PSWA Newsletter–December 2014

PSWA Newsletter
DECEMBER 2014

CONTENTS:

  • PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE
  • ‘TIS THE SEASON (TO BE VICTMIZED)
  • WRITING HARD
  • WHY GO TO WRITING CONFERENCES?
  • HERE THEY COME—THE WILDFIRES AND THE ARSONISTS!
  • PUBLIC SAFETY DISPATCHING: A QUICK OVERVIEW
  • 2015 WRITING COMPETITION OPENS FOR ENTRIES
  • JOHN WILLS’ REVIEW OF MEMBER PETE M. KLISMET’S BOOK, FBI ANIMAL HOUSE

PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE

molsen-200All of us have certainly been saddened by the recent death of our wonderful friend and colleague, AJ Farrar.

I first met AJ in the late 1990’s through our predecessor organization, the Police Writers Club founded by Roger Fulton. As many of you know, the organization has gone through several changes over the years and in 2005, with membership declining, a small group of us (including the late Armand Mulder) got together around AJ and Nancy’s dining room table and, building on all of Roger’s good ideas, reinvigorated the group as the Police Writers Association. Although we were still legally a club (partially because it’s the only way we could open a bank account), we wrote new bylaws and formed a board of directors including AJ, Nancy Farrar, Marilyn Meredith, Keith Bettinger, Tim Dees and me.

After a couple of years, we also renamed the organization Public Safety Writers Association to attract new and encourage a growing number of members who were firefighters, EMTs, military law enforcement, dispatchers and others who serve in public safety roles.

Somewhere along the line, I became the president, someone began calling me the queen and we, facetiously, of course, declared our organizational structure to be a monarchy.

AJ became vice president and membership chair, Nancy Farrar, treasurer, and Keith Bettinger, secretary. Tim became our Alpha Geek and created the Listserve.

We made plans to once again begin holding an annual conference and Marilyn Meredith agreed to take on the task of organizing it. We had 16 attendees.

Since that time, Michelle Perin has joined the board and now chairs our writing competition. Recently Mike Black has also become a board member and, for the second year, is organizing the conference. Marilyn Meredith is editor of our quarterly newsletter.

Our conference attendance has grown significantly, there is continuous lively conversation on the listserve and the contest continues to attract entries in a variety of categories.

We are now in the final bureaucratic process of becoming a 501 (c) 3 non-profit.

Through it all, AJ functioned as a mentor, cheerleader and all around fun person to be with. We will greatly miss him.

Marilyn Olsen, President and Queen

‘Tis the Season (To Be Victimized)

ron_corbin_200Oh yes, it is the time of the season for rejoicing, but it is also one of the greatest times for you to become a crime victim.

Black Friday signals the beginning of the heaviest shopping time for everyone, and that includes the “bad guys.” One of the biggest venues for theft of holiday gifts is in the parking lots around shopping malls and retail strip centers. Thieves are out in force at this time of the season to take what you have bought. This is when they look for an easy target and can rejoice, too, with the “spoils of their efforts.”

Thieves know that besides the merchandise being carried in shopping bags, this is when shoppers carry more cash and credit cards. Women’s purses are as much a target as are shopping bags. While you spend your good, hard-earned money to buy presents and gifts, the criminals don’t have to. Their “shopping places” are not inside Targets, Walmarts, and other retail stores; their locations are the parking lots. And the abundance of shopper-victims makes for easy “pickings” and convenient escape through the crowds.

Also, contributing to this increased opportunity for holiday crime is that our clocks are set-back from Daylight Savings Time, and darkness comes early. Many shoppers thus have to do their gift shopping after work, and will find themselves walking through dark parking lots. Try to park near a light pole. Don’t park next to a van. Visibility is paramount to deterrence.

So what else can make you a potential “crime target.” Typically, a common thing that thieves look for is a shopper with their arms loaded-down with bags and not having car keys in hand. I hate to sound sexist, but ladies you are the worst offenders of this. Digging through your purse and fumbling to find your car keys while standing next to your car door makes you a prime target of opportunity. The instant you are distracted, “Mr. Bad Guy” is sneaking up to grab your stuff…sometimes using force that will also cause personal injury.

