Thursday, September 30, 2010

Writers' Police Academy - Part 1

I had an awesome weekend at Writers' Police Academy, organized by Lee Lofland (@LeeLofland), the High Point Library and Guilford Technical Community College. The Academy is oriented toward mystery and thriller writers, but it's fun for any writer. My Thursday morning writer buddies and I volunteered as helpers, so we got to hear some of the great speakers and learn from law enforcement and emergency personnel.

Friday morning included a parking lot full of those folks — and their toys — from Guilford County Sheriff and High Point Police to fire department, bomb squad, SERT (formerly SWAT team) and crime scene investigation. I kept going back to the CSI table, where he had surveillance equipment, fingerprint dust, etc. Best of all, the folks in uniform were there to answer all kinds of questions, each one surrounded by writers with pad and pen in hand. It was fun to eavesdrop on the conversations, realizing that many of the little details would go into somebody's next mystery!

We talked to a man who was the negotiator in hostage situations; he was very interesting. He had been involved in a local murder investigation some years ago that took three and a half years and "divine intervention" to finally solve. 

I got to sit in on a lecture by New York medical examiner Jonathan Hayes (@PreciousHayes).  It wasn't as gory as I had imagined — he keeps it that way on purpose — but he was interesting and even funny.
Lee Lofland

I went home for our evening break to nurse a migraine, but rallied for the fascinating late-night session with Lee Lofland, former police investigator and author of The Graveyard Shift blog. He told the story of a murder in Ohio that seemed unsolvable, but the investigator on the case had that gut feeling about who did it. The murderer eventually confessed for a deal with the DA, and the evidence finally started pouring in.

No comments: