Writer’s Police Academy 2014

From September 4th-7th, I traveled to Greensboro, NC to attend the Writer’s Police Academy for the second time. What is Writer’s Police Academy (WPA)? Great question! To quote their website (because they define it best) “The Writers’ Police Academy offers the most hands-on, interactive and educational experience writers can find to enhance their understanding of all aspects of law enforcement and forensics. This is a one of a kind event, featuring real police, fire, and EMS training at an actual police academy. Top instructors and experts!”

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Oh yeah. That’s me above channeling Wraith as I learned more nuances about the sniper world. Captain Shepherd of the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office took the time to explain how he holds and adjusts the rifle as needed. He then was kind enough to let me hold the 15+ pound weapon and line up behind it (he even took pictures for me). So cool!

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2014-09-04 20.45.06On Thursday evening (opening night), I attended two awesome sessions: 1. Aviation and Aerial Surveillance, and 2. Disarming the Bad Guys.

1. Aviation and Aerial Surveillance explained about how the police department uses airplanes to aid them in their searches. We even got to take a field trip to the airport so we could see the type of planes they use. I’m pictured above in the TFO seat. That stands for Tactical Flight Officer. This person acts as a spotter who relays information to the ground team as they continue their pursuit.

2. Disarming the Bad Guys was an interactive class led by Eli Jackson, a mixed martial arts expert who holds multiple black belts (pictured left). She (along with her lovely assistant, author AJ Scudiere) demonstrated how a person could disarm a “bad guy” when faced with a gun and/or knife. I’m pretty sure that I’m in no way prepared to actually use this new information myself, but I can now write about it a little easier! 🙂


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On Friday morning, we were treated to a demonstration from EMS and Fire. They simulated an accident scene involving a drunk driver and a group of people he plowed into as they set up for a yard sale. WPA went all out for this too. They had make-up simulating burns and bloody gashes and even had the “drunk driver” stumbling as the police officers carted him away.

For my classes on Friday, I took 1. Domestic Murder (domestic violence that resulted in murders), 2. Microbial Forensics: Using Microorganisms As Weapons (very interesting, yet, scary class), 3. Researching Exotic Crimes (given by Dr. Katherine Ramsland about exotic (gruesome) deaths over the decades), and 4. Broken Bones, Ballistics & Backdrafts: Technical Stuff That Writers Get Wrong (Given by author John Gilstrap–awesome class).


On Saturday morning, we were treated to a demonstration on Breaching Methods. The above pictures shows how a team (usually comprising 6-8 people) could use a small explosive to open a locked door. The picture on the left shows a small explosive affixed to the door knob and the picture on the right shows a strip of explosives affixed to the hinges (sorry, I wasn’t fast enough to capture the actual explosion). It was very cool and very informative.

For my classes the rest of the day, I took: 1. Special Ops: What Are They Good For? (given by Chief Scott Silverii. Very awesome), 2. Self-Defense for Women (Dee Jackson taught about self protection), and 3. Handcuffing and Arrest Techniques–I now know how to handcuff and zip-tie correctly!

The main presenters were awesome (Michael Connelly, Lisa Gardner, and Alafair Burke) but I didn’t take any pictures. Sorry! I got so caught up in learning this year that I barely remembered to take a picture.

Hope you enjoyed my brief (at least I tried to be brief) recap of an awesome multi-day event.  🙂


P.A. DePaul


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