” “Peeping Tom at …” “Customer refuses to pay at …” Shoplifter at …” “Dead body in river …” Dead body in park …” “Shots fired …” “Shots fired …” “Man stabbed at …” Shots fired …”

Back to the man who wanted to kill me

I acknowledged the call with a “10-4, I’m en-route.” Then I hooked the radio mic back into the metal “U-shaped” clip connected to the dashboard. Next I pushed one of the many red toggle switches mounted into the center console.

With the push of the button, a faint click occurred simultaneously with the eruption of pulsating blue light. I stepped on the gas and heard the engine come to life. Since I was miles out in the country there was no need for the siren. Not yet.

I pushed the pedal toward the floor until I was cruising along at 70 mph. Believe me, that was pretty fast considering the curvy, hilly road that was before me.

There are no streetlights in the country. It’s super dark. Blue light reflects from trees, shrubbery, houses, mailboxes, passing cars, and telephone poles. It also reflects from the white lines painted on the pavement.

Meanwhile, the radio traffic continues with updates for me and with traffic from city officers and the trooper out on the interstate … “Use caution. Driver of the vehicle is wanted for a homicide in …”

My car radio played in the background. The Oak Ridge Boys went on and on about Bobbie Sue and Elvira while I attempted to straighten the curves by hitting my marks—drive low in the curves, on both sides of the road. Never at the apex. Unless a car is coming in the opposite direction or you cannot see far enough ahead to safely do so.

The blue strobes mounted on top of the car make a clicking sound with the start of each flash. The wig-wag headlamps do the same. The roadway is very uneven with a few cracks and potholes scattered about. They cause the patrol car to dip and roll. The extra pair of handcuffs I and many other cops keep handy by hanging them from the spotlight handle that protrudes from the post between the windshield and driver’s door, sway back and forth and bang together causing a constant click, click, click noise. The sounds are out of sync.

I switched off my lights a ways before reaching the scene—didn’t want to shooter to know  I was there—and stopped my car on the shoulder, a bit down the road from the driveway. I called the dispatcher on the phone to let her know I’d arrived. The use of the phone was in case the bad guy was listening to a scanner. I turned down the volume on my police radio. Way down. Remember, the sound travels far. I wished backup didn’t have to do the same (travel far).

I opened my car door slowly to avoid making any noise. The interior light was not operational—disconnected in police cars to prevent illuminating the officer and/or blinding them to goings-on outside the vehicle.

As I slid from the seat my leather gun belt creaked and squeaked and groaned, as leather does when rubbed against other leather or similar material. To me, the sound was as loud as fourth of July fireworks. My car keys (in my pants pocket) jingled slightly with each step. So I used a hand to hold them against my leg. The other hand was on my pistol.

I walked up to the house to peek into a window before knocking on the door. I wanted to see if I could, well, see anything. But, as I closed in on the side the house a large mixed breed dog stepped into view, showing its teeth and upper gums. The animal with matted-hair and a crooked tail growled one of those slow, easy rumbles that comes from somewhere deep inside. I held out a hand for it to sniff. It backed into the shadows.

A quick peek inside revealed a family of five. A woman with two black eyes and three crying children. Two girls, not quite teenagers, but close, probably, and a wiggling and squirming baby. A man stood near a tattered recliner and tall floor lamp. He held a pump shotgun in his right hand. At the moment, the barrel was aimed toward the floor. He yelled a few obscenities and started to pace. Then he looked straight at me, or at least it seemed like he looked at me.

My heart pounded against the inside of my chest. It bumped so hard I could hear the sound it made with each beat.

Thump. Thump. Thump.

From somewhere deep in the shadows.

Grrrr …….. Growl …..

From inside the home.

A baby crying.

A woman pleads and sobs.

A young girl. “Please, Daddy. No more!”

Sirens wail in the distance, beyond the black tree line that connects sky with earth. Sounds travel further at night, right?

The air-conditioning unit beneath the window snaps on. Its compressor humming and fan whirring. The metal casing rattles slightly. Probably missing a screw or two.

A Cop’s Nighttime Melody Approaches the Finale

I knew what I had to do and started toward the door with my leather shoes and gun belt squeaking and keys jingling and heart thumping. As I reached for the knob I took a deep breath.

The expansion of my chest pulled at the Velcro that held my vest tightly against my torso.

Crackle. Crackle. Crackle.

Right behind me now.

Grrr …. Growl …

Crying.

Screaming. 

Whir.

Thump. Thump. Thump!

Jingle

Squeak.

The door.

Turn and push.

“Drop the gun!”

BANG!

BANG!

Thump. Thump. Thump.

Crying.

And crying.

“10-4. Send the coroner.”

