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It’s NEW. It’s UNIQUE. It’s SPECTACULAR.

And it’s never been done before, anywhere. Not in the U.S. Not anywhere else in the world, and, as far as we know, not in this galaxy.

You, my good friends, have the opportunity to attend an event that’s so special and so very rare that, well, it’s an event that many police homicide investigators would give their eyeteeth to experience—the chance to participate in world-class training at the 130 acre elite Sirchie training facility near Raleigh, N.C.

As a patrol officer and later as a detective, I used Sirchie products to help solve more crimes than I could possibly begin to count, from simple B&E’s to Murder and Murder for Hire

To give you an idea of just how impressive the Sirchie facilities truly are, please join me on my first in-person visit there, back when I was hoping to convince Sirchie officials to help writers “get it right.” It went something like this (from one of my blog posts from several years ago) …

“t was nearly seven years ago to the day when I first made the three-hour drive from our North Carolina home to the Sirchie Fingerprint Laboratories compound. 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 around Raleigh and headed through the opening in the metal gates. The long driveway leading to the facility was split by a row shade trees. A nice touch.

Two or three huge white buildings sat at the end of the drive. 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 operation 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 referenced 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 potential 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.”

And here’s where things get even better. We, the Writers’ Police Academy, are taking you inside the Sirchie complex, a place where outsiders are generally not permitted. Sure, over the years, we’ve made it possible for a handful of writers to attend Sirchie’s weeklong Evidence Collection Course (another for-law-enforcement-eyes-only session), but this time we’re going beyond even what I’d hoped to achieve  … MurderCon.

MurderCon, presented by the Writers’ Police Academy, in conjunction with Sirchie, is the ultimate training event for writers who desire to bring the realism in their writing to a level most could only dream of attaining.

Yes, you, a MurderCon attendee will walk the same hallways, enter the same classrooms and training areas, and sit in the same seats as some of the top crime-solving experts from around the entire world.

Our group of renowned instructors who’ll present to you material that you’ll likely absorb like dry sponges soak up spilled liquids, are the experts who, for example, developed and founded the FBI’s Evidence Response Team (ERT). They’ve trained top agents from the FBI and US State Department. They’re instructors at the National Fire Academy, the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, and at the International Law Enforcement Academy in Bangkok, Thailand.

MurderCon instructors are top, highly-skilled experts in the areas of Cold Cases, Clandestine Grave Recovery, Drowning Forensics, Forensic Anthropology, Forensic Geology (using soil to find killers), Biological and Chemical Weapons (bioterrorism),Toxicology, Pathology, Latent Prints, Bloodstain Interpretation and Analysis, and so much more.

This is hands-down the most exclusive collection of experts ever assembled as a team of instructors for an event for writers. And to top it off, MurderCon offers its attendees the same hands-on training taught to top police homicide investigators.

Dyer Bennett, Sirchie’s Vice President of Product Development and Training, said it best, I think, when he answered the question …

Why Should You Attend the 2019 Writers’ Police Academy – MurderCon?

 

When writers graduate from MurderCon, they’ll have the knowledge to describe what really happens—and doesn’t happen—in a homicide investigation.” ~ Dyer Bennett, Vice President of Sirchie’s Product Development and Training

The all-new MurderCon website!

After scrapping the WPA’s old dinosaur-esque  website, Shelly Haffly, Creative Director + Owner at Rusti Boot Creative, started building a new site, from the ground up. It was a massive task that took months of planning, tons of long hours, and lots of hard work. But the result was worth it. The website is super nice and the internal workings operate like a finely-crafted engine, or delicate clock. Lots of whirring gears and spinning gadgets, buttons, and knobs. I think she created a masterpiece. From where I sit, it’s a work of art.

Anyway, I am extremely pleased to announce that MurderCon’s Official Website is now LIVE!

We’re excited for you to see the all-new look in preparation for the opening of registration for this super-special, spectacular event. Registration is scheduled to open on February 24, 2019 at noon EST.

wwwe.writerspoliceacademy.com

We’ve tried to accommodate as many attendees as possible but, of course, there is only so much space to go around. Therefore, slots for the event are limited. Extremely limited. As in first-come, first-served. So I encourage you to please, please, please be ready to signup the moment registration opens. After all, we’ve sold out on the first day, sometimes within the first hour, several times in the past. And the event this year, being such a rare opportunity, well, be ready. You will not want to miss the extremely special opportunity!

