This week on the Writer's Detective Bureau, boot, deconfliction, and pending further leads. I'm Adam Richardson, and this is the Writer's Detective Bureau.
Welcome to episode number 70 of the Writer's Detective Bureau, the podcast dedicated to helping authors and screenwriters write professional quality crime-related fiction. And this week I'm answering your questions about being on field training as a trainee police officer, how interagency deconfliction works for narcotics investigations, and what paperwork duties in the Detective Bureau might really look like. But first, I need to thank my gold shield patreons, Debra Dunbar, from debradunbar.com, C.C. Jameson from ccjameson.com, Larry Keeton, Vicki Tharp, of vickitharp.com, Chrysann, Larry Darter, Natalie Barelli of nataliebarelia.com, Craig Kingsman of craigkingsman.com, for their support. And to Joan Raymond of joanraymondwritinganddesign.com for upping her monthly pledge to the gold shield level. And I am also hugely thankful for my coffee club patrons. I really do appreciate you. You can find links to all of the writers supporting this episode in the show notes at writersdetective.com/70. And to learn about setting up your own Patreon account for your author business or to support the show for as little as $2 a month, visit writersdetective.com/patreon, P-A-T-R-E-O-N.
For those listeners here in the United States, I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and regardless of where you are in the world, I am thankful for having you as a listener. I spent my Thanksgiving at home fortunate not to have to work, surrounded by friends and family, which more than makes up for the fact that I will be working through Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, which I'm happy to do so. My counterpart will be able to be at home with his little ones on Christmas morning. With this being the last day of November, it also means we've hit the end of NaNoWriMo, so if you were taking part, I hope you hit your writing goals.
All right, let's get into this week's first question. This week's first question comes from Darlene Chaney, who posted in our Facebook group, which if you haven't joined yet, you can quickly find by going to writersdetectivebureau.com/facebook. Darlene writes, yep, it's me again. I've been told that a rookie cop has to have their field training officer, FTO, with them at all times while on duty. Is this correct? Darlene posted this in our Facebook group and gold shield patreon, Craig Kingsman, helpfully replied, well, the rookie can use the restroom by himself. In all seriousness, FTOs are there to train the new officer. So yes, if they are still in the FTO phase, meaning still in field training, they should be with them at all times when out in public. And this is primarily for the trainee's own safety.
As I've mentioned on this podcast before, the majority of the tactics that we've developed over the years when it comes to officer safety tactics, are one's learned from officers being killed in the line of duty. So if your trainees only law enforcement experience is having gone through six months of a police academy or however long it was, then they still have a ton to learn about doing the job safely in the real world, meaning not getting themselves or their partners killed. When you are out in public and you're in uniform, things happen in an instant. And it seems that some cops, and I know that military veterans will attest to this too, but it seems that every squad or unit has someone that gets more than their fair share of the random, crazy, unavoidable stuff happening to them or right in front of them. And we call these officers shit magnets. Shit magnets will have the DUI car crash happen right in front of their patrol car. Or they will walk out the door of the coffee shop and right into a domestic violence situation unfolding. Shit finds them just like a magnet... Continue reading...
This week on the Writer's Detective Bureau justified shootings, FBI arrests in calling for backup. I'm Adam Richardson, and this is the Writer's detective Bureau. Welcome to episode 69 of the Writer's Detective Bureau, the podcast dedicated to helping authors and screenwriters write professional quality crime related fiction. This week I'm proving I've grown beyond seventh grade humor mostly, and I'm answering your questions about an investigation into a justified shooting, where FBI books there are arrestees, and calling for backup.
But first, I need to thank my Gold Shield patrons, Debra Dunbar from debradunbar.com, C.C. Jameson from ccjameson.com, Larry Keeton, Vicki Tharp, vickitharp.com, Chrysann, Larry Darter, Natalie Barrelli of nataliebarelli.com, and Craig Kingsman of craigkingsman.com for their support. I also want to send a huge thank you to my Coffee Club patrons. I really do appreciate you. You can find links to all of the writers supporting this episode in the show notes at writersdetective.com/69. To learn about setting up your own Patreon account for your author business, or to support the show for as little as $2 per month, visit writersdetective.com/patreon, P-A-T-R-E-O-N.