To reduce the chance of this happening, plan ahead. Have your keys out of your purse and in hand before leaving the safety of the store. Interlace all those keys between your fingers. I’m not advocating that you resist if attacked, however, should someone attempt to steal your items or assault you, the keys can be a “sharp and painful” deterrent if you swipe at the suspect’s face. [Fighting back is discussion for another time.]

Be aware of your surroundings as you walk through the parking lot. Walk with a sense of purpose and keep your head on a “swivel.” If it appears that someone seems to be following you, alter the route to your car from the driving lanes and walk between parked vehicles to see if the person(s) follows you. If so, immediately head back toward the mall, or hail-down one of the mall’s roving security patrols. If you see another person nearby in the lot, call-out to them. Use a fake name and make it sound like you found a friend. At least you can attract the attention of this other person and hopefully deter any suspicious person that may be stalking you.

Once you have your car door or trunk opened, quickly place all your bags inside while being alert to your surroundings. If someone suspicious starts to approach you and makes you feel uncomfortable, depress the alarm button on your key fob and set-off your car alarm. Get in the car and lock the doors, then you can de-activate the alarm. The alarm will attract attention, which the bad guy doesn’t want.

And here’s another tip for deterring theft or burglary from vehicle. Let’s suppose you have a lot of shopping bags that you want to place in your car and then return to do more shopping at another mall store. Should you find yourself in this position, consider doing this. Place your bags of merchandise in your car’s trunk or, if you have no trunk, on the rear floorboard out of sight. Get in your vehicle and drive away. Then go park in another part of the mall’s lot. The reason for this is that some thieves simply sit in their vehicle for hours and watch shoppers place bags in their personal cars and then go back inside. So, if someone is watching your vehicle, this will cause them to think that you are leaving and their attention will be diverted elsewhere. I know that you will think this is a hassle and big inconvenience or waste of time. But believe me, it does deter and prevent your vehicle from being broken into.

Oh, one final “holiday” tip. When you have finished celebrating your holidays and opened all the presents, take precaution to disguise all those gift boxes when you place them on the curb for trash day and garbage pick-up. Break them down and place inside trash bags. Displaying those cardboard boxes for video games, TVs, laptop computers, and printers just advertises to all the “neighborhood burglars” what is waiting for them inside your house. Remember, it gets dark at 5:00 p.m. when mom and dad are still at work. But the “young burglars” are out of school for holiday vacation, with no parental supervision and nothing to do but “shop at your house.”

Happy Holidays!

Be Aware and Stay Safe!

–Ron Corbin, PhD

WRITING HARD

MikeBlack200x200Writing hard is kind of difficult topic to visualize. What exactly does it mean?

I sort of get the impression of someone slaving over a keyboard, desperately trying to beat a deadline. Maybe it’s because I was in that position last month when I was struggling to make a July 30th deadline for a new novel. I made it, but not with much time to spare. I’m now in the process of writing the second (of four) books on my current contract, and facing another deadline, but this one is not breathing down my throat. So this time I’m determined not to fall into the same set of circumstances as the last one. Hopefully, I’ll be able to pace myself better and avoid falling behind. Then I won’t put myself in the position of having to be writing hard.

As I said, the way to do this is to pace yourself. Start writing early, and keep at it, even if you don’t really feel like writing. The sage advice is to write every day, even if you’re not in the mood. If you wait until you are in the mood to write, you’ll probably do a good job putting words on paper. Inspiration will no doubt do that. But if you wait until you’re inspired each time, you’ll probably end up with an unfinished manuscript. The process I use is a simple one. I can’t claim credit for it, but it works. I sit down with a certain time allotment and the goal to write two pages and then I crank them out. At the end of those two pages I’ll briefly pause and assess what I’ve done. There are times when I can write myself into the mood of writing, and if I have, I’ll keep going. If, on the other hand, I look at those two pages and decide they’re substandard, and I just don’t have it in me to keep going, I’ll stop and do something else. But at least I’ll be two pages closer to my goal of finishing.

