was fortunate enough to attend a writers conference.
Now this was no ordinary romance writers conference as I have attended in the past. This was the Writers Police Academy. A fun filled weekend of hands on training that is invaluable to writers who strive to hone their craft in all things criminal. The weekend was crammed with exciting lectures, guest speakers and realistic props, so that each writer could fill his or her senses with realism.
We were offered actual police training, albeit abbreviated, on the real goings on in everyday law enforcement, forensics, specialized investigations and courtrooms proceedings. Those lucky enough to be in attendance got treated to a simulated police chase, K-9 demonstrations, building searches, FATS (firearms training simulator) and so much more.
I got handcuffed, shot (thankfully they didn’t let us use real weapons), and got to try on the jacket and helmet they use to disable bombs. This was not as fun as it sounds as the jacket alone weighs in at nearly 100 pounds. The officer who helped me into the suit said it is said to weigh 80 lbs but he has it more around 100. After trying it on I have to agree with him, as all I could do was stand there like the little boy in A Christmas Story. I
was not able to put my arms down. Heck who am I kidding; I couldn’t move a single muscle. I half expected to float away like a helium balloon the second I was freed from the cumbersome jacket.
Upon leaving the exhibit I was asked by a lady in a golf cart if I’d like a ride down the hill, no thanks, I think I will just float down I thought. That feeling was short lived as I hurried to climb onboard before she changed her mind. I justified this ride by the fact that I had been taking the stairs at the hotel when time and strength allowed.
In the handcuffing demonstration I was the guinea pig, I mean suspect. Cpl Jackson, a former Marine and now tough as nails female police officer used me to demonstrate how to arrest someone. After being in the cuffs only moments I was pleased that I had not chosen a life of crime. Being handcuffed is not all it is cracked up to be. Before any of my readers e-mail me to educate me in the pleasures of being handcuffed, let me remind you these were real police grade handcuffs, not padded leopard cuffs. :)
After I was handcuffed, everyone was invited up to see how the cuffs should look when on properly. I was released and we all got to take turns handcuffing each other. Partnered with author Alexandra Sokoloff, I handcuffed her hands securely behind her back, or so I thought. Within seconds she was able to maneuver her legs through her arms so that her hands were now resting more comfortably in front of her body. While
this is something that most people would not be able to do, Alex was able to bring her arms to the front with little more than a tender wrist and broken fingernail. Luckily for me I was not a real cop, with a real gun. One she could have easily taken from me, had I thought her arms still securely behind her. We were told this was the reason they stopped using the chain handcuffs, instead switching to the unforgiving hinged cuff which is impossible to maneuver to the front.
While some may think experiences such as these simply a perk of the job, I can attest that hands on scenarios help to heighten the creativity, moreover they help writers to get it right!
While I had a blast, my voices must have enjoyed the experience as well, as they have been talking nonstop since returning home. For me this unexpected journey has opened new doors and taken me in a whole new direction. It has shown me that every now and then a person must step outside their comfort zone and see what life has to offer. I am sure glad I did as I feel this was only the beginning for me!
Make sure to go my pictures gallery to see more pictures from the weekend.