Register for Adam's upcoming writing workshop on Detective Character Mindset & Motivation. writersdetective.com/workshop In this episode, Adam talks about a cold-ish case scenario, civilian jobs in law enforcement, and how arrests made outside of...
Register for Adam's upcoming writing workshop on Detective Character Mindset & Motivation. writersdetective.com/workshop
In this episode, Adam talks about a cold-ish case scenario, civilian jobs in law enforcement, and how arrests made outside of your local jurisdiction are handled...plus some advice on writing for streaming services.
This episode would not be possible without the support of the following Patreon Patrons:
Before we get this week's episode started, I'd like to invite you to a free workshop. I'm running on the mindset and motivation of police, detective characters in your writing. The police detective is one of the most trope prone characters out there. So making a memorable and believable detective is key. And in this workshop, you'll get the inside scoop on how these characters think and act and why to register,
go to writers, detective.com forward slash workshop, and just select the date and time that works best for you. See you. Then this week on the writer's detective bureau, lukewarm cases using outside consultants and making arrests outside your jurisdiction. I'm Adam Richardson, and this is the writer's detective bureau. Welcome to episode 124 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 cold cases that might be a little lukewarm using outside consultants in your criminal investigation and making arrests outside of your jurisdiction. This week's first question comes from Lori Sibley, who asks, is there a term for a case that is not cold in the sense that they tried to solve it years ago, but for a case where a body is just discovered,
but it's been hidden there for 20 years. Are there any differences in the way you'd work, that type of case than you would for a body that's been murdered last night? Great question, Laurie. The term cold case really refers to whether the leads in a case have gone cold. So if a body is newly found, but they suspect that it's been there for 20 years,
the case might go cold pretty quickly, but depending on where it was found and what they may have found with it, there may be some initial leads to follow up on like who owns or owned the property where the body was found. Can we tie the body to a known, missing persons case? Will we get a hit on the decedent's DNA? So in that regard,
we still run our cases the same way as any other recent case, right up until we hit a dead end. And then once we hit a dead end, it becomes a cold case. Matt writes, I was wondering what you can tell me about police usage of outside consultants. We hear about it when someone brings in a psychic, but what about other types of non-police specialists that are involved in investigations?
Are there ever, for instance, people outside of the force who consult on interrogations, I've heard that usually crime scene investigators are sworn officers, but not always, I guess in short, I'd like to know more about which law enforcement duties are performed by civilians. Thanks for the info and the podcast. Matt, great question, Matt. We have many civilians that work in the police department that are involved in investigations,
but there are only a handful of non police department civilians that act as consultants on cases within the department. It's very common to have non-sworn meaning non-police officer civilians work as crime scene investigators. Many of these CSI civilians will have their own specialties like photography, fingerprint examination, blood spatter, or off analysis, DNA or serology, especially if they have a degree in chemistry or biology,
also firearms experts in ballistics tool, mark comparison, trajectory, reconstruction. And so on some may come to the department with a background in those fields, or they may attend schools as part of their, on the job training. We also have police dispatchers, crime analysts, polygraph examiners that are all civilians. If the agency is a Sheriff's office that also doubles as the county coroner,
they may have a forensic pathologist on staff, which is a medical doctor to do autopsies as far as civilians that are not employed by the department. We may contract with forensic artists, which we briefly talked about last episode, episode 1 23, and in a lot more detail in episode 1, 0 6, some larger departments may have a forensic artist as a department employee, but most departments across the U S do not have one on staff.
They just contract for their services. We may also ask for assistance from subject matter experts like forensic anthropologists with determining whether a bone came from a human versus an animal, or if it's a human bone, whether it's a modern human versus a bone from an indigenous burial site. And the teeth are usually the big giveaway for the ladder we saw in silence of the lambs,
we may reach out to other scientific specialists like an entomologist in insect expert. When we do seek the input of a subject matter expert, not affiliated with the police department, we do not brief them on the case. We compartmentalize our questioning just to the matter at hand, like what kind of bone is this, or what is the gestation period of this kind of larva?
We learn from them, but not the other way around. And they will likely have to testify at trial as to the expert opinion. They provide us, I have encountered psychics on a case, but that was them calling in to provide us info because they felt compelled to call on a high profile case. Not because we sought them out for help and no,
they were not right about the info they gave, at least not in my homicide case. The one kind of off the wall expert we did use in a case once was a hypnotist. We had a witness that vaguely remembered seeing a vehicle, leaving a crime scene, but they couldn't recall much more than that. And then under a hypnosis, they accurately recalled the make model and color of the suspect vehicle.