So, my friends, those are the sounds of working the graveyard shift … A Cop’s Nighttime Melody.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*This is a repeat post per request. Thanks!


By the way, we are preparing a big announcement regarding the 2018 Writers’ Police Academy. Believe it or not, the event just became even more exciting. Extremely exciting, actually. Never before offered at a writers conference, or to non-law enforcement. This is big and it’s a fantastic opportunity!

Everyone, especially well-informed writers, know that cops must obtain a search warrant prior to searching people and places, when doing so without permission. And, to convince a judge to sign off on a search warrant officers must present the probable cause they believe exists.

Those same officers may not force or coerce a suspect to confess or otherwise incriminate themselves. Defendants in criminal cases are entitled to a trial by jury and they must be provided an attorney to represent them if they cannot afford to hire one. They are entitled to have the case against them proved beyond a reasonable doubt, or not. They may not be properly imprisoned, and they must be prosecuted under a true law. One that, without a doubt, outlines an illegal act.

In other words, the hands of the police are tied up quite nicely when it comes to protections of the rights of citizens. Doesn’t mean those rights are not occasionally violated (intentionally, or not), but these hard and fast rules are spelled out in back and white.

The above, however, are the rules pertaining to police officers and their actions relating to criminal cases and searche. They also pertain to the rights of the targets of those investigations. But how do those laws affect the CDC and their quest to safeguard the world against the threat of  disease and/or bioterrorism?

Here’s an eye-opener!

Under the police power authority granted  by the constitution, public health officials may search and seize without probable-cause and/or a warrants. They’re legally permitted to take enforcement actions without court hearings. In fact, courts defer to the discretion of public health officials.

Public health officials have an enormous amount of flexibility when it comes to creating and designing and implementing enforcement strategies and planning. Here’s the icing on the cake—they must only prove their cases by a “more probable than not” standard. And this holds up when or if the actions are challenged in court.

The doctrine of state “police power” was adopted in early America from English common law principles. Those ideologies directed the restriction of an individual’s rights when needed for safeguarding of the common good (stop the spread of disease or other serious health and safety issues).

Today, when we hear the phrase “police powers” we tend to think of the authority granted to police officers that permits them to legally arrest criminal suspects. However, “police powers” is not a term that’s equal with criminal enforcement tactics, techniques, and procedures. Instead, the police powers granted, by law, to the CDC and other public health agencies, including federal, local, and state public health officials, authorizes them to develop and enforce civil self-protection rules.

In short, public health police power allows each state to enforce isolation and quarantine, health, and inspection laws. And, simply put, this is to help prevent the spread of disease.

Now, all of this does not mean there are gun-toting, handcuff-bearing CDC cops who break down doors to haul out family members who’re suffering from a bad and highly contagious case of Ebolasyphhlianthraxiosis. But feel free to assume that the CDC is mindful of the threats to our borders regarding bioterrorism. After all, who knows what could slip onto our shores under the cover of darkness.

Still, when health officials deal with folks who need arresting or non-compliant confinement, they call on the local, state, or federal law enforcement officials for assistance.

“Police powers of the states are an expression of civil authority.” ~ National Institute of Health

 

The National Institute of Health (NIH) went on to state that police powers are a state’s ability to control, regulate, or prohibit non-criminal behavior. Health officials, they say, may use these police powers to mandate treatment, prohibit or direct a particular conduct, or to detain and isolate, which, ironically, is incarceration of a quasi-criminal nature. And they can hold you for as long as they deem necessary. Remember, too, the earlier mention that courts typically defer to public health officials and do not intervene.

Separation of civil authority from law enforcement

To sum up:

  • Public health police powers are an expression of the civil, not criminal, authority of the state.
  • Criminal and civil enforcement of laws must remain separate. Public health officials should never become a part of criminal law enforcement because doing so would restrict their capabilities to “act now” in the event of a bioterrorism attack, or in the event of an outbreak of a contagious and deadly disease. They’d then be subjected to criminal law regarding search and seizure, probable cause, and even safeguarding a person’s presumption of innocence.
  • CDC officials are NOT police officers.
  • CDC officials have the power to isolate and quarantine.
  • Public health officials and law enforcement work hand-in-hand, especially in cases of bioterrorism.

Per the CDC:

Isolation and Quarantine

Isolation and quarantine help protect the public by preventing exposure to people who have or may have a contagious disease.

  • Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick.
  • Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.

In addition to serving as medical functions, isolation and quarantine also are “police power” functions, derived from the right of the state to take action affecting individuals for the benefit of society.


