Tag Archive | writers police academy

The Writers Police Academy – Part Five

Final Logo

On the last day I took Fire 101 and Fingerprinting, both of which were really, really informative, plus Tactical EMS, focusing on how to use different types of tourniquets. We put them on dummies and ourselves. Our last “test” was to go inside a “smoke” filled room with loud music and a strobe light and find our “victim”, assess his injuries and apply tourniquets. It was really cool! But man, I wasn’t expecting the dummy to have no legs AND be moving! Freaked me out! And there was water squirting out to simulate blood and it would only stop if we applied the tourniquets correctly. I partnered up with my friend Venona and we rocked it!





And that was my experience at the WPA this year! I do have to say that I liked the facility in Appleton last year more than the facility in Green Bay this year. It was just so much easier to navigate. But the classes themselves and the instructors were just as top notch as last year’s. If you don’t come away with a notebook full of information, you’re doing something wrong. 🙂


The Writers Police Academy – Part Four

Final Logo

The academy students at the facility put on a fantastic simulated mass stabbing incident for us on Saturday morning. They asked for people who knew first aid to come and help and my friends Sarah (on the left in green) and Vickie (on the right in orange) jumped up and ran down.


I don’t have any photos of my second favorite class because it was pitch dark in the room. It was the Shoot/Don’t Shoot scenarios. There were only two of us for some reason, so they had a lovely gal named Deborah and I partner up, which was actually really cool. We had 45 minutes and ran through a ton of different scenarios. And we did really well! The academy students who were running it praised us and said we were their favorite group so far. We didn’t make one error in judgement and took all the bad guys down! Just call me Dirty Harriet. 🙂

Continued in Part Five!

The Writers Police Academy – Part Three

Final Logo

Time for taser class at the WPA! This was really informative. We got to see the taser deployed on a cardboard dummy and then we got to pull the barbs out. They’re like fishing hooks! Ouch!



I don’t have any photos of the Defense and Arrest Tactics class I took, but it was really cool. All hands-on as we partnered up and learned how to use different parts of our body to subdue a bad guy. It was pretty amazing how moving your arm just slightly or opening up your hand in the different positions meant stopping the person or not.
I went to the K-9 Traffic Stop class where Pal and his handler put on quite a show for us! These dogs are so amazingly talented and put their lives on the line every single day to protect their human partners.


I was also able to get a photo with Jerry and Colleen, who were my instructors for the PIT maneuver class. They were fantastic!


Continued in Part Four!

The Writers Police Academy – Part Two

Final Logo

The Writer’s Police Academy started off with a bang with a simulated drunk driving accident with police, fire and even Lifeflight helicopter!


Later on that first morning I got to do the most incredible thing I’ve pretty much ever done in my life – drive a squad car and do a PIT maneuver on a fleeing suspect’s vehicle! It was insane! And I was the first one in my class to do it successfully! Talk about a heart-pounding adrenaline rush! My instructor said I was a natural with fine motor skills. Ha!
If you don’t know what a police PIT maneuver is, it’s when the squad car pulls up next to the suspect’s vehicle and touches their front side bumper area to the area between the rear bumper and back tire on the suspect’s vehicle. You hit the accelerator and turn your wheel to the left and it causes the suspect’s vehicle to spin in a complete 360 degree circle and stop. It is NOT EASY. Cops go through hours and hours of training to get it right, because you only get one chance. And I nailed it in my first go! Woot!
Here are some photos of me in the PIT car and driving it that my instructor took of me and a couple of the cars in action being demonstrated for us before we all got behind the wheel:






Continued in Part Three!

The Writers Police Academy – part 1

Final Logo

My four days spent at the Writers Police Academy in Green Bay, Wisconsin was fantastic! Action packed and non-stop, literally. Up at 5 am every day, breakfast at 6 and the buses left at 7:30. Didn’t get back to the hotel until 4 pm. Crashed at about 9:30 pm every night. Ugh. But it was so worth it!
I posted a bunch of updates and photos to Facebook while I was there, so I thought I’d copy and paste everything here, too, so all of you could see what I was up to as well. 🙂
Here I am after registration the first night. They had a bunch of emergency vehicles set up for us to look at in the parking lot of the hotel. Look at the size of the search and rescue vehicle behind me!

