- PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE
- THE 2014 PSWA CONFERENCE
- MORE PSWA CONFERENCE INFORMATION
- CALLING ALL SOON-TO-BE AWARD WINNING AUTHORS!
- CREDIT CARD FRAUD
- THE ABILITY TO WRITE: NATURE OR NURTURE, PART I
- HOW DO YOU CONVINCE A PIMP TO LEAVE TOWN?
- POLICING IN CANADA—A SNAPSHOT FOR PSWA WRITERS
- MEMBER NEWS
Publishing is investing
I live in a small (population 70,000) college town on North Puget Sound in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains about 20 miles south of the Canadian border. It’s the kind of place where people like to live and run a small business. Luckily for them, on a regular basis my friend Tyler hosts an event that brings together people who want a start small business with people who want to invest in one.
At Tyler’s event each person looking for an investor has a five minute chance to pitch his or her business idea to several venture capitalists. If one of them is interested, a deal can be struck and the investor and the business owner become partners in the enterprise.
The business gets the upfront capital and professional help in getting the business up and running and the investor recoups his or her money when the business makes a profit.
Most of publishing today works pretty much like this. The publisher basically fronts the money to the author to print the book and provide guidance in how to market it. And, as with venture capitalists, the job of running the business or selling the book is ultimately the responsibility of the business owner or author. The publisher or business investor only recoups his or her investment if the author or business owner is successful in selling the product.
Thus, it’s not surprising that venture capitalists and publishers are very selective. Both are taking a chance (and are willing to make a financial commitment) that the business owner or the author has what it takes to be successful.
So, what do you need to do to attract an investor?
- Understand that first impressions are vitally important. Whether you’re making your pitch in a query letter or in person, it needs to be error-free and well organized. No one wants to take a chance on someone who doesn’t show attention to detail or wastes their time with extraneous information. No typos, no wandering off the subject, just the facts. The investor wants to know
- who you are
- what you are asking them to do
- where you live
- what exactly your product is
- why you are doing this
- when you will have a product ready to go
- how you expect to operate your business
- What, in other words do your bring to the table that will make the investor want to give you money?
- Make it immediately obvious what your product is. The hopeful business owner must be able to make it clear in just a few sentences what the business will actually be. The author must submit well-crafted one-page synopsis.
- Create a well thought out biography. This document makes clear who you are and why you think you’re qualified to run this business or write this book. The primarily focus should be on relevant experience. No investor really cares where you went to grade school, but all of them want to know if you know your product well enough to be able to convince others to buy it.
- A clever prospective business owner will always show a sample product to a prospective investor. No verbal description beats the opportunity for the investor to actually see in what they are being asked to invest. A publisher, likewise, will always expect 20 or so sample pages. Publishers, like business investors know that customers will quickly make up their mind whether or not to buy a product. If the publisher knows that after reading the first few pages he or she doesn’t find the book interesting, neither will a prospective reader.
- Impress your prospective investor with the fact that you have done your homework. If you are an author, ALWAYS visit the website of the publisher and make sure your query matches their query guidelines. If possible, find out the name of the acquisitions editor and direct your letter to him or her. If you’re a prospective business owner, do likewise
- Even if your business proposal or query is turned down by the investor, it is still a good idea to thank them for their time in considering your offer. The person who has turned you down may or may not even be willing to explain to you why they made the decision they did.
- Publishers, like venture capitalists are investors. When you ask for their acceptance and support, you are asking them to provide the upfront money to start your book selling business. The better the first impression you make, the more likely they are to consider funding you. Your responsibility then becomes to generate the profit to both make money for you and to repay the publisher for their faith in you and financial support that got you started.
–Marilyn Olsen, PSWA President
THE 2014 PSWA CONFERENCE
The PSWA Conference is scheduled for July 10th through the 14th this year. Once again, it will be held at the fabulous Orleans Hotel and Casino in beautiful Las Vegas, Nevada. I first heard about it five years ago and contacted Marilyn Meredith for more information. She advised me that it was a both an informative and friendly affair. I decided to go and check it out. I’d been to countless such events over the years, and found it one of the most enjoyable that I’d ever attended. Devoid of pretension and full of nice people, this conference was a head and shoulders above all the others. I’ve attended each year since, and learned something new every time. I can honestly say it has gotten better each year.
I was chosen by Marilyn and the rest of the board members to organize the conference this time. While I’d been of token assistance to her in the past, this time I got a complete glimpse of the enormous amount of planning and work that goes into making the PSWA conference the preeminent event of the year. We’ve got a lot of new things planned for this upcoming conference, but rest assured those of you who have attended before can look forward to enjoying all of the fun things you liked at the last one.