Okay, today I decided to do something different. To give your weary eyes a brief break from writing and reading, I’ve added a small bit of audio (my voice) to the blog. Please click to play the clip before moving on. Yes, that’s me and yes I’m still trying figure out how to do this. In the meantime, I appreciate your patience. You’re going to need it …  🙂

To properly and effectively AND safely apply handcuffs is a skill that must be practiced. After all, in the field it must come instinctively since officers are often required to apply handcuffs to extremely strong people. And these are usually people who have no desire whatsoever to have those cuffs snapped onto their wrists. This, too, is the reason most officers prefer to carry chain-link handcuffs. Hinged cuffs are typically used when transporting prisoners. They’re perfect for limiting wrist and hand movement.

Handcuffing is taught during the basic police academy. We, too, teach handcuffing techniques at the Writers’ Police Academy as you can see in the photos below.

2017 Writers Police Academy—Defensive Tactics

 

2017 Writers Police Academy—handcuffing

 

2017 Writers Police Academy—Defensive Tactics

*Openings are available to attend the 2018 Writers’ Police Academy.

Those of you who’ve visited this site over the years know that cordite is a big NO and that cops are NOT required to spout off Miranda rights the second they apply handcuffs to the wrists of an offender. You do remember those two points, right?

For the newcomers, here’s a quick refresher on the reading of rights (click the above link to read more about cordite).

Miranda

When is a police officer required to advise a suspect of the Miranda warnings? Well, I’ll give you a hint, it’s not like we see on television. Surprised?

Television shows officers spouting off Miranda warnings the second they have someone in cuffs. Not so. I’ve been in plenty of situations where I chased a suspect, caught him, he resisted, and then we wound up on the ground fighting like street thugs while I struggled to apply handcuffs to his wrists. I can promise you I had a few words to say after I pulled the scuz to his feet, but Miranda wasn’t one of them. Too many letters. At that point, I could only think of words of the four letter variety.

Custodial Interrogation

Two elements must be in place for the Miranda warning requirement to apply.

  • The suspect must be in custody
  • He must be undergoing interrogation (advisement of Miranda comes prior to questioning, while in custody).

A suspect is in police custody if he’s under formal arrest or if his freedom has been restrained or denied to the extent that he feels as if he’s no longer free to leave.

This fellow is not free to leave.

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Interrogation is not only asking questions, but any actions, words, or gestures used by an officer to elicit an incriminating response can be considered as an interrogation.

If these two elements are in place officers must advise a suspect of the Miranda warnings prior to questioning. If not, statements made by the suspect may not be used in court. The absence of Miranda doesn’t mean the arrest isn’t good, just that his statements aren’t admissible.

Officers are not required to advise anyone of their rights if they’re not going to ask questions. Defendants are convicted all the time without ever hearing that sing-songy police officer’s poem,  You have the right to …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deception and Lying: Do As I Say, Not As I Do

We all know that it’s illegal to lie to the FBI. And we all know what can happen if you do. That’s right, you go to federal prison where you’ll join the elite Martha Stewart Club.

Making false statements (18 U.S.C. § 1001) is a federal crime laid out in Section 1001 of Title 18 of the United States Code. This is the law that prohibits knowingly and willfully telling fibs to the cops.

On the other hand, it’s perfectly fine for the cops to lie to you. Seems fair.

Police detectives/officers are legally permitted to “stretch the truth  lie in order to solve criminal cases. The case law that permits the officers to fib to suspects is Frazier v. Cupp (1969).

In Frazier, the police falsely told murder suspect Martin E. Frazier that his cousin, Jerry Lee Rawls, had implicated him in the crime (the two were together at the time). He then confessed but later claimed that police shouldn’t be permitted to lie because otherwise he wouldn’t have admitted guilt. The Supreme Court agreed with the police and they’ve been legally fibbing to crooks every day since.

Police investigators use a variety of deceptive tactics, such as:

  • Displaying false sympathy and/or claiming to understand the situation
  • Minimizing the seriousness of the offense and the offenders role
  • Falsely stating there is hard evidence to support a conviction
  • Confession from an accomplice that implicates the suspect
  • And the ever popular, “We have an eyewitness who saw you there.” 

The Florida Second District Court of Appeal went a bit further by limiting just how far the  police can go when stretching the truth. In Florida v. Cayward (1989), the court ruled that it’s perfectly okay to tell fibs (orally) but they may not fabricate evidence in order to deceive suspects. Cayward claimed the police fabricated laboratory reports as a trick to induce a confession. It worked and he spilled the beans. However, the court said police crossed the line and ruled in Cayward’s favor and suppressed the confession.

To sum up – Don’t lie to the cops, and …

 

 

I’m sorry, but some people are simply not designed to be cops. There, I’ve said it. And it’s true.

