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Category Archives: Police Procedure

Crime and Science Radio: Small Town Cop; Big Time Police Chief: An Interview with Chief Scott Silverii

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BIO: Scott Silverii, PhD has been in law enforcement for over 22 years and since 2011 has served as chief of police in Thibodaux, LA. He has often challenged the traditions of law enforcement with progressive leadership centered on community service, accountability and an intelligence-led ideology. Having commanded every major criminal division for a nationally accredited agency, he also serves as a national subject matter expert in data-driven approaches to crime and traffic safety. Chief Silverii, having earned a Master of Public Administration and a Doctor of Philosophy was appointed to the IACP’s prestigious Research Advisory Committee. He was awarded NHTSA’s highest honor for public service, and recently invited by the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ Director to serve on the national Crime Indicators Working Group for assessing and revising the Uniform Crime Reporting system.

LISTENhttp://www.blogtalkradio.com/suspensemagazine/2015/02/05/crime-and-science-radio-with-special-guest-scott-silverii

LINKS:

Scott’s Website: Bright Blue Line: http://scottsilverii.com

Scott’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/CopsWritingCrime

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10-CODE links:

Amazon: http://amzn.com/B00PR9QWJM

iBooks https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/10-code/id955143897?mt=11&uo=4

Barnes & Noble – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/10-code-l-scott-silverii/1120993714?ean=2940150002203

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Bayou Backslide links:

Amazon: http://amzn.com/B00Q0ODAZ2

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/bayou-backslide/id944608095?mt=11&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

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Bayou Roux links:

Amazon: http://amzn.com/B00R6ZK1YC

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/bayou-roux-season-1/id947465302?mt=11&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

Barnes and Noble: http://m.barnesandnoble.com/w/bayou-roux-l-scott-silverii/1121006219?ean=2940149974276

 

Crime and Science Radio: Chasing Monsters; Running From Monsters: An Interview with Douglas Preston, Best-selling Author of The Monster Of Florence

Join Jan Burke and I on Crime and Science Radio Saturday morning 2-14-15 at 10 a.m. Pacific as we welcome Douglas Preston to the show for a lively discussion of the serial killer known as The Monster of Florence and Doug’s “adventures” while researching this story.

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BIO: Douglas Preston has published twenty-eight books, nonfiction and fiction, several of which have been #1 New York Times bestsellers. He writes for the New Yorker magazine and taught nonfiction writing at Princeton University. His most recent nonfiction book, The Monster of Florence, is being made into a movie starring George Clooney. He is the co-creator, with Lincoln Child, of the Agent Pendergast series of novels

LISTENhttp://www.blogtalkradio.com/suspensemagazine/2015/02/04/crime-and-science-radio-with-special-guest-douglas-preston

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LINKS:

Douglas Preston’s Website: http://www.prestonchild.com

Crime Library: The Monster of Florence: http://www.crimelibrary.com/serial_killers/predators/monster_florence/1.html

Florence Webguide: The Monster of Florence: http://www.florencewebguide.com/monster-of-florence.html

The Atlantic: The Monster of Florence: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2006/07/the-monster-of-florence/304981/6/

Biography: The Monster of Florence: http://www.biography.com/people/the-monster-of-florence-573530

Biography: Amanda Knox: http://www.biography.com/people/amanda-knox-20663285

Huffington Post: Knox and Sollecito: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steve-drizin/amanda-knox-and-raffaele-_b_4757435.html

The Coronado Expedition: http://arizonaexperience.org/remember/coronado-expedition

Coronado and the Seven Cities of Cibola: http://basementgeographer.com/coronado-and-the-seven-cities-of-cibola/

 
 

Spend a Day With the FBI at ThrillerFest 2015

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Are you going to ThrillerFest? Want to spend a day with the FBI? 

Lock In The Date!