Also, hotel rooms at the Marriott Crabtree Valley in Raleigh, our event hotel, are already going fast so it’s my advice to you to book your rooms today. Right now, if you haven’t already done so. You may book your room by clicking the link below. Many of the event activities take place at the hotel.

CrabtreeValleyMarriott


*The MurderCon website is brand new so please bear with us if you see a minor error or two. Several sets of eyes have scanned every detail, but you, as writers, know how the editing process goes. Sometimes “it” stares you in the face for months before you see “it.” And, as those of you with websites know, it takes several hours for a new site to fully propagate throughout the web. If you don’t see the new page(s), or if things don’t seem quite right with what you so see, please check back at a later time. It should settle in as the evening and night goes on.

Once you’ve had a chance to explore, please do begin to make plans to attend. It truly is a “killer” event!

 

Do You Quality for a SinC $150 Grant?

Are you a member of Sisters in Crime? If so, you may quality for a new SinC program that offers members a $150 grant that can be used toward registration fees at approved educational events/conferences. The WritersPolice Academy‘s MurderCon is one of the approved options.

The SinC program awards grants on a first-come, first-serve basis. So if you quality, you should apply as soon as possible. The funds are paid directly to recipients after they attend the event

Next in the lineup of fabulous 2019 MurderCon instructors is a pair of experts whose backgrounds and bios bring to your writing tables a huge and vast wealth of information that you’ve not seen at another writers event anywhere within this universe.

Since MurderCon, a very special hands-on event presented by the Writers’ Police Academy, is all about the factual side of solving homicides, and its purpose is narrowly defined to solving the crime of murder, we’re delving deeply into numerous aspects of how murders are committed and how top law enforcement professionals solve those cases.

MurderCon is an intense program designed specifically to teach writers how to think like homicide investigators, and this is so because MurderCon attendees will receive the exact same instruction that’s offered to, and attended by, top homicide detectives and investigators from around the world. This detailed course of instruction takes place at the elite headquarters and training and manufacturing facility of Sirchie, the “Global Leader in Crime Scene Investigation and Forensic Science Solutions.”

In addition to the murders caused by the guns and knives and poisons that are so commonplace in many of today’s novels, you’ll explore other means used by criminals who kill and sometimes wish to cover their tracks by whatever means necessary. In fact, one of our extremely HOT sessions titled Burn Baby, Burn!!!  Arson Investigation, is a workshop that explores how perpetrators of murder use flames to kill and then to conceal their devious activities.

Taught by a world-renowned ATF arson and explosives expert, Burn Baby, Burn is an outdoor session with demonstrations of “live” burns to highlight the effects of burning various pieces of evidence.  MurderCon attendees will learn the fundamentals of fire science, recognition of fire behavior including burn patterns and aftermath, and how fire is utilized by perpetrators during the commission of violent crimes and murder to attempt to destroy evidence.

So wait no longer. I’m pleased to introduce you to …

Ken Andrews 

Ken Andrews, CFI-IAAI, ATF retired

Ken Andrews has over 30 years of fire investigation experience, including 28 years as an agent with the ATF and as a private consultant. He is an International Association of Arson Investigator’s (IAAI) Certified Fire Investigator and Certified Fire Investigation Instructor.

Ken was a member of ATF’s elite National Response Team (NRT) and an ATF Certified Explosives Specialist for 18 years. He has conducted investigations related to fire and explosions involving vehicles and residences as well as large industrial and commercial scenes. Ken has also instructed fire and explosion investigators nationally and internationally. During his career with ATF, he was a regular instructor at the National Fire Academy, Federal Law Enforcement Training Center and the International Law Enforcement Academy in Bangkok, Thailand.

In a roundabout way …

Many of you have come into contact with this next esteemed presenter, Jim Gocke, and you never had a clue that he’s been involved in your writing research. In fact, he’s probably helped many of you add a bit of realism to your fiction.

Jim’s vast knowledge of the technical and educational side of Sirchie, and how much it means to Sirchie that writers have the opportunity to properly learn about crime-solving tools and equipment, is how you’ve met him, sort of. Jim’s expertise was introduced to you by way of my book on police procedure and investigation. I’ll explain in a moment.

I’ve used Sirchie products throughout my law enforcement career, and beyond. In the trunks of my various police vehicles, I carried fingerprinting kits that contained Sirchie products—powders, tapes, lifters, etc. In addition, as a police detective I used numerous Sirchie tools and equipment, from those same powders and lifters to casting materials and much more.