..This week's first question comes from Marco Carocari, who asked this in the Facebook group, "During a shootout, my protagonist who's a regular guy manages to stop the antagonist by shooting him, and saves a detective's life, who's with him at the scene. What happens to my protagonist when the responding team of officers and detectives arrive?" The shooting happens on different turf than the detective whose life he saved is assigned to." And also, "What is the process of detectives getting info from my protagonist, interview him there or at the precinct process for fingerprints, photos, et cetera. What else? How long would all of that take approximately? Since he's a witness, I assume he's free to leave after the interview. The antagonist/perp's shot, as well as the second detective shot by the perp are in critical condition at a nearby hospital, if that makes a difference. If my protagonist fully cooperates, can he have legal representation there? Or would that end any interview if he seeks right to counsel? Thank you for your feedback."
There is a lot to answer here, so I'm going to take Marco's questions one at a time. What happens to my protagonist when the responding team of officers and detectives arrive? The arriving officers are going to treat this like every other shooting scene they respond to. They'll treat everyone as a potential threat until deemed otherwise. Meaning, officer safety is going to be the responding officers primary concern as they arrive. Once they've locked down the scene and deemed it safe, so to speak, they're going to assess and deal with any threats to life they encounter. And by that I mean, medical threat to life. Somebody is about to die out. We just had multiple shootings. So that means getting the evidence destroyers. Sorry. I mean the fire and medics. Kidding. Kind of not really. But getting fire and medics to respond to the scene to treat anyone that's been shot or injured.
Realistically, they would have already staged in the area having been dispatched at approximately the same time as the police officers. So they just wait nearby until it's safe for them to come into the area. From there, the patrol officers will request detectives respond out most likely. And that will most likely be done through an established notification protocol of some sort. Marco, I know you're writing about LAPD, so I'm assuming this scene is happening outside the city limits of Los Angeles based on not being on his turf. So for the sake of answering this, let's just say this happens in the unincorporated area of Los Angeles County, which is the jurisdiction of the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department. So assuming we're in sheriff's jurisdiction, the patrol supervisor, likely a sergeant that is overseeing the patrol deputies, that initially respond to this call, they would request, or that sergeant would request the sheriff's department's detectives.
Depending on the sheriff's departments notification protocol, That could be handled in one of a few ways. The sergeants on duty supervisor, most likely a patrol lieutenant who might be referred to as a watch commander might be the one to notify the supervisor in detectives. Given that this is Los Angeles, there's a pretty good chance that they have detectives working on a night shift, so it could also be as simple as that patrol sergeant calling the on-duty night detective. Now that only really happens in very large jurisdictions. The majority of the country doesn't have night detectives. And then another alternative might be to make the request over the radio to dispatch, and then dispatch handles the notification to the watch commander or the detective supervisor or even an on duty detective directly. I can't speak to the absolute correct answer here as I don't know what the current protocol or staffing levels are like at the sheriff's department currently, but I'd go with whichever of those options works best for your story... Continue reading...
This week on the Writer's Detective Bureau: 20BooksVegas, POIs and UNSUBs and wire tap technicalities.
I'm Adam Richardson and this is the Writer's Detective Bureau.
Welcome to episode number 68 of the Writer's Detective Bureau, the podcast dedicated to helping authors and screenwriters write professional quality crime related fiction. And this week I'm talking about the 20BooksVegas conference and answering your questions about police acronyms and slang like POI and UNSUB as well as the more technical side of setting up a wiretap investigation.
But first I need to thank Gold Shield Patrons, Debra Dunbar from debradunbar.com, C.C. Jameson from ccjameson.com, Larry Keeton, Vicky Tharp of vickytharp.com, Chrysann, Larry Darter, Natalie Barelli of nataliebarelli.com and Craig Kingsman of craigkingsman.com for their support. I also want to send a huge thank you to my coffee club patrons, both my brand new coffee club members and those of you that have been supporting me for months and even over a year now. Thank you so much. I appreciate you. You can find links to all of the writers supporting this episode in the show notes at writersdetective.com/68. To learn about setting up your own Patreon account for your author business or to support the show for as little as $2 a month, visit writersdetective.com/patreon. P A T R E O N.