Ask any police officer and they’ll tell you that it takes a special kind of person to successfully wear a gun and badge. Sure, “law dawgs” come in all shapes, sizes, skin colors, and from varying backgrounds. But there was one officer who shouldn’t have made it past the interview stage, and that cop was quickly nicknamed “The Little Cop Who Couldn’t.”

First of all, for the purpose of this blog we need to assign a name to the officer—a gender-neutral name. Therefore, it’ll be up to you to paint your own mental picture of him/her. And the name I choose is Pat (could go either way with this one – remember Pat on SNL?).

The story goes something like this…

Pat was a unique police officer who stood at a towering 4’10” tall, with shoes on. Not a single supply company stocked police uniforms in child sizes, so Pat’s clothing had to be specially made and ordered from the good folks who live inside trees and bake and sell cookies to support their lifestyle. Even then, a good bit of tailoring had to be done, snipping here and stitching there, to insure a proper fit. And if someone had bronzed Pat’s work shoes they’d have looked a lot like “baby’s first shoes.”

During basic training, one of the practical exercises for the class was to direct traffic at a busy city intersection. Trainees were required to be in full uniform for the exercise, including hats. Well, they just don’t make police hats that small, so Pat borrowed one from a fellow classmate, looking like a kid playing dress-up in adult clothing.

 

Anyway, the trainee who’d just completed his turn in the intersection stopped traffic from all four directions so Pat could assume the position in the middle of the street. With arms outstretched and a short blast from a whistle, Pat then sharply and crisply motioned for one lane of traffic to move forward. All was going well until Pat gave the whistle another tweet to stop the oncoming traffic, and then turned to the left to start the next lane of traffic moving. Well, Pat’s tiny head turned left, rotating inside the cap, but the too-large hat remained facing forward. The entire class erupted is laughter.

Punching Bag

Pat once responded to a shoplifting call—an 11-year-old girl swiped a candy bar from a local K-Mart—and just as Pat was about to enter the store the little kid ran outside. Pat grabbed the little darlin’ who immediately pushed Pat down to the pavement. Pat got up and grabbed the 70-ish-pound kid and it was on.

According to bystanders, who, by the way, called 911 to report an officer needing assistance, the child was absolutely beating the tar out of Pat. One witness told responding officers that Pat resembled one of those blow-up clown punching bags that pops back upright after each blow.

Then there was the time when Pat’s fellow officers responded to a large fight outside a local bar. The dispatcher cautioned that weapons were involved and several people were already injured and down. Pat was in the middle answering a domestic he-said/she-said when the call came in.

Responding officers saw the large crowd and immediately called for backup, which, at that point, meant calling in sheriff’s deputies and state troopers, since every available officer, except Pat, was already on the scene. The fight was a tough battle and officers and bad guys were basically going at it toe-to-toe and blow-for-blow. Officers were outnumbered 4-to-1, at least.

And then they heard it … a lone siren wailing and yelping in the distance, like the sound of a ship’s horn mournfully floating across vast salt water marshes at low tide. Soon, intermittent flashes of blue light began to reflect from brick storefronts and plate glass windows. And then, out of the darkness appeared Pat’s patrol car, bearing down on the parking lot and the fight that was well underway.

File:London Polizei-Einsatz.gif

Pat didn’t bother stopping at the curb. Instead, the tiny officer, who by the way, had to sit on a pillow to see over the steering wheel (no, I’m not kidding), pulled the car directly into the parking lot beside the action, flung open the car door, and stepped out.

You Must Be “This” Tall

Well, stepped out … sort of. Pat’s pistol somehow had become entangled in the seat belt, which sort of reeled Pat back into the car like a Yo-Yo on the upswing. Pat’s Maglite hit the pavement, coming apart and spilling batteries in all sorts of directions. The pillow fell out of the car and slid beneath the vehicle. And the hat. Yes, the little cop wore the cop/bus driver hat, which, of course remained motionless while Pat’s softball-size head spun around like a lighthouse beacon as he/she surveyed the scene.

Suddenly, as if a magic spell had been cast, the fight stopped, with everyone turning to watch “The Pat Show” unfold. Even the bad guys chuckled at the ridiculousness before them—Pat on hands and knees retrieving lost gear and, of course, the pillow. But, at least the fight was over.

By the way, Pat’s hands were so small that the department had to purchase a pistol that’s a bit smaller than standard cop issue, but Pat’s index finger was still too short to reach the trigger. Instead, he/she learned to shoot using his/her middle finger to pull the trigger. Didn’t matter, because Pat failed to shoot a satisfactory score on the range during the first annual weapons qualification.

So I guess the true test of becoming a solid police officer is not how strong the desire or how big the heart, it’s how well the head fits the hat. And, of course, they must be “this tall” to drive a police car.