When it comes to crime-solving pros, there’s Sherlock, Miss Marple, and Hercule Poirot, of course. And then there’s Sirchie. Their products and training for law enforcement professional have served to help solve more crimes than novels written by Patterson, King, and Agatha Christie combined.

Therefore, when the time came for me to write the chapter in my book about fingerprinting, well, it was a no-brainer. I called on Sirchie and it was Jim Gocke who answered that call for assistance. It was he who provided those intricate details and it was he who was responsible for those super-cool photos in Chapter 8 of the book and, of course, throughout the years on this website.

Chapter 8 photo

Jim was more than happy to help out, telling me that he’d love it if writers of all genres were exposed to the facts about police procedure and equipment, and how the tools they developed and manufactured play such a vital role in crime-solving. Additionally, we both agreed that the CSI stuff often portrayed on television is factually incorrect. Anyway, Chapter 8 of my book is how the bond between Sirchie, me, and the Writers’ Police Academy came to be.

Soon, Sirchie instructors began teaching classes and workshops at the Writers’ Police Academy. They sent experts David Pauly and Robert Skiff to the event, along with a boatload of equipment and materials to enhance those presentations. They gave away prizes for the raffles, and they even developed a course especially for writers, a class that many WPA attendees traveled to the Sirchie compound in N.C. to attend.

Now, Jim and I have come full circle and we meet again , this time hat the most unique hands-on training event for writers that’s ever taken place, anywhere … MurderCon.

It is both a pleasure and an honor to introduce you to Jim Gocke, another of the fabulous 2019 MurderCon instructors.

Jim Gocke

Jim Gocke a graduate of West Virginia University and West Virginia College of Law. In addition, he completed a Fellowship in Forensic Medicine at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology and earned a Master of Science in Forensic Sciences from The George Washington University.

He was employed by Sirchie Finger Print Laboratories, Inc as Vice President/General Counsel and Director of Education and Training from January 1979 until March 2008. He was then employed by Sirchie Acquisition Company, LLC as Director of Education and Training from March 2008 until his retirement in July 2015. Jim is currently an Independent Contractor to Sirchie, providing his expertise in Education and Training, product development, and evaluation and technical assistance.

MurderCon is a highly-unique event for writers!

The difference from prior WPA events and MurderCon is that this year’s special event features the current science and forensic technology, and analysis used to solve homicide cases. Writers will participate in hands-on training using modern testing and evidence collection tools and equipment, in workshops taught by some of the world’s leading experts. To sweeten the pot, many of MurderCon’s sessions are taught at the facility where the science and technology were developed and then transformed into the actual products used by today’s homicide detectives and other law enforcement professionals.

“When writers graduate from MurderCon, they’ll have the knowledge to describe what really happens—and doesn’t happen—in a homicide investigation.” ~ Dyer Bennett, Vice President of Sirchie’s Product Development and Training

This is a rare opportunity for writers, a unique juncture of fiction and fact at the source of modern crime scene investigation technology. It’s the chance to bring your writing to a level you never thought you could achieve. This type of incredibly detailed and cutting edge instruction has never before been available to writers, anywhere.

Yes, MurderCon is indeed a “Killer Event” and you’re invited to attend!


Registration opens very soon, within the next couple of weeks. Please watch for the announcement and then be ready at your keyboards the moment registration opens. Space at the Sirchie compound and training facility is extremely limited, therefore we expect spots to go quickly. Believe me, you’ll not want to miss this rare opportunity. It may be the only chance in a lifetime to attend such a special event.

LOCATION AND DATES:

August 1-4, 2019

 

Hotel Location / Training Location:

Marriott Crabtree Valley

4500 Marriott Drive, Raleigh, North Carolina 27612

 

SIRCHIE – Training Location:

100 Hunter Place, Youngsville, North Carolina 27615

 


Hotel Information

We’ve already had to increase our room block size twice at the Marriott. Yes, response is fantastic.

Since many activities and workshops will also take place at the hotel, including a special party (details to be announced soon), the Saturday banquet, book signings, and more, we strongly urge you to book your hotel rooms today, without delay!

Here’s the link for room reservations.