Join us for a Pre-Conference Workshop: Today’s FBI: Crime Essentials For Writers

WHEN: Monday, July 6, 2015 (Full-day seminar, exact time to be determined soon)

WHERE: FBI Headquarters, 290 Broadway, New York, New York

WHAT: Hear from FBI experts in Cybercrime, International Terrorism, Criminal Investigations, and More

COST: $75/per person, which includes lunch, drinks, and snacks

Last year’s course was a huge success, so we are offering the seminar again this year. Space is limited.

If you have already registered for ThrillerFest, please email Dennis Kennett at registrar@thrillerwriters.org so that he can add the workshop to your registration. The credit card you used for registration will be used for payment.

In your email, you will need to provide your first, middle, and last name; city, state, and country of birth; birth date; and if you are not a U.S. citizen, your passport number. Please, no middle initials. This information is used by the FBI to vet your entrance into the workshop. Example:

John Jack Doe

Anytown, TX USA

06/12/82

If you are not registered, please go to https://www.regonline.com/TFX. You will find the workshop as one of the choices available.You will need to provide the same information as above.

Whether you are checking facts, or writing and researching your next novel, if you need a better understanding of the FBI, this seminar is for you!

Warmest regards,

Kimberley Howe

Executive Director, ThrillerFest

If you plan to attend, a response is mandatory. Your name must be on the admittance list at the FBI building, so please reserve your spot today! No Audio or Video recording, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth enabled devices.

This workshop is limited in attendance by the FBI and is expected to sell out.

Click Here to Register

 
1 Comment

Posted by on February 6, 2015 in Police Procedure, Writing

 

Crime and Science Radio: What You Did Here Told Me Who You Are: An Interview with former FBI Criminal Profiler Mark Safarik

On Crime and Science Radio  Saturday, January 17th and 10 a.m. Pacific Time, DP Lyle and Jan Burke will welcome special guest criminal profiler Mark Safarik and discuss what makes the bad guys tick. Killer Instinct BIO: Mark Safarik was a senior member of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s elite Behavioral Analysis Unit, during which time he established himself as an internationally recognized expert in the analysis and interpretation of violent criminal behavior. Mr. Safarik’s law enforcement career spans over 30 years, during which time he worked in all levels of police work, from working patrol as a beat cop to investigating murders as a detective.  But the defining moments in Mr. Safarik’s professional life came during his 23 years with the FBI, where he spent over half that time as a criminal profiler. Mr. Safarik led the consultation efforts on many high profile national and international violent crime cases and lectured at numerous foreign police forces around the world, sharing his expertise in the analysis of homicide and complex crime scene behavior. Mr. Safarik has a graduate degree from Boston University and is an adjunct faculty member at Boston College. He is a lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania, a faculty member of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology and an advisory board member at the Wecht Institute of Forensic Science and Law.  He has conducted internationally renowned research on the sexual assault and homicide of elder females and received the prestigious Jefferson Medal from the University of Virginia for this groundbreaking work. He was presented with the Silver Medal from The Spanish Society of Criminology and Forensic Science, the first non-European to receive this honor. He is a member of the highly respected Vidocq Society, a criminological group that donates its investigative resources to solving cold case homicides. He is well-published in international journals, including the Journal of Forensic Sciences, International Journal of Homicide Studies. He has appeared on Dateline, Court TV, Forensic Files, New Detectives, MSNBC and The Discovery Channel to discuss his cases and analyses. His television series, Killer Instinct, is currently airing on the Biography Channel. Since 2008 he has been a  consultant for the popular television series CSI: Las Vegas and Bones. He has a new Cold Case Homicide show airing in 2015 in Sweden and begins filming a new Unsolved Homicide in Denmark in 2015.

LISTEN:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/suspensemagazine/2014/12/07/crime-and-science-radio-with-special-guest-mark-safarik

LINKS:

Forensic Behavioral Services International  http://fbsinternational.com

Robert K Ressler Memorial Page http://fbsinternational.com/in-memoriam/

The FBI Investigator Who Coined The Term “Serial Killer” http://www.npr.org/2013/12/29/258160192/the-fbi-investigator-who-coined-the-term-serial-killer

Killer Instinct Trailer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7g4asGrGdYE

FBI Behavioral Research and Instruction Unit http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cirg/investigations-and-operations-support/briu

National Center for Analysis of Violent Crime http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cirg/investigations-and-operations-support/investigations-operations-support#cirg_ba

Criminal Profiling: The Reality Behind the Myth http://www.apa.org/monitor/julaug04/criminal.aspx

Frequently asked questions about becoming an employee at the FBI’s National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime https://www.fbijobs.gov/611.asp

 

Does Lack of Sound Sleep Alter Memories And Perceptions?