A lot of times, when I do go back later and look at those substandard two pages, I’ll get an idea on how to tweak them to make them better. Sometimes putting them aside and taking on a new project can allow your subconscious to work on the problem, and when you return for the rematch, you know just what to do.

Writing hard might also describe instances when you are inspired and don’t want to stop. I’ve been there, too. I once wrote for an entire day (approximately 12 hours or more) finishing up a novel I’d been working on. It wasn’t that I had a deadline, but rather I was on a roll. It was New Year’s Day, and cold and snowy outside. I don’t think I left the house all day, and took breaks only to grab a bite to eat, make coffee, or go to the bathroom. I managed to finish the novel, producing 25 pages, in one long, extended session. My usual page limit is about 10 or 12 before I’m too exhausted to go on. That particular day remains my personal best, but like I said, I was inspired.

Not that I’d recommend marathon writing sessions. I’ve usually found that writing too long is almost as bad as not writing long enough. I can usually tell when it’s time to stop because I find myself taking quantum leaps in the scene. I’m subconsciously anxious to finish, and start to leapfrog over certain details to get to a stopping point. If you find yourself doing that, it’s probably time to stop writing.

Once again, the key is pacing. If you’ve got a long race to run, you don’t want to tire yourself out in the first part. Leave something in your tank for the last leg. On the other hand, you don’t want to get so far behind that you find yourself in a bind with an approaching deadline. It’s just like voting in a Chicago election: start early, do it often. (Election days in Chi-town are incredibly busy.)

So be mindful of the two Ps. Preparation and pacing are the best ways to avoid placing yourself in a position where you’ll find yourself writing hard.

Michael A. Black

WHY GO TO WRITING CONFERENCES?

mmeredith-200First, there is a difference between a writing conference and a convention. Two big conventions in the mystery writing world are Bouchercon and Left Coast Crime. These are attended by writers and fans—and are geared toward the fans. Of course there are lots of other kinds of conventions.

A writing conference is for writers—a place to go for writers to learn more about the craft of writing, publishing and promotion.

Not all writing conferences are the same. I’ve been to many both as a participant and an instructor. Some are better than others.

I have to admit that my favorite is ours, the Public Safety Writers Association’s Conference.

This conference is for anyone who writes fiction or non-fiction about any aspect of public safety.

The information may come about in the form of a presentation or a panel of writers or experts depending upon the topic.

Because our conference is small, people have an opportunity to interact, spend time with one another, and make contacts that can be helpful long after the conference is over. Many friendships have begun at our conference.

Mystery writers get to learn and ask questions of experts in the many crime solving fields. Those wanting to learn how to write novels will learn much about the different aspects of the writing craft. We have many participants who write non-fiction who willingly share their expertise.

If you’re like me, you’ll take notes and learn a lot that you can use in your writing or to jump start your promotion.

Another big plus about this particular conference is that it cost far less than any of the others=-and especially if you sign up before the early bird registration fee has ended. (See the registration form here on the website.) The hotel is a bargain too, and just as nice as or nicer than most hotels where conferences are held. And a big plus, your conference fee includes the Thursday night get-together and three delicious lunches.

Because our conference is held in Las Vegas, for those inclined, there is plenty to do at the end of the day.

I can almost guarantee that you will learn lots, meet some terrific people, make new friends, and have a great time. And once the conference is over, you’ll be all fired up about your writing.

http://policewriter.com/wordpress/conference/

Marilyn Meredith 
http://fictionforyou.com
Author of the Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series and writing as F. M. Meredith, the Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery series.

HERE THEY COME—THE WILDFIRES AND THE ARSONISTS!

kurt_kamm_200The unbearable heat waves throughout the United States greatly extended fire season. With this in mind, I thought it might be interesting to take a behind the scenes look at wildfire arsonists.