Halloween Safety Tips

The Graveyard Shift wishes everyone a Happy Halloween! Have fun, but please stay safe.

Halloween Safety Tips For Kids

– Avoid costumes that greatly reduce visibility or are too dark for motorists to see. Apply face paint instead. It’s safer than bulky masks.

– Plan the route you and your children will take well in advance. Tell someone else about those plans and what time you’ll return home.

– Stick to well-lit areas.

– Attach reflective tape to costumes.

– Use fire-resistant materials in costumes.

– Carry a flashlight or glow stick, but not a lighted candle. Candles are burn hazards.

– Trick-or-treat in groups, accompanied by at least one adult.

– Attach kid’s names, address, and phone number to their clothes in case they become separated from adults.

– Teach children to exit and enter vehicles from curbside, away from traffic.

– Stay on sidewalks as much as possible, and cross at corners. Do not walk between parked cars. Always look both ways before crossing.

– Children should not eat candy while out, until an adult examines it. Candy should not show signs of improper sealing, punctures, or holes.

– Do not allow children into apartment buildings unless accompanied by an adult, and only visit homes with outside lighting.

– Residents should remove obstacles and trip hazards, such as tools, ladders, and toys from their sidewalks, porches and front yards.

– Keep lighted jack-o-lanterns away from porches or other areas where they could ignite a low-hanging costume.

– Do NOT allow your kids to carry any toy gun as part of their costume, especially those toys that look like the real thing, even if the tips of the barrels are painted orange. The orange color doesn’t show well at night, if at all.

Halloween Safety Tips For Officers

Working as a police officer on Halloween poses special challenges. Think about it. In a world where someone wearing a mask is normally thought to be up to no good, you’re suddenly faced with scores of masked citizens. Kids are out and about darting in and out of traffic. They’re excited and and may not listen as well as they normally would, or should. And practical jokes often go horribly wrong. Needless to say, it can be a wild and trying night for cops.

Here’s a short list of tips for officers working the streets on one of their busiest nights of the year.

1. Stay alert. If it looks wrong, then it probably is.

2. Carry copies of outstanding warrants with you—the people you’ve been unable to locate. This is the one night when the dummies will probably answer the door thinking you’re a trick-or-treater.

3. Carry candy in your patrol car. It’s the perfect time to show kids that you’re really one of the good guys.

4. Watch out for lone costumed adults, or those walking in groups. They’re probably up to no good.

5. Watch out for people tossing things from overpasses. For some reason, Halloween seems to be THE night to bomb police cars with bricks, rocks, and pumpkins.

6. Be alert for kids and adults who wear actual guns as part of their costumes.

7. Park your patrol car and walk for a while. Mingle with the trick-or-treaters. Keep them safe. It also keeps the bad guys guessing your next move. Besides, it’s a good idea to mix things up. Patrol your areas in a different order. Never get into a set routine (this goes for the rest of the year, too).

8. Drive slower than normal. Watch for kids!

9. Keep an eye on the registered sex offenders in your area. They aren’t allowed to pass out candy. They shouldn’t be opening the door for any kids. And they shouldn’t have Halloween decorations displayed in their yard or on the house. Pay them a pre-Halloween visit to remind them of their court-ordered restrictions.

10. I preferred to patrol with my car window down, even in the winter time. Halloween is the only night of the year when I didn’t. Too many flying objects!

11. If possible, have extra officers working the streets on foot, in plain clothes.

12. Bring plenty of extra handcuffs. You’ll probably need them before the night is over.

13. Please, please, please wear your vest!

And to everyone else…

Jerome, a professional thief and drug addict who was no stranger to judges, cops, and attorneys, sat on a well-worn wooden bench outside a courtroom door. His attire for the day … an orange jumpsuit and handcuffs and ankle chains and white rubber shower shoes. The tile beneath his feet was scratched and dented and dull.

If those walls could talk

The wall behind Jerome was painted a mint green color and had a row of individual greasy head-shaped stains above each of the benches lining the hallway, stains left behind by the men and women who’d committed crimes ranging from petty theft to killing and butchering other humans.

Jerome was nervous and scared. He was also once a dear friend of mine.

Our bond began when we were teammates on our school football squad. We were the meanest and nastiest linebackers around and together we were practically unbeatable. In fact, it wasn’t unusual at all for an opposing team to go scoreless against us, and part of that success was due to Jerome’s and my (mostly Jerome) hard hits at the middle of the line, along with our regular sackings of quarterbacks.

Back in the day, Jerome was big and muscular and could run as fast as a frightened deer. He also carried a high GPA. The guy was smart, witty, and popular. He didn’t smoke, nor did he drink alcohol, and he was quite outspoken when it came to condemning drug use. He had hopes of getting out of the projects and attending the University of North Carolina, and possibly a career in the NFL. Drugs and alcohol were not a part of that picture.