If you hear some extra rasp in my voice this week, it's likely because I just got home from 20BooksVegas. Whiskey, cigars, and speaking on the police procedural panel took their toll on my throat, but all of it was an absolute blast. Patrick O'Donnell, author of the book Cops and Writers moderated the panel and we were joined by author and former LAPD detective, Paul Bishop, who is a master at interview and interrogation as well as Scott Moon, who is not only an author and police sergeant, but is also one of the hosts of the Keystroke Medium podcast. So definitely check that one out as well. The highlight of the entire conference though was getting to meet so many of you. I still find it very surreal that you are really out there listening to me talking to this microphone in my home office. So for those of you that came up to say hello, thank you so much.
There were a lot of highlights like drinking whiskey and beer on Mark Dawson's dime. Thank you Mark. Not that you're listening and hanging out every night with my new best buddy Patrick O'Donnell. Now we were already friends online and through the telephone, but we are definitely drinking and cigar smoking buddies for real now. And by the way Patrick, well so I should let you guys know that on Patrick's way home, that bastard won $1,000 on a video poker machine at the airport. Nobody wins at the airport. I know you're listening, Patrick, you are buying the next steak dinner next year. Seriously, if that isn't a sign that you are in the right place doing the right thing. And by that I mean heading into retirement in a matter of weeks and getting more writing done, then I don't know what is. You deserve it buddy. Okay, so I can't stop talking about 20Books because it was overwhelming.
I mean, it was overwhelmingly awesome, but it was a lot to process. Being only five or six hours from Vegas depending on traffic, the drive home was the perfect way to decompress and think about the entire weekend. You may, since we're just kind of getting to know one through this magic of the podcast thing, I guess I should explain that I'm an introvert. What Myers-Briggs calls an INFP or an INFP-A depending on what online test you take, but I'm an introvert that has learned how to put on the extroverted hat or helmet when needed. I wear more helmets than hats these days, but you might be surprised to learn just how many cops are actually introverts, which I think plays more into that gruff public exterior that many cops have than most people realize. So keep that in mind for your character creation.
But anyway, the conference. 20BooksVegas was amazing, especially for introverts. I've been to a ton of conferences and trainings over the last two decades, probably more than most pharmaceutical salespeople and there have only been a handful that would classify as amazing. 20BooksVegas was one of them. 20BooksVegas is the main conference for the 20BooksTo50K group, a conference of self published authors that are there to learn how to grow their self publishing author business meeting other self published authors that are making five, six and even seven figure incomes. Man. I mean, this is not snake oil salesmanship, none of the phony get off your feet and dance, MLM motivation, musical conference kind of stuff. No one was selling you on anything but the power of you. A lot of hard work and some pretty tactical and practical knowledge.
This conference was unlike any other because everyone there... Continue reading...
This week on the Writer's Detective Bureau: hate crimes, proactive investigations, and island time of death. I'm Adam Richardson and this is the Writer's Detective Bureau.
Welcome to episode 67 of the Writer's Detective Bureau, the podcast dedicated to helping authors and screenwriters write professional quality crime-related fiction. And this week I'm answering your questions about what constitutes a hate crime. How do you search warrants in a proactive investigation where a crime hasn't occurred yet, and death investigations in paradise.
But before we get into that, as always, I need to thank Gold Shield patrons, Debra Dunbar from debradunbar.com, C.C. Jameson from ccjameson.com, Larry Keeton, Vicky Tharp of vickitharp.com, Chris Ann, Larry Darter, and Natalie Barelli of nataliebarelli.com for their support. Also special thanks to Craig Kingsman of craigkingsman.com for upping his monthly Patreon pledge to the Gold Shield level. Thank you so much. I also want to send a huge thank you to my Coffee Club patrons for your support. You all keep the lights on in the Bureau and I truly appreciate every single one of you. You can find links to all of the listeners supporting this episode in the show notes at writersdetective.com/67. And to learn about setting up your own Patreon account for your author business, visit writersdetective.com/patreon, P-A-T-R-E-O-N.