What kind of person sets wildfires? What motivates a person to torch the landscape?

First, let’s eliminate the motives for the kinds of fires we’re not talking about: Revenge – a guy’s girlfriend breaks up with him. He gets angry and sets her apartment on fire. That’s his way of paying her back; Fraud – someone torches his car because he can’t make the payments, or maybe he burns down an entire building to collect the insurance on a failing business; Hate Crime – someone sets fire to a church or Synagogue. In these cases, the reason for the fire is relatively easy to understand. The use of fire is the means to an end.

Now consider the more complex case where the fire itself is the objective–we’re talking about someone who deliberately sets out to start one or more fires during the worst weather conditions, when the fire is sure to spread and wreak havoc. Most likely, we’re talking about a repeat offender, a serial arsonist, what the investigators refer to as a “fire setter.” For these arsonists, the forecast of fire weather conditions, or even the report of a massive conflagration, will be an emotional trigger, bringing them out to start their own fires, often several at a time.

Who is the fire setter, and why does he do it? I use the word “he,” because arson is predominately a male activity. There aren’t many female arsonists. The majority of fire setters are white men between the age of 17 and 25. They are preoccupied with fire and get an emotional release from starting fires. There may be sexual overtones–some researchers claim fire setters are sexually repressed males who masturbate at the fires they set.

The reasons a person becomes a fire setter are complex. Many arsonists are social outcasts who are incapable of stable interpersonal relationships, especially with women. They come from troubled and fragile backgrounds. A dysfunctional or violent family environment is often a contributing factor and the typical fire setter had one or both parents missing from home during his childhood. If his family was intact, he lived in an unstable–often abusive and violent–emotional atmosphere and had a distant and hostile or aggressive relationship with his father. He may suffer from depression, borderline personality disorder, or even suicidal tendencies. Not surprisingly, a large percentage of arsonists indulge in alcohol and drug abuse.

Most investigators will tell you that the fire setter does not think ahead to the possible widespread destruction his arson fire will cause. He’s satisfying an immediate need–he’s starting fires for the excitement he cannot find elsewhere. Further, it gives him a sense of control over something in his life. For many, firesetting satisfies a desire to be recognized and establishes a sense of self-esteem. For others, setting fires is an act of aggression, which allows them to express anger and frustration. Many arsonists have repressed rage for authority figures. Some get the satisfaction of “getting away with a crime.”

Often the preoccupation with fire starts in childhood. A child who is “curious” about fire can grow into an antisocial and aggressive adolescent. Delinquent fire setters are often bored, and starting fires provides them with excitement and stimulation. For many, arson is the beginning of a wide range of activities leading to criminal conduct.

While teen-age arsonists often engage in fire activity with peer groups, by adulthood, most arsonists set fires alone. Psychologists distinguish between two types of adult arsonists: EMOTIONALLY DISORDERED – these are individuals who are emotionally unbalanced and find setting a fire has a calming influence; THOUGHT DISORDERED – these are individuals afflicted with a range of illnesses from learning disabilities to full blown schizophrenic behavior.

This excerpt from a published interview with a serial arsonist—in this case, a person of above average intelligence—is a wonderful description of an emotionally disordered fire setter

I set fires at random, using material I have just bought or asked for at a gas station—matches, cigarettes, or small amounts of gasoline. I set fires only in places that are secluded, such as roadsides, back canyons, cul-de-sacs. I may set several small fires or one big fire, depending on my desires and needs at the time. At the time of lighting the fire, I experience an intense emotional response like tension release, excitement, or even panic.

Watching the fire from a perfect vantage point is important to me. I want to see the chaos as well as the destruction…Talking to authorities on the phone or in person while the action is going on can be part of the thrill. I enjoy hearing about the fire on the radio or watching it on television, learning about all the possible motives and theories that officials have about why and how the fire started. Overall, it seems that the fire has created a temporary solution… I feel sadness and anguish, and a desire to set another fire.