Hotel reservations – Marriott

Individuals may make their reservations by phone by calling Hotel‘s toll free Reservation Line, 1- 800-MARRIOT.
To receive the established Group rate, they must identify themselves as members of the Writers’ Police Academy 2019 when making the reservation. All reservations must be received by the group’s Cutoff Date of on or before July 10, 2019. Reservations made after the Cutoff Date will be subject to availability and the most available rate.

 

Registration

 

MurderCon 2019 registration – $435

 

*Breakfast each morning and lunch at the Sirchie Compound are included in your MurderCon registration.

 

Event Schedule

 

Schedule of Events to be announced in the coming days – very soon! BOLO (Be On the Lookout) for a news announcement from the WPA staff!

 

In the meantime, we are pleased to announce that the event begins on Thursday night with a brief orientation followed by a spectacular joint presentation by Dr. Craig Nelson (Medical Examiner / Pathologist) and Justin Brower, PhD. (Toxicologist).

 

Registration/check-in takes place on Thursday afternoon from 4:00 – 5:30.

 

Detective Pete Gitterdone had a spotless attendance record, never missing a day for sickness during his entire thirty-three years with the department. He was so proud of his achievement, in fact, that he refused to stay at home on this particular day, a time when his fever hovered at 102.

Coughing and sneezing fits forced him to spend the majority of the morning with his mouth and nose buried deep into a crumpled, crud-dampened, and extremely yucky handkerchief.

Gitterdone, feeling all achy and fatigued, was busy collecting suspected blood samples (brownish red stains for the official record) at a particularly brutal homicide scene, alternating between hacking and achooing, when his partner, Detective I. Lergictowork, told him he looked sickern’ a dog, like death warmed over, and asked if he needed a break.

Gitterdone promptly turned his head away from his partner and fired off a round of wet sneezes directly into the large paper bag of already-collected evidence. “No,” he said. “I’ll be okay. Besides, I’m almost done. Just a couple of prints to lift and I’m outta here.”

He tipped his head toward a desktop where a few sheets of yellow legal pad paper sat among a scattering of pencils, pens, and colored paperclips. “Looks like the suspect might’ve touched these papers,” he said. “How ’bout handing me a can of Ninhydrin. There’s one in my kit.”

Ninhydrin reacts with amino acids to produce a purple reaction product called “Rhuemann’s Purple”. It is useful on porous surfaces—especially paper. ~ Sirchie

So, did you notice anything particularly wrong with Gitterdone’s method of evidence collection? If so, what?

After watching these two work, well, it might be a good idea to have both Gitterdone and Lergictowork read this list of Crime Scene Do Nots. It might help to have your protagonist take a peek as well.

Crime Scene DO NOT’S

1. Do Not blow away excess fingerprint powder! Doing so adds your DNA to the surface.

2. Do Not use Styrofoam to package electronic devices (computer parts, etc.) because it can cause static charges. Instead, use foam padding or bubble-wrap.

3. Do Not alter or add anything to a crime scene sketch after leaving the scene. Memories are not quite as accurate as we may think.

4. Do NOT place bloodstained evidence in plastic bags. Plastic bags and containers can serve as incubators for bacteria, which can destroy or alter DNA. Rule of thumb – paper bags/containers for wet evidence (blood, semen, saliva, etc.) and plastic for dry evidence.

5. DO NOT collect DNA evidence samples (saliva, blood, etc.) from a criminal suspect without a court order, the suspect’s consent, or during exigent (emergency) circumstances.

6. Do NOT cough, sneeze, exhale, etc. over any evidence sample. This also includes talking over a sample. With each word spoken comes your DNA that’s instantly transferred to the sample.

7. Do NOT fold wet documents. Leave that to the professionals in the lab.

8. Do NOT use fingerprint tape or lifters to collect bits of trace evidence. The adhesion on print lifting tape is insufficient for picking up tiny bits of evidence.

9. Do NOT use dirty digging tools when collecting soil samples. Always clean tools thoroughly after each use to avoid cross contamination.

10. Do NOT use fingerprint lifters in lieu of gunshot residue (GSR) collection materials. (see number 8 above)

441

Fingerprint lifter – Sirchie image. I used Sirchie lifters all the time during my career. In fact, I still have a few leftover from my crime-solving days.

11. Do NOT allow shooting suspects, victims, witnesses, etc. to wash their hands or rub them against other surfaces until after GSR tests/collection have been completed.