..And our first question this week comes from author Jesse Nori. Jesse writes, "Hi. What makes a crime a hate crime? What evidence would be needed to prosecute a crime as a hate crime? And do the accused ever point the finger back at prosecutors saying, 'I'm only being prosecuted because I'm part of a marginalized group and therefore prosecuting me is a hate crime', or some such thing. Hopefully you get the point. Thanks." Great question, Jesse. Crimes become hate crimes when the motive for the crime, the specific intention of the suspect was to commit the crime against their victim because of the victim's perceived disability, gender, nationality, race, or ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or the victim's association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics. So if I commit any crime, a battery, a robbery, a rape, a murder, because of my perception of your gender or sexual orientation or race or what have you, then that's a hate crime even if that list doesn't actually apply to you.
But let's say I, as the suspect think it applies to you, that makes it a hate crime. Does that make sense? So if I hit someone because I think they're gay, then that's a hate crime, regardless of whether or not my victim is actually gay or not. The key thing to understand is that hate crimes are really just regular crimes like robbery, battery, rape, murder, like I just mentioned, but they are committed with an intent of hatred against a perceived characteristic. What makes this hate crime designation different is that it is a sentence enhancement, meaning stiffer penalties for the crime than if it was just a regular crime not motivated by hate. Now for your detective. It means they need to not only prove who committed the crime, but they also have to prove that their intention was based on targeting this victim because of one or more of those characteristics listed in the criminal statute.
So that may hinge on the interrogation of the suspect, or it could be proven by witness statements about what the suspect, let's say, was yelling or was wearing at the time of the crime. Can I prove a stabbing is a hate crime because a light-skinned male stabs a dark skinned male? Just given those facts, no, I can't. But if I have witness statements, or cell phone video, or surveillance video of the suspect yelling racial slurs at the time of the attack, or wearing neo-Nazi tattoos or clothing while attacking a victim that is perceived to have a characteristic like dark skin or sexual orientation that neo-Nazis are known to target, that's a pretty easy hate crime to prove. Pretty much any crime can be a hate crime, if you can show the relation between the crime and the victim or victims being targeted.
Is a swastika painted on your own front door a crime? Probably not, thanks to the first amendment's right to free speech, unless you have a landlord. And I know some of my EU listeners are probably thinking, "What the ... right now?" But painting that same swastika on a synagogue, or a church, or a gay bar is definitely a hate crime because it's vandalism, the crime, targeting the person or persons associated with that location... Continue reading...
This week on the Writer's Detective Bureau, subject matter experts, red dot lasers and approaching suspects. I'm Adam Richardson and this is the Writer's Detective Bureau.
Welcome to episode number 66 of the Writer's Detective Bureau, the podcast dedicated to helping authors and screenwriters write professional quality crime related fiction. And this week I'm answering your questions about the role subject matter experts play in an investigation, the real purpose behind those red dot laser sights for firearms and my thoughts behind approaching a suspect you want to interview. And as always, I need to thank my gold shield patrons, Debra Dunbar from debradunbar.com, C.C. Jameson from ccjameson.com, Larry Keaton, Vicki Tharp of vickitharp.com, Chrysann, Larry Darter, and Natalie Barelli of nataliebarelli.com for their support. Also, a special thanks to one of my anonymous patrons for upping their pledge to the gold shield level.
I give these shout outs as a thank you, but you are by no means required to have your name or website mentioned. Either way, thank you all for your support and my thanks of course also to my coffee club patrons for their support. You all keep the lights on in the Bureau and I truly appreciate every single one of you. You can find links to all of the, I'll call them nonymous, which is the opposite of an of anonymous, right? So all the anonymous writers supporting this episode, you can find them in the show notes at writersdetective.com/66. And to learn about setting up your own Patreon account for your author business, visit writersdetective.com/patreon, P-A-T-R-E-O-N.
As I record this, it's day two of NaNoWriMo. It's the 2nd of November, 2019 and I hope you've had a solid start if you are partaking in NaNo, and you might actually just want to hit pause right now and get your word count in. Hopefully, this is a prize for you, or some sort of little present you're giving yourself after having completed your daily word count. We are just a few days away from 20BooksVegas, the conference that I'm attending. So if you are attending, please come join me and Patrick O'Donnell, from Cops and Writers, for happy hour on Tuesday night at Billy Joe's bar at the conference.