There are not many old arsonists. For unexplained reasons, after the age of 25, most arsonists cease fire setting, but some move on to activities that are more ominous. While doing research for my serial arson mystery novel, I had the opportunity to talk to an arson profiler at the ATF. He told me that serial arsonists often have a history of torturing or killing animals as children, and that some serial killers are serial arsonists when they are younger.

One subset of arsonists bears special mention. “Firefighter-arsonists” sounds like an oxymoron, but they exist. Most are one-time fire setters who are bored at work and want to go out and “fight the fire devil.” Then there is John Orr, the infamous California fire captain who is now serving a life sentence for numerous arson fires in which four people died. Law enforcement officials say he was the most prolific arsonist of the 20th Century, possibly responsible for as many as 2,000 fires between 1984 – 1991.

Orr wanted to be a police officer, but was rejected based on his psychological profile. He eventually became a fire captain and arson investigator for the Glendale Fire Department in Southern California. During the ’80s and early ’90s, there was a series of unsolved arson fires around the Los Angeles area. Orr was often the first on scene and took control of the investigation.

–Kurt Kamm
My new novel TUNNEL VISIONS is on Amazon. Terrorists threaten the SoCal water supply.
PSWA Writers- Serial arsonists are a neglected group. Add one to your next novel and put some fire in your writing! – Kurt Kamm

PUBLIC SAFETY DISPATCHING: A QUICK OVERVIEW

What is a Public Safety Telecommunicator? In essence, the Public Safety Telecommunicator (also referred to as Public Safety Dispatchers) is a critical component of the Public Safety system. Dispatchers take information from callers, relay that data to field personnel via radios and handle a plethora of other duties (which are agency-specific). Dispatchers may perform their tasks using old-fashioned hand-written logs or utilize a Computer-Aided-Dispatch (CAD) system.

Dispatchers are the unsung heroes of Public Safety. It is said that a field personnel’s most important piece of equipment is his/her radio. When the chips are down and help is needed, it is the Public Safety telecommunicator who takes care of business. Sadly, the dispatcher may be the last voice an officer hears.

There was a time when dispatchers were secretarial staff or sworn personnel. This changed when more skills and knowledge were required. The position became specialized. No longer were dispatchers hired by simple interviews. Most agencies (law & fire) now require potential dispatchers participate in a similar pre-hiring process to the sworn field personnel.

The first skill a Public Safety Telecommunicators learns is how to answer a phone. Calls can reach the dispatch center via 911, direct lines, and special dedicated lines (crime tips, direct-to-other agencies, or in-house extensions. The National Emergency Number Association (NENA) estimates over 240 million calls are made to 9-1-1 Public Safety Answering Points (or PSAPs) every year. The call volume is tripled when non-emergency and direct-line connection calls are added to the mix. Call-takers must know Department policies & procedures, radio codes, criminal codes, geography, the call-taking process, CAD, and basic inquires to local, state, and national criminal data bases.

The next phase might be either fire dispatching (for combined PSAPs) or ‘telecommunications’. Telecommunications focuses on the data bases for wanted persons, missing persons, vehicles, boats, property, criminal history, and the other files available. Some agencies are ‘inquiry-only’ which means they don’t enter, update, or clear out information. Others can be partial entry (perhaps they only enter towed vehicles) or full-access (perform all associated tasks in the data bases. Dispatching field personnel takes experience, good training, and a calm demeanor. Dispatchers may set-up block covers, organize back-up in in-progress incidents, give out ‘Be On the Look-Out’ information, and ensure that calls requiring immediate response are taken care appropriately.

Dispatchers may specialize. Fire agencies may have communications personnel trained to work major incidents or wildfires (Incident Management Team). Law enforcement dispatchers can be trained to handle SWAT incidents (Tactical Dispatcher). IMT and Tactical dispatchers man field command posts. In some cases, Tactical dispatchers can be part of the Hostage/Barricaded suspect Negotiation team.