12. ALWAYS remember #6 – Do NOT cough, sneeze, exhale, talk, etc. over any evidence sample.
Hapci-fr


Bonus – Transferred Prints

Do NOT write a transferred fingerprint scene without first giving it a ton of serious thought. Here’s why:

Yes, it is indeed possible to transfer a fingerprint, even accidentally. However, a skilled examiner should be able to spot duplicates since they tend to appear very thin and thready. Also, the background area surrounding the “new” print may not match the surface of the place where the transferred print was left. Background pattern(s) transfer along with the print.

Here’s where writers often make their mistakes when setting up characters to “take a fall” for another character. Transferred prints are mirror/reverse images and would be easily recognized by a skilled examiner. It’s possible, though, that an inexperienced print examiner, one who’s new to the field, may not catch it right away. But that scenario is highly doubtful.


BIG, BIG, BIG Writers’ Police Academy news is on the way. The 2019 WPA is a special event, one unlike anything we’ve presented in the past. And when I say special, I mean it’s over the top S.P.E.C.I.A.L.! I am so pleased and thrilled to present such an exciting opportunity for writers. This has never been done before, not ever!

For now, though, I’d like to share the dates and the location so you can make plans to attend. Please keep in mind that due to the nature and location of this unique program space/slots are limited. We’ll soon begin to announce more specific details but, for now …

Date – August 1-4, 2019

Location – Raleigh, N.C.

 

To add to the thrills of the Writers’ Police Academy’s 10th anniversary celebration, we are extremely pleased to make available to you, by SEALED BID, several exiting opportunities of a lifetime. One of those absolutely fabulous and unique offerings is a spot in the private weeklong, “law enforcement only” Crime Scene Investigation course at the elite Sirchie compound near Raleigh, N.C. (Two spots are available. The top two bids win – one spot per bid). That’s right, you will train and learn alongside some of the top investigators in the country! This course is not available to the general public.

To be the lucky winner of one of these rare and exclusive spots available only from the Writers’ Police Academy, simply send your bid to 2018WPAAuction@gmail.com.If the link doesn’t take you to your email service, then please simply copy and paste the address.

Bidding is open to everyone and you do not have to present to win.

Good luck!!


*Sirchie is the Global Leader in Crime Scene Investigation and Forensic Science Solutions; providing quality Products, Vehicles, and Training to the global law enforcement and forensic science communities.

Course Description

Our Evidence Collection and Processing Training Program provides law enforcement professionals and crime scene investigators with hands on training using forensic tools that will help to execute the best crime scene investigation mission possible.

This class, commonly known as Crime Scene Technology, covers the scientific methods of collection, identification, evaluation, and preservation of physical evidence.  It is the perfect Forensics training for any investigator from new detectives to police officers with more than 25 years on the force.

You need to attend this program if:

  • You process crime scenes
  • You want to learn more about the latest forensic  and crime scene investigation tools and techniques used to process potential crime scenes
  • You want to find as much evidence as possible at the crime scene

COURSE CURRICULUM:

Crime Scene Management

The various types and categories of physical evidence are reviewed with the emphasis being placed on the proper procedures for securing the crime scene and preparing to collect evidence.

Fingerprint Theory and Classification

The fundamental principles of fingerprints are examined, including the basic concepts of ridge pattern development, identification characteristics and classification methods. Students will review latent print comparison methods with emphasis on understanding AFIS and modern latent print identification techniques.

Latent Print Processing —Powders

The proper use of oxide, metallic, magnetic, and fluorescent powders is discussed. Students will develop latent prints on a variety of surfaces including paper, glass, plastic, and even textured surfaces. Students will experience lifting powder developed latent prints using tape, hinge lifters, gel lifters, and Accutrans. Utilizing photography and light source for proper documentation is reviewed.

Latent Print Processing – Chemicals

During this segment, students will develop latent prints on porous surfaces, including paper and cardboard, utilizing iodine fuming, ninhydrin and silver nitrate. Students will review proper process sequencing for the maximum retrieval of latent prints and review the chemical principles of how they work. Cyanoacrylate (superglue) techniques for non-porous surfaces will be demonstrated also.

Crime Scene and Evidence Photography

Procedures and techniques are discussed and demonstrated for properly documenting a crime scene through photography. Also reviewed and demonstrated are key camera settings such as aperture, shutter speed, and ISO, as well as proper accessories and equipment for properly capturing evidence quality photos.

Controlled Substances Identification

Students will work with presumptive field test kits that offer screening of the most commonly abused drugs and narcotics.