And to give you an idea how many people attend this conference, here we all are, taking up the entire lecture hall at the training facility:


Continued in Part Two…

Writer’s Police Academy 2015 – The good, the bad and the pretty darn awesome


When I first heard about the WPA last year (thanks, Gina!) my excitement knew no bounds. As many of you know, I’ve taken many local citizen police and fire academy classes over the years, so this was right up my alley. Even more so, since it was being held at an actual law enforcement training facility. I couldn’t WAIT to sign up for this.

So let me start off with the bad – the registration process. After waiting months and months and months the schedule was put up a few days before registration was to begin. I was beside myself with the classes and special events being offered – everything from a ride-along with the sheriff’s department to a jail tour to live fire exercises with pistols and rifles to skid pad and PIT maneuvers to firearm simulation training to crime scene photography. I wanted to do it all!

But guess what? Suddenly it was sprung upon us that oh no, you can’t actually take all those classes! Most of them are by LOTTERY ONLY. And the others? You have to PAY EXTRA for OR you can only choose ONE. To say I was upset was an understatement. Things only got worse the day registration opened. We were told repeatedly that all 300 spots sold out in a matter of hours all the previous years so you needed to be online the instant registration opened. Which I was. It was a huge form to fill out and you had a split second to decide what you wanted to pay for, what you wanted to be put in the lottery for and what ONE special class you wanted to take. I filled the entire thing out and guess what happened? Their system crashed. REPEATEDLY. I had to fill out the form THREE times. By that time it was too late. I missed out on signing up for everything I wanted except for one thing, the firearms simulation (MILO). All other spots for everything else were already filled. I was honestly in tears at that point I was so upset. I looked on Facebook and saw that many people were complaining about the system crashing so it wasn’t just me and my computer.

Having now missed out on everything I wanted to do plus not winning ANY of the lotteries, I could’ve honestly cared less about going anymore. I went from vibrating with excitement to anger and disappointment. That was back in February. By the time August rolled around I still wanted to cancel going. But I was supposed to drive my friends Chris and Piper, so I was stuck.

Now that we’ve gotten the bad out of the way let’s get to the good….

The WPA was held at the Fox Valley Technical College/Public Safety Training Center in Appleton, Wisconsin. It’s a brand new facility that just opened up in January. It’s state of the art with dozens of classrooms and forensic labs, fire apparatus bay and burn tower, an actual 727 airplane, railroad tanker cars, skid pad, indoor/outdoor firing ranges, K-9 training area, a fake jail with booking area, a firearms training simulation room, and a fake town complete with gas station, motel, bar, bank and houses. Law enforcement agencies from across the country and even the FBI now train there. I believe we were the first public group invited to hold a conference there.

There were so many standard classes offered that it was hard to choose which one to attend each hour. In the end, these are the ones I went to:

•  From Crime Scene to Autopsy – this was taught by the actual county coroner. She was great. She took us through the steps of what she does when she arrives on scene to coordinating with the medical examiner for the autopsy to determining final cause of death. She also had some pretty gruesome pictures and stories for us. 🙂

•  Burning Building Search and Rescue – one of my three absolute favorite classes. After a very informative presentation by the fire instructor we were taken out to the fake bar and motel. In the bar we were given instructions on what we were going to do, how we were going to navigate our way through the smoke-filled motel lobby and find our way out the back door. You literally couldn’t see the hand in front of your face. We relied on the infra-red camera we had to feel our way down the hallway. It felt like we were in there forever! Loved every minute of it.