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Ever had a dream so vivid that it seemed too real to be a dream? Or awakened all fuzzy headed after a night of fractured sleep? So fuzzy that you couldn’t remember where the coffee maker was? Of course you have. We all have.

But do altered sleep patterns effect your perception of reality? Cause a blurring of the boundary between dreams and real life? Create false memories? Maybe so.

A recent article by Art Markman, MD in Psychology Today discusses a study jointly done by the University of California, Irvine and Michigan State University where these relationships were explored. The study findings suggest that the sleep-deprived brain is not to be trusted.

Though no longer with us, The Nut had no such sleep or memory problems

Though no longer with us, The Nut had no such sleep or memory problems

 
2 Comments

Posted by on November 20, 2014 in Forensic Psychiatry, Police Procedure

 

Crime and Science Radio: Going Undercover with NYPD Detective and Fiction Writer Marco Conelli

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Jan Burke and DP Lyle spend a lively hour with NYPD detective Marco Conelli and dig into his undercover work as well as his fiction writing.

BIO: A twenty year veteran detective of the NYPD, his diverse career is highlighted by his work as an undercover where he was plugged into many investigations for the Organized Crime Control Bureau. Specializing in narcotic and gun seizures, Marco was successful in removing both from New York City’s mean streets, while gathering important intelligence that led to voluminous criminal arrests.

His adaptation of disguises and the study of deduction are featured prominently in the Sherlock Holmes International Exhibition as well as Crime Writing Conferences nationwide. He has shared his insight with many best-selling novelists and is a member of Lee Lofland’s Writer’s Police Academy team.

Marco has published three novels in his Matthew Livingston Young Adult series.

He is the recipient of the 2011 Silver Falchion Award for best crime novel. The Matthew Livingston series has revitalized the hard boiled battle between good and evil seen through the abilities of three remarkable teenagers. Marco has also contributed articles to publications on the subjects of crime solving as well as literacy in America.

LISTENhttp://www.blogtalkradio.com/suspensemagazine/2014/09/16/crime-and-science-radio-with-special-guest-marco-conelli

LINKS:

Marco Conelli’s Website : www.marcoconelli.com

Matthew Livingston Books : www.amazon.com/Marco-Conelli/e/B002BLWHAM/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

Marco Crime writing Article: www.amazon.com/Crimespree-Magazine-47-May-Jun-ebook/dp/B008H8I8E2/ref=sr_1_16?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1405095782&sr=1-16&keywords=crimespree+magazine

NYPD Organized Crime Control Bureau: http://www.nyc.gov/html/nypd/html/administration/organized_crime_control_co.shtml

Mafia Is Down—-But Not Out: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304626804579363363092833756

Matthew-Livingston-And-The-Millionaire-Murder-by-Marco-ConelliMatthew-Livingston-And-The-Politics-Of-Death-by-Marco-ConelliPrisonofsouls

 

Guest Blogger: Sergeant Adam Plantinga: Fiction Versus Reality

As a novelist, one of your main jobs is to keep the story moving. And if your story deals with law enforcement, you probably don’t want to get too bogged down in the minutiae of police procedure. But you also want to present a narrative that rings true to life. It’s a bit of a balancing act. So to assist in this endeavor, I have put together nine key differences between fiction and reality as it pertains to cop stuff. Where applicable, I have also added a possible explanation, or an “out” if you really need that fictional element for the sake of a dramatic story arc. Because, after all, reality can be downright boring.

