I had a blast this past weekend at the Writers’ Police Academy. Classes were held at the Guilford Technical Community College, in Jamestown, NC. I’m trying to figure out how to write a balanced report, talking about the good and the bad, but I can’t come up with any bad.
I flew to Raleigh-Durham Airport and drove to Greensboro, NC. My biggest goal for the flight was to get through security without any incident, which I did. I was nervous because the last time I flew was 1997 and believe me, everything has changed about flying since then.
I met my friend Alex Hughes and we headed out to lunch and a local farmer’s market for snack foods. I bought scupperdine grapes, brazil nuts, peaches and an avocado.
We went back to the hotel (Embassy Suites in Greensboro, NC – I highly recommend staying here, it was a great hotel) and started meeting people and going through all the things we could do over the next few days. And what a list it was! Here’s a partial list of the talks and demos that were available:
Bomb Squad demo
Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs
Driving while Texting demo
Mock Jail Search
Suicide, Hanging and Auto Erotic Death Investigations
Personal Protection for Women
Microscopic murder (bioterrorism)
Bloodstain Patterns and Presumptive Testing
Mock Building Search
Anatomy of an Undercover Cop
Fire Scene Investigation
Shallow Grave Investigation
I think you get the point. To see more of what was offered, here’s the website: Writers’ Police Academy
I wish I had taken some good photos to share, but I was busy taking notes instead. I learned much more of the gritty realities that law enforcement goes through to do their jobs and I am excited to bring more of that realism to my novels.
We had two great afternoon lectures, one with Dr. Elizabeth Murray on Forensic Investigations and one with Marcia Clark (yes, that one) on how a case moves from officers finding a dead body all the way through the court system. Both women were excellent speakers and I’m sure we could have spent all afternoon asking more and more questions of each of them.
I think one of my favorite parts of the weekend was the debriefing session on Sunday morning. I am not sure how the panel got onto the subject, but suddenly everyone was telling their funniest naked story – from an undercover cop losing his pants while climbing over a fence to an officer having to catch an almost completely naked woman, covered in lard from head to toe. Also, in the firearms training simulation, I shot the bad guy in the head. Go me!
If you’re a writer who has law enforcement or private investigator characters I can’t suggest this weekend highly enough. I talked to a lot of people who had been there last year and they said the program had more than enough that was different that they wanted to come back again this year. Even if the program was the same, I’d want to go next year because I didn’t get to see everything I wanted to.