•  Bloodstain Pattern Investigation – we got suited up in an apron, hair net, mask and gloves for this one! One of the best instructors taught this seminar. He showed us examples of blood spatter patterns from arterial spay to high impact and how to calculate angles and distance to determine exactly where the victim was and in what position they were in, along with their killer. We also got to use an actual kit to test samples to determine if they were human blood.

•  Firearms Simulation Training (MILO) – my favorite class, the only special one I got into that I had to pay extra for, but it was worth it. I was supposed to be in there with someone else but they didn’t show, so I had the entire 15 minutes to myself. I was given a Glock that was modified for laser shooting and run through many different “shoot-don’t-shoot” scenarios, the ones the actual police academy students go through. It’s stressful! LOL! But I did extremely well. The instructor told me my shooing was “very impressive” (nailed the bad guys center mass or in their head, never missing), along with my reaction times and my reasons to justify why I took the deadly force action I did. Left that class with a huge smile on my face!

•  Microorganisms That Kill – fascinating panel on how killer bugs like ebola, small pox and anthrax work, along with how the different bio-safety labs are set up and how they go about testing using gram stains and PCR and even DNA.

•  Crime Scene Photography – this was the one “special” class I was allowed to choose to take at no extra cost. Had a great instructor for this one, too. He took us through step-by-step as to how a crime scene is documented with photographs, how to properly use the rulers for scale and all the paperwork that goes along with it. Then we were let loose with our own cameras in one of the five different rooms in the motel where a fake crime scene was set up for us. I had a great time in this class.

•  Advanced Fingerprinting – I’ve taken many fingerprint classes and used regular dust to lift prints, so I wanted to learn new techniques. This class was taught by the same great bloodstain instructor. Once again we got into our aprons and gloves. We learned how to use super glue fumes to lift prints from plastic and how extremely precise you have to be with the amount of glue you use and the time you fume. Then we lifted prints from a metal bar that had been submerged in water. Amazing that can be done! Then we lifted prints from the sticky side of duct tape using wet powder. Then we used a chemical bath to lift prints from a piece of paper. Loved every minute of this class.

•  K-9 Training – this was a fabulous hour with Officer Zill and his German Shepherd named Franz. We had a great Q&A session first and then we went outside. Franz then showed us his skill at sniffing out drugs on both the outside and inside of a car, followed by another officer suiting up and Franz demonstrating his skill at running down a suspect and grabbing onto his arm with his teeth.

All of the classes were taught by the actual instructors at the college and they were amazing. No matter what kinds of crazy questions we writers threw at them they had an answer. We also had the good fortune of being there on the last day of the actual police academy, so we got to watch the students perform many different simulated traffic stops out in the fake town.

Most of the classes I took were hands-on. I loved learning and doing the actual techniques that law enforcement officers and forensic labs do. The main point of the WPA is for research, and it accomplished that in spades.

A few quibbles I had – I wish that the instructors had waited to ask for questions at the end of their presentations instead of taking questions along the way. None of the instructors I had ever got to finish their presentations and that disappointed me. I wish the conference had been three full days instead of just two. Do away with the wrap-up panel Sunday morning and offer classes instead. There were too many offered and too many I didn’t get to go to. And because it was only two days it made for exhausting days running non-stop from 7:30 am until 10:00 pm. Find a different way to do the raffles and silent auction at the banquet. It was ridiculously confusing with the papers and spreadsheets to see if you’d won. I also thought the $55.00 extra we had to pay for the banquet for a mediocre chicken dinner was way too expensive.

But at least the banquet ended on a high note as the story I submitted to the Golden Donut Contest won Honorable Mention! (see my previous blog post)

In the end I’m glad I went, despite my disappointment at basically getting nothing I wanted to sign up for. The classes I did get to were extremely good and the FVT facility is top-notch. I believe it’s going to be held there again next year. Since I would think the classes would be pretty much the same I’d go back one more time to take the ones I couldn’t this time. I also now know to not get my hopes up because of the ridiculous lottery and pay classes.

I took a whole bunch of photos and thought I’d share some of them with you…. Continue reading