Training varies from agency to agency. Currently there are no mandatory national standards although some states have legislated dispatcher standards for training and certification. Depending on the size of an agency, communications personnel can have initial training in the department academy or via an informal process. The length of time the training takes also varies according to the expected duties. A person with no prior experience may take up to a year before he/she is cleared to work without guidance. Those with prior job experience are called ‘laterals’ and still require extensive training which can last from three-to-six months.

Two of the most famous dispatchers are Shaaron Claridge, the voice of ‘Adam-12’ and Sam Lanier of ‘Emergency!’ fame. Shaaron also played the dispatcher role on episodes of ‘Colombo’. Sam was often shown on “Emergency!” working the radio console. Both Sam and Shaaron were working dispatchers, Sam for the Los Angeles County Fire department and Shaaron for the Los Angeles Police Department.

A study once noted that only 5% of the population had the multi-tasking abilities required to be a dispatcher. Modern technology has cut the number of long-term communications personnel due to the hazards of repetitive injuries. It is a happy day when a telecommunicator makes retirement.

It is a great job. No two shifts are every alike. With a push by NENA and the Associated Public Safety Communications Officials, Inc. (APCO) national training standards may someday become mandatory for every man or woman that answers a phone or directs traffic over a radio.

–Diana Sprain
Diana Sprain works as a Public Safety Dispatcher for the law enforcement division at the Nevada Department of Wildlife. She is a POST-certified Dispatcher, Tactical Dispatcher, Trainer, and Supervisor with over 25 years experience. Prior to taking over the radio, she worked as an Emergency Medical technician. She is the author of “On the Trail of Yesterday’s Rose” and “In the King’s Shadow”. She is in final editing phases of the non-Public Safety Dispatching in America”. Diana is a member of APCO and NENA. You can read more on her blog:

2015 WRITING COMPETITION OPENS FOR ENTRIES

mperin-200It’s almost that time again. PSWA Writing Contest time! The contest opens on January 1, 2015 and you can start sending your entries in a myriad of categories, including novels, short stories, poetry and all forms of non-fiction both published and non. This is your chance to be an award winning author. Entry is only $10 and all you have to be is a member in good standing. The work does need to be related somehow to public safety. The contest closes May 8, 2015 and winners are announced at the Writer’s Conference in July. You do not need to be present to win but it is so much more fun that way. Plus you get great award-winner pictures to post on your website or wherever you do your self-promotion. Additional information and entry forms available on the PSWA website. Enter now! I look forward to your entries!

–Michelle Perin

JOHN WILLS’ REVIEW OF MEMBER PETE M. KLISMET’S BOOK, FBI ANIMAL HOUSE

FBI_animal_house_240x350Retired FBI Special Agent Peter M. Klismet, Jr. has taken a bold step with the release of his new book,FBI ANIMAL HOUSE . Described as a true story, it’s a critical account of his training while attending new agent class at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. He pulls no punches in telling his story, which covers the 1980s and 1990s. Klismet contends the training the FBI gave its new agents during that period was subpar, particularly when compared to police departments across the nation.

The author is well-educated (two masters degrees), and is a former Ventura PD sergeant. He left the department after nine years to join the FBI, and served as a profiler during his final years in the Bureau.

Although he acknowledges the training new agents now receive is much better than when he accepted the appointment, he pulls no punches in describing the lackluster training he and his classmates endured. Not only does he say the instruction was lacking, but he also disparages some of the instructors as well.

Subjects such as photography, first aid, and fingerprinting consumed almost two weeks of the 16-week training cycle. He says the classes were a waste of time for the new agents, particularly since the test given for the first aid block didn’t even count as one required to graduate. The fingerprinting block focused more on reading loops, whirls, and arches, rather than taking a person’s fingerprints, lifting prints at crime scenes, and instruction on how to take major case prints. The fingerprint class seemed geared more toward fingerprint examiners than field agents.