In those days, our football days, my friend was a bit vain, though. He spent a lot of time grooming in front of mirrors, storefront windows, or any other reflective surface capable of returning his image.

He carried an Afro pick in his back pocket and frequently pulled it out to work on his hair, and he was forever mopping and rubbing and slopping gobs of lotion on his arms and face until his molasses-colored skin shone like new money. His perfectly-aligned teeth gleamed like the white keys on a showroom Steinway. And, for a big, beefy and manly guy, he smelled a bit like lavender garnished with a hint of coconut.

There in the courthouse, though, Jerome appeared weak and sickly. He was rail thin and his complexion was muddy. The whites of his once bright eyes were the color of rotting lemons; their rims, and the edges of his nostrils, were damp, just on the edge of leaking trails of tears and mucus.

His hands shook, and his teeth, the remaining ones, were spattered with black pits of rot and decay. His breath smelled like a week-old animal carcass. His fingernails were bitten to the quick and his hair was dry, uncombed, had bits of lint and jail-blanket fuzz scattered throughout, and it was flat on one side like he’d been asleep for days without changing positions. He smelled like the combination of old sweat and the bottom of a dirty, wet ashtray.

THE HIGH

  • A private joy.
  • A warmth that filled my body like no other.
  • Sheer pleasure.

With a few minutes to kill before my first case was called, I took a seat beside Jerome, with my gun side away from him, of course. I asked him why he continued to use a drug that was ruining his life and could eventually kill him. His lips split into a faint grin and then he said, “Imagine the most intense orgasm you’ve ever had, then multiply it a thousand times. That’s how it feels just as the stuff starts winding it’s way through your system. Then it really starts to get good. So yeah, that’s why I do it.”

Heroin (r) south east asian (L) south west asian

He clasped his hands over his belly, stretched his gangly legs out in front of him, and he started talking, telling me about the first time he got high and about the last time he used, and he spoke about everything between. He told me about about the things he stole to support his habit and he told me about breaking into his own grandmother’s house to take a few of her most prized possessions, things he traded to his dealer in exchange for drugs.

Prostitution for Drugs

Jerome told me he performed oral sex on men out at the rest area beside the highway. They, the many, many nameless truckers and travelers, had given him ten dollars each time he entered one of the stalls to do the deed. He described the urine smell and how disgusted he was with himself when he felt the knees of his pants grow wet from contacting whatever was on the tile floor at the time. But whatever it took to get the next high was what he’d do.

Once, a man asked him for anal sex. He was desperate, so he agreed. Jerome said he was to earn twenty-dollars for enduring that painful and humiliating experience, all the while knowing the people in nearby stalls could hear what was going on. He said he’d read the graffiti on the wall above the toilet as a means to take his mind off the obese man behind him. When it was over the man pulled up his pants and left Jerome in the stall, crying. The man didn’t pay.

Jerome told me that he wasn’t gay—despised having sex with men is what he said, but he did it for the high, even though he often vomited afterward when recalling what he’d done. But the drug was more important. It was THE most important thing in his life.

Heroin Fentanyl pills

$1,000 per day habit

My high-school buddy’s habit cost him a thousand-dollars each day, seven days a week, unless he wasn’t able to produce the funds. Then he’d grow sick with the sickest feeling on earth. The hurt was deep, way down to his very core. Even his bones hurt. He’d sweat and he’d vomit … and vomit and vomit and vomit until the pain in his gut felt like someone inside was using a hundred power drills and another hundred jackhammers to assault his brain and lungs and emotions. His heart would slam against his chest wall like a sledgehammer pounding railroad stakes into hard-packed Georgia clay.

Then he’d drop to his knees in another restroom, or steal another something that would help make it all go away until the next time. And he’d do it over and over and over again.

Hydrocodone

Jerome was lucky. He was caught by a deputy sheriff who was passing by a house and saw Jerome climbing out—feet first—from a bedroom window.

He was awaiting arraignment the day I saw him sitting on the bench outside the courtroom door. A dozen or so other jail inmates occupied the nearby seats.

Jerome asked if I would call his grandmother to tell her he said he was sorry for all he’d done, and that he was starting to feel better and was ready to seek help as soon as he was back on the outside. I told him I’d tell her. Actually, I went one step further and stopped by her house to tell her in person.

Now, I said Jerome was lucky, and I say this because going to jail prevented him from using the drug he grown to so desperately depend upon. His body ached for it, yes, but he beat the sickness and lived.

Unfortunately, many have died because of that same ache.


Federal Sentencing Table

How much prison time (for various crimes) could someone receive in federal court? Here’s the breakdown.

Click here.