And check out our police procedural panel on Thursday at 1:00 PM. Patrick's moderating the panel and I will be one of his speakers. So according to the Sched App, that's like schedule, or schedule, S-C-H-E-D, that the conference is using, we already have 140 people attending our panel. So if you are attending 20BooksVegas, I will include a link in the show notes to the sched.com page where you can RSVP for your seat and I cannot wait to meet you. All right, so let's get into this week's first question.
Native Ben-Meir asks, "You speak about cops working with PIs and how it is a one way street. What about expert consultants? Could they get involved in the case as they do on TV shows or is that pure fiction? What about volunteers? Could they be more involved in the case or would they be no more than an administrator lackey? Could you even have volunteers involved in a crime or murder investigation? And the obvious followup would be a PI which volunteers with the police?" Thanks for the questions, Native.
It isn't pure fiction, but it is far more limited than TV will have you believe in most cases. Most experts get involved with a case when it comes to testimony during trial, to explain to a jury what the expert believes the evidence should mean to them, which leads experts to being called by both the prosecution and the defense, often to provide competing expert analysis. When experts are used by law enforcement during the investigative process, they're being used for a very specific purpose and the detectives will limit the information given to the expert to only that part of the case for which they need expert advice. They will intentionally limit how involved the expert actually gets in the investigation itself.
"Agent Starling, where the heck did this come from? It's practically mush."
"It was found behind the soft palate of a murder victim. The body was in the Elk River, West Virginia."
"It's Buffalo Bill, isn't it?"
"I'm afraid I can't tell you any more about that."
"We heard about it on the radio. You mean, this is like a clue from a real murder case? Cool."
"Just ignore him. He's not a PhD."
When Clarice Starling reaches out to the entomologists, in Silence of the Lambs, she doesn't read them in on her serial killer investigation. She needs their expert opinion on the one thing she's inquiring about and that's it. Also, by limiting the information provided to only what is necessary, it helps prevent any eventual argument by the defense that the expert's opinions were tainted by the investigators.
Besides experts, or not, they are people and people love to talk, especially when they're doing something important. So just like when the entomologists in Silence of the Lambs are asking if it's involving the Buffalo Bill case, she shuts them down. Need to know, right to know, is always the smartest play... Continue reading...
This week on the Writer's Detective Bureau, The Ripoff Episode. I'm Adam Richardson, and this is the Writer's Detective Bureau. Welcome to episode number 65 of the Writer's Detective Bureau, the podcast dedicated to helping authors and screenwriters write professional-quality crime-related fiction. Unfortunately this week, I am totally ripping you off by only answering one question, and it's about burglary. Real quick, I need to thank my gold shield patrons, Deborah Dunbar, C.C. Jamison, Larry Keeton, Vicki Tharp, Chrysann, Larry Darter, Natalie Barelli, and all of my coffee club patrons for their support month after month. To learn more about setting up your own Patreon account for your author business, visit writersdetective.com/patreon, P-A-T-R-E-O-N.
Welcome to The Ripoff Episode, sponsored by, not really, Stanley Steemer. Okay, I'm calling this The Ripoff Episode, not because of this week's only question is about burglary, but because I literally need to be on the road in half an hour, and my entire scheduled recording time today has my neighbor getting their carpets cleaned by Stanley Steemer. Now, they do a great and thorough job, which means they have been making noise for hours, and I'm trying to get this episode recorded while the steamer's pump is off right now, so let's get into it. This week's question comes from Stephanie Burnham. "Can you describe how the police handle a residence that's been burgled? In Baltimore, I saw a burglary detail visit the victim and they dusted for fingerprints, surveyed for footprints, and use Ziploc bags for dust and fiber particles. Is it the same in California, San Diego per se?"
Before I get into answering Stephanie's question, just real quick, burglary is the crime of intentionally entering a building to commit theft or any felony. In some states, they may refer to this as breaking and entering, but in California, and San Diego in particular, the crime is burglary, which is a very different crime from robbery, which is the taking of property from a person through force or fear. Just remember a house isn't robbed, it's burglarized.