The author constantly stressed the Bureau’s attempt to imbue in them a sense of FBI honor and the importance of always exhibiting an exemplary image. A constant theme heard each week was, “Don’t do anything to embarrass the Bureau.” During J. Edgar Hoover’s reign, an innocent indiscretion such as being overweight was grounds for dismissal. Image was everything, and to a large extent, Klismet points out the FBI has survived for years by virtue of the mystique Hoover created about the agency. People are enamored of the FBI image, which Klismet says is largely mythical.

Hoover, although gone by the time Klismet joined the FBI, led by fear and intimidation. The Director kept secret dossiers on many powerful and prominent Americans. Thus, he was a man who could do just about anything with impunity. He had no fear of reprisal, for any accuser could never be sure that Hoover hadn’t dug up some dirt on him that he wouldn’t hesitate to expose to the public.

Judge William Webster became one of a series of FBI Directors after Hoover’s passing. The judge served during some of Klismet’s time on the job. The consensus was that Webster was an empty suit, someone who nothing about fighting crime. The street agents did not trust him. In fact, many of the agents working violent crimes disdained the lawyers and accountants who traditionally filled the ranks during the Hoover era and beyond. Director Webster fostered a climate of distrust. Agents feared their every move was monitored, and by the time a request could be approved at headquarters it had to pass through so many administrative levels of oversight that any sense of urgency was completely disregarded.

Firearms training proved to be another disappointment for the author and his new agent classmates. Although new agents fired thousands of rounds during their training, it only served to make them excellent marksmen. It did little to prepare them for a gunfight on the street. The old Hogans’ Alley, a ramshackle wannabe movie set featuring cardboard targets popping up at windows and doorways, served as a shoot-don’t-shoot drill. It was so easy to distinguish between the two choices that Klismet contends it was a total waste of time.

Once Special Agent Klismet graduated from Quantico, he and his classmates shared the feeling they were ill prepared to hit the street. They had too little knowledge to work a case from start to finish, and had to rely on empathetic colleagues to help guide them along the way. Surprisingly, there was no field-training program in place. New agents (called baby agents or newbies) had to learn by trial and error. Their only recourse was to waste hours in the office reading manuals detailing how and when to perform certain tasks.

Support employees, most often, squad secretaries, were helpful in advising the newbies about which forms to complete for each investigation. In the author’s opinion, based on their training, it took a minimum of two years for a new agent to be comfortable enough to investigate a case.

FBI ANIMAL HOUSE  is an interesting, eye-opening read. It will shock many, anger some, and disappoint others. Remembering the period covered, the 80s and 90s, the book is quintessentially politically incorrect. The language used would not be tolerated today. Nor would the amount of time new agents spent in the Boardroom, the local bar within the academy complex. It wasn’t unusual for Klismet and other trainees to also drink in their dorm rooms, a clear violation of policy. And as much as the Bureau heralds its motto: Fidelity, Bravery, and Integrity, the class had no problem with accepting copies of tests from previous classes that had already taken them. Another ethics violation.

Thankfully, FBI training has evolved since the time Klismet went through Quantico. The Academy has adjusted to the times, and training is more contemporary and pragmatic. Now, Hogan’s Alley is a self-contained city with a hotel, drug store, bank, and private residences where new agents can actually work a case, plan an arrest, and execute it. Rather than instructors or other trainees functioning as role players, the academy hires professionals to fill that role. All very realistic.

Additionally, firearms training now includes combat shooting, force on force training, and judgmental simulation scenarios. Emergency Vehicle Operation Training (EVOC) exposes the agents to high speed driving and felony vehicle stops. Training on terrorism and the importance of working informants (Human Intelligence) is a big portion of the program.

FBI ANIMAL HOUSE  is a first person account of one new agent’s experience. It describes his journey through FBI new agent training. The author believes many FBI agents performed their job admirably despite the poor training given at Quantico. The problem, said Klismet, “. . . was a systemic one; the bureau had no interest in changing . . .” FBI ANIMAL HOUSE  is a startling story. (Reprinted from Officer.com)

–John Wills

MEMBER NEWS

Greycliff’s Chronicles, Book 2
By Diana Sprain
Adult

Gaelynn Blackwood and her husband Sir Braeden du Faucione are in a world of hurt. Bastards, affairs, abuse, and a King that just won’t go away have dug a chasm between them. King Arken of Greycliff desires Gaelynn and the most powerful man in the Kingdom will stop at nothing to get what he wants. Sequel to “On the Trail of Yesterday’s Rose”.

