Now that you've been introduced to the Writer's Police Academy, I'm going to talk about the classes.
The days started EARLY. Breakfast was 6 to 7 a.m. Boarding the buses to the academy started at 7 a.m. Buses usually left by 7:30 or so. I'm used to writing late at night, so the 5:30 a.m. Wake-up calls were a bit hard to take! Good thing I got my hair cut and it didn't take me long to get myself together.
Each day started with a demonstration once we arrived at the Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, a real police training academy. The first day, the recruits put on a demonstration of how they are trained to handle an “Officer Down” situation, in other words, getting an injured officer out of a dangerous area and on to a hospital as quickly as possible. In this instance, the assailant ran off, so the officers had to stay on alert not only to people in the vehicle they had stopped, but also to the possibility that the assailant would circle back.
The second day, the demonstration revolved around checking out an individual who is loitering and in crisis. This is someone suffering from mental illness, drug abuse, a job loss, conflict at home, whatever that may cloud judgment or put them on an emotional edge. This scenario included the dangers these individuals may present to a responding officer.
Both situations showed how quickly – seconds – the situation could go bad and present danger to both the officer and the individual.
The first morning, we also were able to meet a couple of mounted officers and their horse
So those are the classes we didn't choose to attend. They were presented to the entire group. And a great learning lesson they were.
Now on to the “regular” classes, aside from the High-Intensity Training (HIT) classes. In total for the weekend, writer's had room for eight classes, four each day. Sounds like a lot, but here's the list of the classes offered, outside of the high-intensity ones: Antique Firearms; Armed in America; Arson Investigation; Asian and Native Gangs; Bug Mania; Bloodstain Patterns and Spatter; Cordite, Perps and Badge Bunnies; Constitutional Law; CSI from First Responder to Evidence Collection; Death Scene Investigation; Dogs, Dogs, Dogs; Drug Identification; Federal Law Enforcement; Fingerprinting; Fundamentals of Police Patrol; Illegal Animal Fighting; Incognito! Explore the Undercover Experience; Introduction to Firearms; Fake Vs. Genuine Suicide Notes; Martial Arts for Writers (this may be a HIT class); Mental Health and Law Enforcement; Mindset of Cops; Prison Gangs; Secrets of the Secret Service; Tactical EMS; Talking to Serial Killers; Terminal Ballistics; The Dick and the Doc; and Understanding the “Link” in Animal Abuse.
Head spinning yet? And you get eight of that wonderful list, if you don't take any HIT classes. I haven't even touched the HIT classes yet. Again, these are all taught by cops, ex-cops, and professionals in their fields. Among the instructors were an officer with extensive undercover experience, an ATF agent, an FBI agent, a Secret Service agent, a coroner, and the list goes on.
Each instructor has an hour and fifteen minutes to present his or her class. Most didn't even get all the way through their subject matter, but covered as much as they could. They were dynamic, interesting, fun, and as informative as informative could be. I came home with a steno book about a quarter full of notes. I'm not going to guarantee I can read these notes …
Classes were limited in size, depending upon the subject matter and room. Most classroom sessions were limited to 30 or 40 people. But if you didn't get into your first choice, there were plenty of others!
All the instructors, officers and recruits were ready and willing to answer questions, some specific to what that particular writer is working on. Many of these instructors were also writers. But I will get to the instructors later. For now, look at that list and see if YOU could narrow it down!