All right, to answer your question, Stephanie burglaries are initially investigated by the patrol officers that respond to the initial call that the resident made to the police, and they will take a report as to what was taken. They will note especially the timeframe for when it could have possibly happened, and then they'll search for evidence just as you saw in Baltimore. And that could mean dusting for fingerprints or even canvassing the neighborhood to identify witnesses or find neighbors with surveillance cameras or Ring doorbells that may have caught footage of the suspects.
Most patrol cars will have a latent fingerprint kit for them to be able to dust for prints and a basic crime scene kit for collecting evidence, but if it's going to be an extended forensics search, they may call for CSI, and CSI could be the department's forensics team, forensic science team, or it could be somebody on the patrol squad that has a little bit more CSI training and has a more advanced CSI kit assigned to them. It could be one of those two things. Once the report is written, it may go to a detective for follow-up, or the case may be suspended if there aren't any further leads. And like I've said before on this podcast, it's not about the money, it's about the money... Continue reading...
This week on the Writer's Detective Bureau, Preptober, FBI consultants and SWAT standoffs. I'm Adam Richardson and this is the Writer's Detective Bureau.
Welcome to episode number 64 of the Writer's Detective Bureau, the podcast dedicated to helping authors and screenwriters write professional quality crime related fiction. And this week I'm talking about preparation for NaNoWriMo, the state of the Bureau, creating an FBI consultant as a character and the role of a hostage negotiator in a SWAT standoff.
But before we get into that, as always, I need to thank my Gold Shield Patrons, Debra Dunbar from debradunbar.com, C.C. Jameson from ccjamison.com, Larry Keeton, Vicky Tharp of vickitharp.com, Chrysann, Jimmy Cowe of crimibox.com, Larry Darter, and Natalie Barelli of nataliebarelli.com for their support. Also my huge thanks to the Coffee Club Patrons for their support month after month. You all keep the lights on in the Bureau and you can find links to all of the writers supporting this episode by going to the show notes at writersdetective.com/64. And to learn about setting up your own Patreon account for your author business, visit writersdetective.com/patreon. P-A-T-R-E-O-N.
So as I record this, we are over halfway through October, 2019, or Preptober 2019 if you're planning on participating in NaNoWriMo. I'm sure you've heard of National Novel Writing Month, which is every November. But I'm encouraging you to join hundreds of thousands of other writers this November by signing up at nanowrimo.org and going after the goal of writing 50,000 words this November. I know, it sounds daunting. But one of the reasons why I'm suggesting this is because once you sign up, you get access to a ton of support and community and they have a great Nano Prep 101 section under writers resources. There you will find several weeks worth of writing preparation tools, like developing a story idea, character development, experimenting with a plotting method, exploring your story setting and getting your life and schedule organized for writing throughout the month of November. The ultimate goal of NaNoWriMo is for you to write 50,000 words towards a brand new novel in November. So you can plan plot, pen and outline in preparation for November 1st but everyone starts November with zero words written.
I love this idea because it's a to start a brand new story, a blank slate, and it will get you set up perfectly for having some writing momentum into the new year. Realistically, after writing through November, you'll probably take the holidays off to let that story marinate and then January means you'll already have a running start for the published my book, new year's resolution. And the NaNoWriMo word count goal forces you to work on your time management skills.
Now, speaking of time management and book publishing, some big changes are happening here at the Bureau. Some of you may know that I hired an assistant earlier this year... Continue reading...
This week on the Writer's Detective Bureau, inside a crime scene, search warrant limitations, and criminal appeals. I'm Adam Richardson, and this is the Writer's Detective Bureau.
Welcome to episode number 63 of the Writer's Detective Bureau, the podcast dedicated to helping authors and screenwriters write professional quality crime-related fiction. This week, I'm answering your questions about what it really feels like inside a crime scene, the limits of a search warrant, and some clarification on cold cases and criminal appeals, but I have some people to thank first.
As always, I need to thank my gold shield patrons on Patreon, specifically Debra Dunbar from debradunbar.com, C.C. Jameson from ccjameson.com, Larry Keeton, Vicki Tharp of vickitharpe.com, Chrysann, Jimmy Cowe of crimibox.com, and Larry Darter for their continued support, and special thanks this week to Natalie Barelli of nataliebarelli.com for upping her pledge and becoming a gold shield patron just a few days ago.