Sequel to, “On the Trail of Yesterday’s Rose”, begins five years after the end of the first book. Gaelynn Blackwood and her husband, Sir Braeden du Faucione, have settled at Faucione Keep. Braeden is busy handling the affairs of the family holdings on behalf of his ailing father, Baron Phillip while Gaelynn has done her best to become a medieval noblewoman. It’s not been easy for a modern girl: she’s lost her independence, privacy, and sense of self. Her sole job seems to be supplying her husband with an heir…a task she has failed. All Gaelynn has to show for their five years of marriage is a bastard daughter sired by King Arken from an afternoon spent in his bed the day before Braeden and she were married.

The relationship between Gaelynn and Braeden is rocky. Braeden’s closet of secrets has broken free. He enjoys sex games and begins an affair with his squire. Braeden discovers he has a half-brother, Sir Kevin of Faucione. Kevin has been in hiding at another holding since he was a child. Now, Braeden is expected to accept Kevin and his relationship with Sir Aumery, Faucione Keep’s Seneschal and one of Braeden’s trusted knights.

Gaelynn has no allusions about her husband. She knows he sleeps with other female servants. When Gaelynn finds her husband enjoying the comforts of his squire, however the shock sends her right to the arms of Braeden’s best friend and Second-in-Command, Sir Ranulf de Corbeau. Gaelynn and Ranulf soon realize their love is true. Braeden suspects his wife of being unfaithful but he can’t catch her or Ranulf.

While Braeden struggles to get his home in order, King Arken of Greycliff makes a visit at Faucione. He can’t get the vision of Gaelynn out of his mind. He dreams of having Gaelynn for his own. The King makes Braeden and Gaelynn Court ‘favorites’. Braeden becomes a trusted knight and war counselor to Arken. After a victory against the Phaelyng, Braeden knows his fate is sealed and he’ll be called again to fight alongside the King.

Gaelynn is torn between three men: Braeden, Ranulf, and Arken. She is faced with a difficult decision of which man to pick. Braeden’s abusive outbursts have increased. Gaelynn comes to understand her feelings towards Braeden were never love but only lust. She loves Ranulf. Regrettably, children tie her to Braeden and Gaelynn knows she can never leave her son, Phillip, behind to start a life with Ranulf. Braeden knows the moment he lets Gaelynn go Arken will take possession of her.

Braeden faces tough choices of his own. He must try to determine who is sending personal information to the King which could compromise the safety of his family, his people, and his life. He also knows that Arken will stop at nothing to take Gaelynn away from him, but how do you protect yourself and your family from the most powerful man in the Kingdom? When Braeden is ordered to accompany Arken to Glodveau as a member of his personal guard, Braeden shares his fear of never returning home with his half-brother Sir Kevin. He doesn’t know that the moment he left Greycliff, the castle was attacked. It is up to the man who has betrayed Braeden’s trust, Sir Ranulf, to save Braeden’s family and home.

Who will live and who will die? Will true love win in the end?

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Diana Sprain

10-CODE

10_code_240x35010-CODE is the first-ever anthology of stories written by 10 real-life cops honoring officers killed in the line of duty. Proceeds from the sale of 10-CODE will benefit the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund in Washington, DC.

Sworn Officers Kathy Bennett, Michael A. Black, Robin Burcell, Marco Conelli, Suzie Ivy, Rick McMahan, David Putnam, Mike Roche, Scott Silverii and David Swords graciously donated their talents to remember the Fallen.

Best-selling author John Gilstrap’s heart-felt Foreword pays tribute the service and sacrifices of our nation’s Finest.

Please support their legacy of service by ordering your copy today.

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Mike Black

 

 

 

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