This year was my third go-round with the Writer’s Police Academy, held in Green Bay, Wisconsin. I love this mind-blowing event and have committed to going every year for as long as they have it.
As you might imagine, it’s a 4-day seminar where writers get to learn about real life police and rescue procedures and concepts. It is every bit as awesome and fun as it sounds. I was lucky to meet a lot of fun writers from all over, too.
My classes this year include: Microscopic Murder’s Greatest Hits (where I learned about killer bugs, bacteria, viruses, and fungi. The creep factor is high, which is always a thumbs up), Force on Force (where I got to partially gear up like SWAT and shoot a paintball handgun at a target. Five for five center mass ain’t no joke. Then we ran through a building shooting paper bad dudes), Truth or Lies: The Art of the Interrogation (my favorite class. Paul Bishop is a masterful presenter), Room Clearing-Stairs (learned how the SWAT people move and the completely daunting task of how to approach stairs when there’s dangerous people to find. There was a lot of geometry-like things to consider and it hurt my brain). And that was just the first day full day!
Second day classes: Confined Space Crawl (firefighters use this tri-leveled trailer course to practice getting through tight spaces with all their gear with dangling wires and uneven surfaces,. I wanted it darker and actually tighter, but it was pretty cool), Taser Training (got to shoot a taser at a cardboard target and someone volunteered to get tased in the leg. Take away: comply, because you do not want to get tased), Behavioral Clues at Crime Scenes (all about serial killers, false suicides, real suicides, and I learned about mud eroticism, which I now can’t unlearn), and then I was going to a ballistics class, but the instructor wasn’t available, so they let me do PIT driving.
PIT needs its own paragraph. It stands for Precision Immobilization Technique. Basically, I learned how to bump another car and make it spin out. It was bad ass. Since I’ve been back, I keep thinking about doing it as I’m driving around Chicago. So far, I’ve refrained. It’s hard though, as I don’t want to lose the skill.
There were special presentations, too where I got to pepper spray (inert) a cardboard target, learn about forensics (which included seeing Luminol in action), and forensic drawing. Jeffery Deaver gave a keynote speech which I enjoyed, too.
There were so many law enforcement professionals on hand, happy to answer any questions anyone had (and although they all said there are no stupid questions, I think we all know that there are). We got to see firefighters put out a (practice) fire, witness a dive team rescue, and I got to see a practice car fire.
I’m sure my writing will improve with what I’ve learned, and the experience is so exciting and inspiring. Sometimes being a writer is delicious fun!