I'd also like to thank all of my coffee club patrons for their support every single month. Your support keeps the lights on in the Bureau. You can find links to all of the writers supporting this episode by going to the show notes at writersdetective.com/63. To learn about setting up your own Patreon account for your author business, visit writersdetective.com/patreon, P-A-T-R-E-O-N.
.We're starting this week with a flashback to 2015 when I first started my blog and when award-winning and bestselling crime writer Sue Coletta gave me a shot at my very first guest blog post. You can still find it up on Sue's website AT suecoletta.com. before we get into our first question, which will line up nicely with this actually, I thought I'd blow the dust off of this guest blog post I did, and share what it really feels like inside a crime scene.
It's a familiar scene. A dead body is on the floor. Blood spatter is everywhere and spent shell casings are strewn about the room. The first police officer on scene checks the area for the shooter, but he's GOA. The officer then checks the victim for a pulse, DRT (GOA means gone on arrival, and DRT is some unprofessional slang for dead right there). This is a murder scene. The crime scene is locked down. The yellow tape goes up and homicide detectives are called.
What happens next? Well, before CSI swabs a single blood droplet or a homicide detective opens a single drawer, your detective needs a warrant. I know what you're thinking, "But this is a homicide scene." Well, hang on a second. In 1978, the U.S. Supreme court ruled in Mincey v. Arizona that even though a homicide occurred inside a building, it does not give law enforcement carte blanche to search the premises for evidence beyond what is in plain view.
In other words, if investigators wanted to search beyond what is immediately visible, things like bullets stuck in walls, blood spatter behind the bookcase, or looking into drawers, they need a search warrant to further bolster the warrant argument. The court ruled that it was not reasonable for law enforcement to freeze the crime scene for hours and hours or to bring in scientific experts that are not sworn law enforcement officers without a warrant.
It's time for you to meet the Mincey warrant. It's a relatively short fill-in-the-blank search warrant for a crime scene. The next time your detective responds to a crime scene, consider mentioning the Mincey warrant to add a little bit of realism to your story. At this point, the Mincey warrant has been approved, and your investigative team can go into the scene and do all the CSI processing you've seen on TV, but what's it really like inside the crime scene?.. Continue reading...
This week on the Writer's Detective Bureau, ruses, brought in for questioning, and recording gaps. I'm Adam Richardson, and this is the Writer's Detective Bureau.
Welcome to episode number 62 of the Writer's Detective Bureau, the podcast dedicated to helping authors and screenwriters write professional quality crime-related fiction. This week, I'm answering your questions about when cops are allowed to lie, what it really means when you're brought in for questioning, and what happens when there are gaps in the recording of an interrogation.
But before we get into that, as always, I need to thank my Gold Shield patrons. Debra Dunbar from debradunbar.com, C.C. Jameson from ccjameson.com, Larry Keeton, Vicki Tharp of vickitharp.com, Dharma Kelleher of dharmakelleher.com, Chrysann, Jimmy Cowe of Crimibox, and Larry Darter for their support.
I'd also like to thank all of my Coffee Club patrons for their support every single month. Your support keeps the lights on in the bureau, and you can find links to all of the writers supporting this episode in the show notes at writersdetective.com/62, and to learn about setting up your own Patreon account for your author business, visit writersdetective.com/patreon, P-A-T-R-E-O-N.
So when I was talking about not tolerating lying, I was specifically talking about, number one, on the stand or anytime you're providing testimony or a sworn affidavit, like when you're swearing out a search warrant or an arrest warrant. Yeah, even in writing a police report, especially when it comes to what you personally did or saw as a police officer. Police reports are never going to be perfect, and when errors arise in a police report, it's usually the result of statements given by the people being interviewed.
So we write our reports based upon what we believe to be true at the time. So if a witness or a victim lies to us, that lie is going to end up in the police report, but under no circumstances should an officer knowingly put false information into a report. Number two, in any official capacity within your department or chain of command, like in reporting to your supervisors or filling out your timecard.