1. Fiction: The private investigator works closely with the local police force to help them solve the big case.

Reality: In thirteen years as a cop working in two different jurisdictions, I have never once had a meaningful exchange with a private investigator. Neither has anyone I know. In fact, on many murder cases, homicide detectives won’t even share everything they know with other police officers, fearing that the info might leak and compromise an ongoing investigation.

Possible explanation: Quite a few, I think. You just have to sell them. Perhaps the P.I. is an ex-cop who has helped the police before, so he has earned some street cred, like Robert B. Parker’s Spenser. Or maybe the police are on a tough case and are desperate for leads. Or your character is a witness or victim of the crime the police are investigating, so he or she is already deeply involved in the case (Lee Child’s Jack Reacher ends up in this position quite a bit). Whatever the case, there probably should still be some mistrust or even animosity between the two parties. The cops might throw a few investigative tidbits your P.I.’s way but perhaps they shouldn’t fully embrace him.

2. Fiction: The lone detective doggedly pursues the serial killer and confronts him alone, insisting “there’s no time for backup.” And if he does call for backup, it takes an incredibly long time for help to arrive, long enough for the hero to resolve the situation completely on his own.

Reality: There’s time for backup. It’s bad business to go after killers alone. You typically have a partner and you often enlist a SWAT team to do the heavy lifting. And if you get on the radio and call for help, your fellow cops will drop whatever they’re doing and come to your side. It’s like the bell-ringing scene at the end of Witness. They’ll get there quickly, and they will be out of breath when they arrive, because they had been running to reach you. 

Possible explanation: The hero tries to call for other units but his handheld radio gets damaged in a struggle with the suspect. Or he’s followed the bad guy into another jurisdiction where his signal is out of range. Or his partner gets wounded and can’t go on. I think it’s okay to get creative here. After all, if you spend your whole book setting up an epic confrontation between the hero cop and villain, only to have the hero step aside in the end so some anonymous SWAT team can take the villain into custody without incident, your readers may feel a bit cheated.

3. Fiction: The cops get DNA results back from the lab in three days.

Reality: I had a burglary that happened in November and I got DNA results from the scene the following July, which was actually pretty quick for San Francisco. Even for homicides, which are fast-tracked, the quickest turnaround for DNA results is probably going to be one to three weeks.

Possible explanation: Maybe your jurisdiction just received a federal grant to hire a team of new lab techs. Or your story simply takes place in a fictional universe where DNA results come back faster than they do in real life. That’s okay. Fiction allows you certain freedoms; your protagonist is probably better-looking and drops more clever one-liners than any real cop anyway. 

4. Fiction: The cop confronts a gunman and tells him to drop his weapon. If the bad guy doesn’t drop it, the cop often will warn him again.

Reality: Odds are the cop will shoot that guy right away. That is what police training dictates. As a firearms instructor once told me, “What are you waiting for? This guy has a gun, he’s ten feet away, and you’ve got no cover. Shoot him.” Warnings are fine when practical, the instructor explained, but action always beats reaction so the bad guy can plug you before you can even get a “Drop the” out of your mouth. So shoot instead of chat. And, he continued, if you feel so strongly about saying “Drop the gun,” say it to the guy after you’ve fired.

5. Fiction: As soon as the handcuffs go on, the cop immediately reads the suspect his Miranda rights.

Reality: As a police officer, you are required to read someone their rights only after they are in police custody and you are about to interrogate them about an offense. Custody plus interrogation equals Miranda, not before.  It is often tactical to wait to Mirandize a guy for a while because the offender may make a spontaneous, incriminating statement prior to formal interrogation.

6. Fiction: Your hero jumps in his ultra-efficient, lightning-fast police cruiser and chases the suspect vehicle through a dozen jurisdictions. The pursuit only comes to a halt after the hero rams the suspect car and shoots out its tires.