Not that we knew that it was accurate at the time, but once we caught our guy, it turned out the given while under hypnosis was spot on the plate they recalled on the other hand, while under hypnosis was way off. So just keep that in mind that it's, it, it may work, but not to a significant amount of detail. In hindsight,
that was the one. And only time I recall hearing of a hypnotist being used in any kind of criminal investigation, at least one that I was involved in. And that was because we were grasping at straws. I can't say that. I know of any other case like that. So don't expect your readers to necessarily believe that to be a common practice,
but I hope these answers provide some ideas, But before we get to our next question, I just need to quickly thank my Patrion patrons for supporting this show, especially in my gold shield, patrons, Debra Dunbar from Debra Dunbar com CC Jameson from CC jameson.com. Larry Keeton Vicki Tharp of Vicki tharp.com. Larry darter, Natalie Barrelli Craig Kingsman of Craig Kingsman dot com.
Marco Carocari of Marco Carocari dot com. Rob Kerns of nightfall, press.com, Mariah stone of Mariah stone.com, Aurora Jacobson, Kaley, and Robert Mendenhall of Robert J Mendenhall dot com for their support, along with my Silver Cufflink and Coffee Club patrons, you can find links to all of the patrons supporting this episode in the show notes at writers, detective.com forward slash 1, 2, 4,
and to learn more about using Patrion to grow your author business, or to support the show, check out writers, detective.com forward slash Patreon, P a T R E O N. Marc Jacobs asked this question in the Facebook group, which you can join. If you haven't already, by going to writers, detective.com forward slash Facebook, that will take you directly to the link.
That way you don't have to look it up and navigate Facebook to find it. So mark asked the question. The homicide detective is with the Seattle police department, he visits and then arrests on the spot, a suspect in Berian outside of SPDs jurisdiction. Would the suspect be initially detained by BPD and then transferred to SPD? And if so, how was the transfer of a detainee initiated and which agency physically moves the suspect?
Well Burean and Seattle, if I'm not mistaken are both within king county, king county, Washington. So Seattle PD would probably just give Barry and PD a heads up that they're in their city. Seattle PD would very likely make the arrest and book the suspect into king county jail. Where it typically starts to change is when the arrest is made in another county,
because the arrestee has a right to be booked in the county where the arrest was made so that arrestee can elect to be transported back to king county or be booked in the county where he was arrested either way, he'll end up in king county jail eventually, and be arraigned in king county superior court. As far as legal jurisdiction, the Seattle PD detective can arrest anyone in the state of Washington.
Thanks for sticking with me through the mediocre audio that I recorded while traveling in England, I'm back in the U S and back to work. And I'm now in the teens, I'm now 19 months and a few weeks away from retirement. And as it gets nearer, I've decided that I will be joining you in the world of fiction writing once retirement finally happens since I helped screenwriters,
as well as novelists, I keep tabs on trends in both sides of the business. And I want to speak to the novelists for a minute about the business trends we're seeing in Hollywood and how to best position your books for being optioned to Hollywood. Things have changed in Hollywood. Now, I don't need to tell you that bingeing, Netflix or Amazon video or Hulu or Disney plus or HBO and so on is the prime time real estate for attention,
but those streaming services are what you're going to have your best shot at selling your stories to turning your one-off book into a movie is an incredible long shot now because the movies in air quotes are not what they used to be. Movies now seem to be reserved for the 90 to 120 minutes, that we'll bring in 300 million to $900 million, which is the territory of the Titans,
like the Marvel universe, James Bond, Maverick in his top gun jet in star wars, which ironically have dominated as binge inducing series for Disney plus with shows like the Mandalorian book of Boba Fett and Obi-Wan Kenobi. So if you dream of seeing your stories, make it to the screen, seriously, consider how your book could translate into a 10 episode season or how your 10 hour story arc could include smaller episodic arcs in each hour long episode,
retired us Navy seal turned novelists. Jack Carr has done exactly that with terminal list, which was the first book in his series with James Reese as the protagonist and the same goes, of course, for Bosch and Bosch legacy based on the books of Michael Conley. Now it is still possible for your book to be made into a movie rather than a TV show. As mark Greenies,
gray man is set to be released on Netflix as a two hour movie, rather than a series. But again, that was a movie with a $200 million budget and directed by the Russo brothers, the same ones that have directed most of the Marvel universe movies that I have to admit I have not seen, but my point is this with a dozen or more streaming services competing with network TV,
movie theaters, and let's not forget YouTube, Instagram, and TOK for viewer attention, they are constantly looking for new and unique stories to buy and produce. So if you want to see your story, come to life on screen, think about how best to structure your stories for streaming services. And remember the Sage old screenwriting advice show, don't tell the easiest way to have your book adapted to a screenplay is to have a story rooted in action and dialogue.
It's really tough to adapt a book that largely takes place in the thoughts of the character rather than their actions and interactions with other characters. If this advice does prove helpful, just remember me in your Emmy award acceptance speech. Thanks again for listening this week. If you have questions, send them to me by going to writers, detective.com forward slash podcast. And don't forget to register for my workshop on police,
detective characters, mindset and motivation. Just go to writers, detective.com forward slash workshop. Thanks again for listening. Have a great week and write well.