Serial Number Restoration

Working with various metallic and plastic surfaces, students will restore obliterated serial numbers. Liquid and gel reagents are used in conjunction with the electron accelerator.

Firearms,  Ballistics, and Gun Shot Residue

Identification of firearms and the fundamentals of ammunition and its manufacture, behavior, and destructive effects is discussed. Fundamentals of gunshot residue, including determining proximity and presumptive testing for GSR are reviewed and demonstrated. Students will also be exposed to basic shooting reconstruction and proper documentation of shooting incidents.

Alternate Lights and RUVIS

The use of alternate light sources to identify evidence at the scene as well as enhance contrast with fingerprint powders and chemicals is reviewed. RUVIS, using the SIRCHIE Krimesite Imager, will be used to demonstrate a non-intrusive technique for discovering latent prints at the crime scene without powders or chemicals.

Biological Evidence – Blood, Fluids, and DNA

Students learn proper methods to locate, identify, and collect physiological fluid stains. Proper search methods including alternate light sources and chemical search methods including luminol and Bluestar are demonstrated. Students will also learn how to presumptively identify the type of stain using chemical reagents. Collection and preservation methods will be reviewed based on the latest best practices for DNA.

Digital Device Forensics Intro

Proper collection of digital devices, including computers and cell phones, will be reviewed. Students will learn the fundamentals, including data that can be extracted from these devices, the legal aspects of data, and ways to preserve data through proper packaging and Faraday techniques.

Footprint, Tire, and Toolmark Impression Evidence

Impression evidence types and their value in criminal investigation will be reviewed. Students will learn and experience methods for capturing footwear tread impressions, including magnetic powder development, electrostatic dust print lifting, and dental stone casting. Principles of footwear and tire comparison will be shown, including proper documentation for the lab and court.

* Students also investigate a mock crime scene as teams and present their findings over lunch on the last day.


Other sealed SEALED BID offerings are unbelievably exciting, and they include:

– Lunch with Lee Child in New York City
– A character name in Craig Johnson’s next book
– A guitar signed by the Grammy Award-winning singing group, the Oak Ridge Boys
– A Murder She Wrote script signed by head writer Tom Sawyer
– A character name in Stuart Woods’ next book

Please send you bids to 2018WPAAuction@gmail.com

*Photos and course descriptions ~ Sirchie

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 …

 

I am extremely pleased to announce that we, the Writers’ Police Academy, have once again teamed up with Sirchie (formerly Sirchie Fingerprint Laboratories – name change since the company offers so much more) to offer three unbelievably exciting sessions.

So why and how is this good news for you, you ask?

Well, Sirchie is sending instructors to the WPA to teach three over-the-moon fantastic classes. The super-cool aspect to this is that the information they’ll provide to you is not taught to the general public. This is typically for law enforcement eyes only!

Wow, think of the exciting details you’ll be able to add to your tales. It simply does not get any better than this. Please take advantage of this opportunity, if any way possible.

For those of you who don’t know about Sirchie, and every crime writer should …

Sirchie is the Global Leader in Crime Scene Investigation and Forensic Science Solutions; providing quality Products, Vehicles, and Training to the global law enforcement and forensic science communities.

Exciting sessions to be taught by Sirchie at the 2018 Writers’ Police Academy (writerspoliceacademy.com):

FRIDAY MORNING:

“Murder, Death, and Mayhem”

3-hour presentation on medico-legal death investigation covering the following main topics:
A. Manner, Mechanism, and Cause of Death
B. Various types of wounds
C. Homicide statistics and other relevant numbers pertaining to various causes and manners of death
D. A unique murder case study
E. The realities and competencies of CSI and homicide detectives/teams/agents/CSI’s

FRIDAY AFTERNOON:

“Taking Photos of a Ghost – Learning How to Photograph What Your Eye Can’t See”

3- hour hands-on presentation regarding photography in the visible and InfraRed spectrums. The presentation will explore the ability to take photos in total darkness while creating “ghost” images of participants as well as how to visualize a laser.

*FRIDAY EVENING SPECIAL PRESENTATION*

“The Wonderful World of Crime Scene Evidence – Blood, Impression Evidence, and the Little Things That Matter”

Sirchie will conduct presentations followed by hands-on practical exercises on the following topics:
· Find, identify, and Enhance blood patterns and prints
· Basic Crime Scene Processing Procedures/Sketching
· Identifying and collecting 2 and 3-Dimensional impression Evidence
· Macro Photography of Small Evidence

*Slots are available to the 2018 Writers’ Police Academy. Hurry before they’re gone. This is the 10th anniversary and it’s a blowout! See you there!

