This week on the Writers Detective Bureau, managing crime tips, counter terrorism, and the FBI National Academy. I'm Adam Richardson, and this is the Writers Detective Bureau. This is episode number 39 of the Writers Detective Bureau, the podcast dedicated to helping authors and screenwriters write professional quality crime related fiction. I'd like to thank gold shield patron Debra Dunbar from debradunbar.com, and gold shield patrons C.C. Jameson from ccjameson.com, and all of my coffee club patrons, including my latest patrons, Rick Siem, and Dan Stou for their support.
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This week's first question comes from Carol Ann Newsome, who you can find at canewsome.com, and Carol Ann asks, "In my work in progress, my detective is flooded with nuisance tips. How are tips via Crimestoppers, and other avenues processed and handled?" Well, you brought back some memories with this one Carol Ann. The one word answer I can give you is triage, Crimestoppers, WeTip, and the others act as call centers for incoming calls. The call takers are often volunteers, or employees that usually have no knowledge of the crimes that are being reported to them. If we're doing a media plea using the media to ask for leads, especially after releasing a photo, or a surveillance video, or a composite sketch, we may stand up our own anonymous tip line that is staffed with our own folks.
Either way, we will take every single call, and email, collect it, and review it. The ones we follow up on are prioritized based upon the likelihood that it matches with something that makes them seem relevant, and will also assess them on whether there's any reason to doubt the credibility of the caller. We have interesting people come out of the woodwork for these things. All of those call sheets, or emails do get followed up on eventually, or at least, well, reach out to the caller if they left a way to contact them, but the more likely the tip seems to fit what we're working on, the higher the priority we place on that follow up.
I worked a fugitive case once that was featured on America's Most Wanted, the TV show. They flew me from California to Washington D.C. to be in the call center as the show aired across the different time zones of the country. By being in the room as the calls came in, I was able to quickly discern whether this was something we needed to follow up on immediately... Continue reading...
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