I say official because we're still talking about a workplace here. If we're planning a surprise birthday party for a coworker, I'm not going to be the party-pooper. I'm going to lie right to his face when he asks what I'm doing this weekend just like any of us would really do. But if it turns into something official, like whether I'm available to respond in to work, uh, well, then sorry, buddy. I'm not going to be making it to your party anyway.
All right, so let's talk about when we can lie or use a ruse. Let's get this first urban myth out of the way right now. I do not have to tell you I am an undercover cop. Now, I'm not allowed to entrap you. Meaning, I'm not allowed to entice you into committing a crime you had no intention of committing. I can't plant that seed. But if we're sitting in a bar and having a friendly conversation, and you confide in me that you murdered someone, or you trust me to become a drug dealer for you, then no. I can definitely lie about my identity and yes, lie about my being a cop.
Now, next. Much more commonly, I can legally use a ruse, which is legalese for "pull some shenanigans" in an interview or an interrogation. The US Supreme Court landmark decision Frazier versus Cupp, C-U-P-P, in 1969 and in subsequent case law allows for voluntary confessions to be admissible in court, even if deceptive tactics were used to obtain those confessions.
So I can lie to you and tell you that your coworker told me what you did when in fact I haven't talked to her. I can tell you I have your fingerprints at a crime scene when I really don't. I can tell you that your co-conspirator is in the next interview room giving you up for your role in the robbery, even if we haven't really found him yet.
I've talked before on this podcast about using strategy in an interrogation. So if I'm going to use this ruse, this bluff, I have to be damn sure it's not going to backfire. If this really is the guy, and I tell him I have his fingerprints, but he knows he wore gloves, then he knows I'm lying and that this whole interview is just a fishing expedition. It means my interview just died because I revealed that it's a bluff, but sometimes that bluff is all we have... Continue reading...
This week on the Writer's Detective Bureau. Firearms qualifications, exceptional means and OODA Loops. I'm Adam Richardson and this is the Writer's Detective Bureau. Welcome to episode 61 of the Writer's Detective Bureau, the podcast dedicated to helping authors and screenwriters write professional quality crime-related fiction.
This week, I'm answering your questions about firearms qualifications for police officers when your suspect is terminally ill and what the heck does OODA mean? But before we get into that, as always, I need to thank my Golden Shield patrons on Patreon, especially Debra Dunbar from debradunbar.com, C.C. Jameson from ccjameson.com, Larry Keeton, Vicki Tharp of vickitharp.com, Dharma Kelleher of dharmakelleher.com, Chrysann, Jimmy Cowe of Crimibox and Larry Darter for their support.
I'd also like to thank all of my coffee club patrons for their support every month and a special shout-out to Amanda Feyerbend for upping her monthly pledge. Your support keeps the lights on in the bureau and you can find links to all of the writers supporting this episode by going to the show notes at writersdetective.com/61. To learn about setting up your own Patreon account for your author business, visit writersdetective.com/patreon, P-A-T-R-E-O-N.
This week's first question comes from P.G. Kassel and you can check out his author website at pgkassel.com. P.G. writes, "In a recent podcast, you discussed the firearm qualification requirements for police officers. As a gun enthusiast, I'd be interested to know specifically what an officer needs to do in order to qualify or re-qualify. Thanks so much for all your time in providing truly valuable information."
Thanks a lot P.G. Well, California requires yearly qualifications for firearms and it's really up to the agency to define their own standards. The basic Police Academy requires several different qualifications for handgun and shotgun, which include day and night scenarios.
Some of those are designed to demonstrate basic firearms competency and then others are actual combat courses. They're testing for different things, but in the academy, you go through a lot of different shooting scenarios.
The big difference being that basic competency is demonstrated by standing in front of a paper target at a designated distance and then drawing and firing in a specified timeframe.
Combat shoots are dynamic and they involve moving and shooting and I should mention that we also qualify with our rifles which are AR-15 or M4 variants. We qualify with our tasers and our less lethal weapons like bean bag shotguns or the 40 millimeter foam rounds that fit in a grenade launcher.
At my department, the stand in front of your paper target and shoot is what we call our badge shoot and we do that once per year in accordance with the state minimums and it's how we earn or lose our marksmanship pins for the year.
Those are the pins that we wear on our uniform... Continue reading...
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