WritersPoliceAcademy.com


By the way, Sirchie is my go-to source for many aspects of crime scene investigations. In fact, they provided information and photos for my book about police procedure and investigation.

Especially for you, an O-R guide to fingerprinting … and more.

Oil Gland– Unlike eccrine and apocrine glands, which are sweat glands, the sebaceous gland is considered an oil gland.

Oligodactyly– Having less than the ordinary number of fingers or toes.

Orthodactyly– Fingers and toes cannot be flexed.

Ortho-Tolidine– A dual-purpose chemical that works both as a presumptive test for blood and has also been used to develop fingerprint detail on human skin.

Osborn Grid Method– Superimposing a grid on photographic enlargements of latent prints found at a crime scene as well as the inked fingerprints of a suspect(s). Scientist then painstakingly examine both, square by square looking for matching individualities.

Os calcis– A bone in the foot.

Osmium Tetroxide (Osmic Acid Fuming)– A fuming technique used to process items for latent fingerprints. Due to excessive costs and dangers associated with the product, it is now rarely used, if ever.

P.

PBFE– Probability Based Fingerprint Evidence.

Papillary Ridges– Rows of eccrine glands situated along the trail of fingerprint

friction ridges.

Patent Print– Fingerprints that are visible without development. (Latent prints are typically invisible to the naked eye).

Pathology– The study of causes, nature, and effects of diseases, trauma, and other abnormalities, and the changes to the body created by them.

Pattern Formations– Details of fingerprints created as early as the third month of gestation.

Pelmatoscopy– The scientific studies of the friction ridges of the soles of feet.

Pen Pack/Penitentiary Packet– A pen pack is the comprehensive imprisonment record of an inmate that’s supplied by the Department of Corrections. When fingerprints are included in the pen pack, and they are indeed typically found there, they’re used for comparison purposes. Other information found in pen packs are terms of confinement, background intelligence, and other similar details.

Perceptual Set – The tendency to see what we expect to see.

Phalange– Any bone in the fingers or toes.

Phalangeal– Of the bones in the fingers and toes.

Physical Developer– Chemical processing technique to develop latent prints on porous items. The technique was developed in the 1970s to develop fingerprints on porous items.

Pincushion Method– AKA the Constellation Method.  This outdated technique was used in the first half of the 20th century to compare prints and to confirm an identification. Investigators pushed pins through each of the ridge characteristics of both latent (prints discovered at a crime scene) and known prints (prints of a known suspect). They then compared the holes (from the reverse sides). If the holes on the latent print matched those of the suspect’s print, well, they had their man, or woman.

If you happen to have a copy of the April 1956 edition of Fingerprint and Identification Magazine, you could read more on the topic since it was featured in the issue.

Plastic Print– Fingerprint left in a malleable substance, such as clay or wax.

Points/ Points of Identification– Fingerprint ridge characteristics.

R.

RAM– Combination of Rhodamine 6G, Ardrox and MBD dyes. The mixture fluoresces when exposed to a special alternate light source, which in turn makes it possible to see prints developed using cyanoacrylate (Superglue) fumes.

RUVIS– Reflective Ultra-Violet imaging system that allows visualization of fingerprint detail in an ultraviolet spectrum. (see below for details and a video)

Redwop ™– A fluorescent fingerprint powder.

Rubber Lifter– A sheet of flexible rubber with adhesive on one side. Rubber lifters are used to “lift” latent prints.

Ruthenium Tetroxide (RTX)– Chemical used to enhance/see fingerprint detail on fabrics and other porous material such as some stones, leather, glass, tape, wood, plastics, and even human skin and wet surfaces.


RUVIS

RUVIS (Reflective Ultraviolet Imaging System), a system of locating latent (invisible) fingerprints) without the use of powders, fumes, or chemicals, was developed by Sirchie Fingerprint Laboratories and the U.S. Army. The system focuses on one specific section of shortwave ultraviolet light, the germicidal spectrum of light, which cannot be seen by the naked eye.

A particularly unique feature of RUVIS technology is that it works in both total darkness and in bright sunshine, a must for use by police investigators.