Drugs Are the Root of All Evil

Police Procedure and Investigation

Drugs, Not Money, Are the Root of All Evil – Chapter 11 of Police Procedure and Investigation


Oregon to reduce felony drug crimes to misdemeanors

The state of Oregon recently passed a bill to reduce some drug crimes from felonies to misdemeanors—possession of small, usable (typically not enough to sell) quantities of methadone, oxycodone, heroin, MDMA, cocaine, and methamphetamine. An offender is allowed two arrests before prosecutors may up the ante and charge the suspect with a felony. Officials say the law will help addicts, and that it will help reduce the number of minorities incarcerated in jails and prisons. They say the current laws unfairly target people of color.

The bold move is also a means, officials say, to help prevent offenders/users/addicts from falling into the lifelong situation of being unable to secure decent housing, good jobs, vote (in some areas), and even an education (student loans are denied because of some drug convictions).

For those people, there is absolutely no light at the end of a lifelong tunnel. No second chances, no matter what. Many grow weary of always living at the bottom rung of the ladder without a support system of any type, working menial jobs, if they can get a job, that is, and living in crappy apartments because a background check prevented them from renting in a nicer, drug-dealer-free neighborhood. So they re-offend and back to prison they go.

Keep in mind, state law does not supersede federal law, which still squarely places the above list of illegal drugs in the felony category. Therefore, arrested for small quantities of drugs by local Oregon police = misdemeanor. Arrested by the feds, in the same location, for possession of the same quantity (any amount) = felony. However, it’s highly unlikely the FBI, ATF, or DEA are planning to kick in Daryl Dope’s front door over $12 worth of cocaine. But they could.


Drug Schedules

Schedule I

Schedule I drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Some examples of Schedule I drugs are:

heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana (cannabis), 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy), methaqualone, and peyote

Schedule II

Schedule II drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with a high potential for abuse, with use potentially leading to severe psychological or physical dependence. These drugs are also considered dangerous. Some examples of Schedule II drugs are:

Combination products with less than 15 milligrams of hydrocodone per dosage unit (Vicodin), cocaine, methamphetamine, methadone, hydromorphone (Dilaudid), meperidine (Demerol), oxycodone (OxyContin), fentanyl, Dexedrine, Adderall, and Ritalin

Schedule III

Schedule III drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with a moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence. Schedule III drugs abuse potential is less than Schedule I and Schedule II drugs but more than Schedule IV. Some examples of Schedule III drugs are:

Products containing less than 90 milligrams of codeine per dosage unit (Tylenol with codeine), ketamine, anabolic steroids, testosterone

Schedule IV

Schedule IV drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with a low potential for abuse and low risk of dependence. Some examples of Schedule IV drugs are:

Xanax, Soma, Darvon, Darvocet, Valium, Ativan, Talwin, Ambien, Tramadol

Schedule V

Schedule V drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with lower potential for abuse than Schedule IV and consist of preparations containing limited quantities of certain narcotics. Schedule V drugs are generally used for antidiarrheal, antitussive, and analgesic purposes. Some examples of Schedule V drugs are: cough preparations with less than 200 milligrams of codeine or per 100 milliliters (Robitussin AC), Lomotil, Motofen, Lyrica, Parepectolin.


Felony arrest warrant served/executed by me after a stop and frisk led to guns, drugs, and cash.

 

Each year as a means to help support the mega-beast known as the Writers’ Police Academy, the event features a raffle and silent auction. It’s fun. Really fun.

Well, since we tend to offer some unusual items not typically available anywhere else, and after receiving so many requests to allow non-attendees to participate in the auction, we pondered the idea and, in 2016, decided to offer a few items for sealed bids. The move was a huge success, thanks to each of you!

Sealed Bid Auction – Open to Everyone!

This year we’re offering five exciting items for sealed bids. These are available to the public, therefore anyone and everyone is welcome to participate.

How Do I …

  • To win the prize/item you so badly desire, simply send your bids to 2017WPAuction@gmail.com.

  • Type BID in the subject line along with with the name of the item, e.g. BID Guitar or BID Script or  BID Critique, etc.

  • In the body of the message please state the dollar amount of your bid (e.g. – “My bid for the signed guitar is $1 Zillion Dollars.”).

Also, please include your full contact information.


Bids will remain a secret until bidding closes at midnight PST, Saturday August 12, 2017. You need not be present at the WPA to win. Attendees of the 2017 may submit sealed auction bids as well, and the same rules apply.


Sealed bids are in addition to the raffle and silent auction items available at the event. You must be present to participate in the raffle and silent auction.