Reality: While suspects may drive as recklessly as they wish, as a police officer, you have to drive with “due regard.” This means at each intersection, you have to slow to look for oncoming traffic and take it easy on the hot-dogging, even if you have your lights and siren on. Also, pursuit policies vary by department, but generally speaking, you are only allowed to pursue violent felons and even then, you’re not allowed to ram them. You may deploy spike strips to puncture the fleeing vehicle’s tires, but you’re not supposed to shoot out tires because firing at a moving vehicle is far more dangerous than practical. And there’s always a supervisor listening to the chase on the radio who will terminate the pursuit if it sounds like things are getting out of hand.  Also, in a pursuit, the suspect vehicle may just flat outrun you. Police patrol cars aren’t anything special. Their most exotic feature is anti-lock brakes, which let you steer even in a skid, but they don’t have turbo-charged engines or double-reinforced tires. They’re just big cars made in Detroit, painted in police colors with some lights slapped on them. Sometimes their transmissions blow right in the middle of the chase.

Possible explanation: If your protagonist is chasing a murder suspect, the monitoring supervisor will likely let the pursuit go until the wheels fall off. And if it is an especially heinous murder, perhaps the supervisor will authorize the use of extreme measures to capture your quarry. Just know that if your hero elects to ram the suspect vehicle, it is often considered a use of deadly force—the same as if the hero fired a full clip at the bad guy.

7. Fiction: The cop protagonist recovers fingerprints off just about anything: rocks, stucco walls, quesadillas.

Reality: There are only a few surfaces conducive to the retrieval of fingerprints. Non-coated glass gives you the best shot, but many painted items are also good. Glossy paper and some metals, particularly aluminum, have a decent chance. I’ve heard of prints being taken off live plants before, and Band-Aids. But the list of surfaces where fingerprints don’t show up is longer, and includes undressed wood, bricks, cloth, and, well, most everything else. If a suspect touches a dusty surface, he’ll just remove dust instead of leaving a print and the kind of hard plastic most electronics are made of don’t tend to hold prints because of their textured surface. Also people leave more prints when it’s humid out and their fingers are oily than when it’s cold and their hands are dry. Manual laborers or workers who deal with chemicals for a living often have hands so gnarled and scuffed from their jobs that they couldn’t leave prints at a crime scene if they tried. And then there are, of course, burglars who merely wear gloves, which you can buy for two and a half bucks at any retail outlet and foil the ID tech.

Potential explanation: I’m not really sure. Maybe your fictional CSI team is just that good.

8. Fiction: The cop hero gleans valuable information from a street hooker, who is his informant and perhaps even his love interest. The hooker is alluring, funny, helpful and well-adjusted.

Reality: The vast majority of street prostitutes are out there on the corner because they’re hopelessly addicted to narcotics and selling themselves means earning quick cash to get high. You will likely never encounter a street hooker with a sense of humor, or an athletic, winsome one with a heart of gold like Jamie Lee Curtis in Trading Places. Real prostitutes have faces so ravaged by street life—pockmarks, sores, caked-on makeup—that it’s hard to look at them. They smell bad. They twitch. They have head lice. Drug addiction has made their daily existence lethargic and bleak, like the final stages of a progressive disease.

9. Fiction: The detectives locate the killer through some exotic means—like the suspect leaving behind traces of rare clay unique to a small fishing village in New Brunswick. Or they find an obscure clue on a surveillance tape that leads them to their man. (“Okay, Ned, play it back. Now forward. Freeze on that!”)

Reality: Criminals are caught because they impulsively shoot someone in front of multiple witnesses. Or because they accidentally drop their wallet containing their ID at the scene of the crime. Or because they tell their crackhead pals about the carjacking they committed and are subsequently turned in for the Crimestoppers reward. Basically they are caught because they’re idiots.

Possible explanation: I wouldn’t sweat this one too much. As a writer, you have some room to operate here. Such exotic and obscure clues can be fun to read about and they propel the story forward. I say let ’em rip.

Adam Plantinga

Adam Plantinga is a sergeant on the San Francisco Police Department and the author of the just-released book 400 Things Cops Know, available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, local booksellers, and from the publisher, Quill Driver Books

 

400 Things Cops Know Cover

 
19 Comments

Posted by on September 1, 2014 in Guest Blogger, Police Procedure

 
 
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