The Krimesite Imager uses RUVIS technology to detect invisible residues from fingerprints. Those residues reflect UV light projected from the device, which immediately captures the reflections with a 60mm UV lens. A built-in scanner then converts the images to visible light, allowing the investigator to see the fingerprint. All this is done instantly, in real time. And, the detective is able to see images from up to fifteen feet away.

Once the print is located, the investigator uses the Imager to photograph it and, with the use of a micro-printer, print a copy of the desired evidence. All this without the messy powders that never seem to wash away. The KS Imager can also be used to greatly enhance prints developed using cyanoacrylate fuming (Super Glue).

Note – I doubt many of you will be picking up one of these devices for your home CSI kit. The price tag is between $9,000 and $22,000, depending the style of devise selected.

 

Here’s a video shot at the Sirchie compound near Raleigh, N.C. It shows the Krimesite Imager in action.

Those of you attending the Writers’ Police Academy, take note, because you are in for a surprise! Yes, space is available! By the way, the event is open to all (writers, readers, fans, and anyone else who’s interested in participating in a thrilling, hands-on training event) And, it is FUN!.

In the meantime …

Especially for you, a J-N guide to fingerprinting … and more.

J.

JFI – Journal of Forensic Identification.

JFS – Journal of Forensic Sciences.

Joint – Hinged area where two bones are joined together.

K.

Keratinocyte – The major cell found in the epidermis.

Keratins – Highly insoluble fibrous proteins found in skin-related structures such as hair, wool, hooves and horns, claws, beaks, and even feathers.

L.

Latent Print – Friction ridge detail (fingerprint) that is not readily seen by the naked eye.

Law of Biological Uniqueness– Scientific Law stating that all items in nature are unique.

Leuco Rhodamine 6G – Reagent that reacts with the heme moiety of the hemoglobin of red cells in blood. It’s used to enhance and visualize fingerprints left in blood.

Leucocrystal Violet – A colorless form of gentian violet used to stain blood residue on both porous and nonporous items.

Lift– An adhesive or other vehicle used to transfer a friction ridge imprint (a fingerprint) from a surface.

Lights Out – Computer process where the AFIS computer automatically obtains friction skin features, searches the AFIS system, and presents an identification or exclusion based on a predermined score. No human is involved in this process.

Liquid Nitrogen – In its liquid state (-195 degree C), liquid nitrogen is ideal for the separation of adhesive surfaces.

Liqui-drox – A fluorescent yellow solution used to develop prints on both sides of dark-colored adhesive tapes.

Locard’s Principle of Exchange – Edmond Locard’s Principle of Exchange states that when any two objects come into contact, there is always transference of material from each object onto the other. (People entering a crime scene both leave and take away evidence, in some form).

Loupe – A small magnifying glass used in the identification and comparison of fingerprints.

Luminol – Chemical that glows with a bluish tint when it comes into contact with blood. it can detect blood at 1 part per million. It’s so sensitive, in fact, that one drop of blood within a container of 999,999 drops of water, will cause luminol to glow.

M.

MC’s – Major Case Prints.

MMD – Multimetal Deposition, a two step process using a colloidal gold and a physical developer solution to enhance latent prints.

5-MTN – Methylthioninhydrin, a reagent that reacts with amino acids to develop prints on porous items.

Medial Interphalangeal Flexion Crease – The middle crease on a finger.

Metacarpo-phalangeal Crease – Creases where the fingers meet the palm.

Microburst Method – Developed by the FBI, this method of developing prints is designed to expose a nonporous item to a large amount of Cyanoacrylate (Superglue) fumes for a small amount of time. The Superglue is positioned into a chamber heated to temperatures above 300 degrees. The item to be printed is then placed in the chamber for 30-45 seconds.

Minutiae – Small details.

Molybdenum Disulfide – Chemical used to prepare Small Particle Reagent (SPR). SPR is a means to develop latent fingermarks on wet, non-porous surfaces such as glass, plastic, metals and even the sticky sides of tape.

N.

NCFS – National Commission on Forensic Science.

NCIC – National Crime Information Center. To learn more about NCIC, click here.

NFB – National Fingerprint Board of England and Wales.

NV – Abbreviation for “No Value,” meaning a print has no value for identification purposes.


Stay tuned for exciting Writers’ Police Academy news. In the meantime, space is available so please hurry. Sign up today. This year is absolutely incredible!!