And now … The Items …

 

Oak Ridge Boys – Signed Guitar and CD

A guitar and CD signed by the legendary Grammy-winning Oak Ridge Boys. This unique item is a wonderful addition to any room in the house. I have one in our den, a gift from my wife who, by the way, spent big bucks for it at the auction. Superstar author Lee Child placed the winning bid a few years ago and he, too, has one of these signed beauties in his Manhattan office. WPA instructor/Detective Marco Conelli is another owner of one of these prized guitars. (In case you didn’t know, Marco is also a singer-songwriter/frontman for his own band in NYC).


Murder, She Wrote – Signed Script

Murder, She Wrote script signed by head writer/showrunner Thomas B. Sawyer. Tom also served as Head Writer/Showrunner or Producer on 15 network TV series. He has sold and written TV movies, 9 series pilots, 100 episodes, both comedy and drama. This script is a must-have prize of epic proportion, especially so for Murder, She Wrote fans, and writers of all genres.


Seat at a “For Law Enforcement ONLY” Gang Conference

This is HUGE! We have two seats available to a “law enforcement only” gang conference.
Police K-9That’s right, for the first time EVER, two lucky writers will have the opportunity learn and train side-by-side with top police investigators, all at a conference where outsiders are not permitted. That’s right, you’d be the ONLY writer privy to insider information about developing and maintaining confidential informants—gang-related, so this is especially tough for cops—human trafficking, how gangs infiltrate communities, Asian gangs, gangs and social media, and much, much more. This is a rare and EXCITING OPPORTUNITY that’s not available to the public.


A Complete Pond for Your Home

Cool indoor/outdoor pond.

A pond! No, your eyes are not playing tricks on you. We have available for you a wonderful indoor/outdoor pond. It stands appr. 2-feet tall and appr. 4-feet across (appr. 40-50 gallons). The pond comes with everything you need. Well, you’ll have to supply water, plants, and fish, of course, but the rest—pump, liner, filters, plant baskets, light kits, etc.—are included in this package. Denene and I have one and we love everything about it, from the soothing sounds of the fountain to watching and feeding the goldfish to watching hummingbirds bathe beneath the fountain spray. This pond (retail value over $500) is absolutely COOL! Ours has provided countless hours of joy for us, especially seeing hummingbirds zip in to drink from the fountain spray and to bathes beneath the shower. It’s perfect for indoors as well. We’ve arranged to have the pond shipped directly to you from the warehouse (Assembly is required – takes approximately one hour and is remarkably simple. Hey, I did it).


Manuscript Critique by Top Harlequin Editor!

Ann Leslie Tuttle, Senior Editor at Harlequin Books is offering a critique of a synopsis and first chapter (up to 25 pages). How exciting, and what a wonderful means to place your work on the desk of a top editor!

ABOUT ANN LESLIE TUTTLE

Ann Leslie is actively acquires for HQN Books, MIRA and Harlequin/Silhouette Books, she is especially interested in finding paranormal romance and commercial literary fiction. Ann Leslie has acquired trade, hardcover and mass market titles with critical and bestselling potential. Edits an diverse author base, including NYT, USA Today and international bestselling authors Sylvia Day, Julia London, Megan Hart, Vanessa Fewings, Lisa Renee Jones and Rachael Johns. She manages lines of contemporary romance and special projects, including e-books. She is a popular speaker at writer conferences, including the Australia and New Zealand conferences in 2015.

**FINE PRINT**

The manuscript will be of standard manuscript formatting.  The names of the winners will be provided by the WPA to Jenna Kernan who will let Ann Leslie Tuttle know to expect your material for critique

*This prize was acquired by author Jenna Kernan for WPA.


When does this cool opportunity begin?

Right NOW! Yes, you are free to begin submitting bids this very moment. So … GOOD LUCK!! And, yes, we still have a few available spots at the Writers’ Police Academy. See you soon.


Special Notice!

To add to the fun, we will also be hosting a live auction of a few special items. Tami Hoag (that’s right, THE Tami Hoag) is the 2017 auctioneer. She is joined by author JD Allen. This is going to be a real hoot! Details coming soon.


Proceeds are combined with overall WPA funds and go toward overall event expenses, the opening ceremonies (featuring the blessing of the WPA by the Oneida Nation dancers, Miss Oneida, tribal elders), and a student scholarship funded by the WPA. Remember, the WPA takes place on the Oneida Indian Reservation (hotel, academy, and college).

*Winners will be notified by email. We will attempt to contact winners three times (one every other day, starting on August15, 2017), so please check your spam folders. If we do not receive a reply with five day after the third message is sent we will move on to the next highest bidder, and so on until the prize is claimed. Funds to secure bids must be made via WPA PayPal. Once we’ve established contact with the winners we will provide payment details. Items will ship/can be claimed once payment is received.