In addition to our annual writing contest, we have some dynamic speakers lined up. We also have numerous panels scheduled, including some informative sessions on writing and public safety topics. Those seeking to learn more about topical subjects and wanting to speak with professionals in the fields of public safety and writing will not be disappointed. It’s a great place to network, and the atmosphere is always friendly. You’ll be able to meet writers and publishers who can give you advice based on the benefit of their experience. You’ll also get some great meals, have a chance to stay in a luxurious hotel for very reasonable rates, and have plenty of time to explore one of the most fascinating and energizing cities in the world.
Each year the PSWA does something to put a unique spin on the conference, and this time we’ve got a special treat: CSI Jeopardy. Whether you’re a fan of the game show or just a mystery and crime scene buff, I guarantee that you’ll enjoy seeing this one play out. Slots are still open at this time, so if you’re interested in trying your hand at the game, let me know. There’s a lot more planned and, if you attend, I know you won’t be disappointed. So if you haven’t done so yet, I urge you to register for the conference today. You won’t be disappointed. It may not be the biggest conference of the year, but it’ll certainly be the best. I look forward to seeing you at the Orleans in July.
–Michael A. Black, PSWA Conference Program Chair
Michael A. Black is the author of 20 books and over 100 short stories and articles. He is also a retired police officer. He is currently writing the Executioner series under the name Don Pendleton. His next novel, a political thriller called Chimes at Midnight, will be released in May.
- Sleeping Dragons, a Mack Bolan Executioner novel. Bolan travels to Hong Kong to try to prevent a deadly nerve gas from falling into the hands of some Libyan terrorists. Nominated for the Best Novel Scribe Award by the International Media Tie-In Writers Association.
- The Heist , Freeze Me, Tender, and Dead Ringer (with Julie Hyzy). All available on Amazon and from Crossroad Press: Available as an e-books and trade paperbacks and soon to be released as an audio.
MORE PSWA CONFERENCE INFORMATION
Time to start thinking about attending the 2014 PSWA conference being held July 10 -13 at the Orleans Hotel and Casino here in Las Vegas, NV. We have already started collecting the early bird special pricing, so get your money in and save on the price of admission.
The hotel has discounted room prices for our conference; approximately $35 weekdays and $89 for Friday and Saturday. They also keep that price available to our members a week on either side of our conference if you would like to make an extended vacation out of your conference visit and visit and sight see southern Nevada. The hotel has 64 bowling alleys, 18 movie theaters, a showroom, a comedy club and restaurants to satisfy your gastronomical desires.
If you plan to sell your books at our conference you ship them to me at my home. That will save you the added expense of the hotel business office. Since we have prolific authors in the PSWA, I would suggest you supply no more than 5 books for the book sale. I may be willing to get them to the hotel for you, but you will be returning the remainders either via the business office in the hotel or in your luggage and the airlines charge for overweight luggage.
On Thursday evening after registration, you and a guest are invited to attend our cash bar meet and greet reception for a light repast. You will have the opportunity to make new friends and visit with returning friends. If an organization or business would like to help by sponsoring the room, or the bartender or the food, the PSWA would gratefully accept your assistance and make the attendees aware of your generous sponsorship.
Meals for Friday Saturday and Sunday have already been decided for the conference luncheons which are part of your conference fee. One day will be pork, another will be chicken and the awards ceremony luncheon on Sunday will be beef. If you have special dietary needs, please make it known to us on the conference application. We will work to try and satisfy your needs and request. If you bring a guest with you, they can attend the luncheons each day for the prices listed on the conference. The more the merrier at lunch where you will get to meet your fellow writers and brainstorm.
There will be coffee each morning for the conference attendees. In the past we have had coffee sponsors and we would appreciate the help of sponsors once again. Members, please support the sponsors in any way you can. They are one of the reasons that this conference is so reasonably priced.
The Orleans provides a shuttle service to the Las Vegas Strip as well as their other properties. They do not provide shuttle service to and from the airport. However, taxis are plentiful and it is about a $20 ride from the airport to the hotel. There are also shuttle services from the airport to hotel. They are less expensive, but you stop at all the hotels on their route.
There is plenty to see that won’t cost you money. See the Bellagio water show set to music or the Mirage’s volcano eruptions. Visit the gardens and displays in the mega resorts. Sit at a table at one of the outside venues and pick out characters for your next book.
Las Vegas isn’t all slot machines, we have culture as well – surprise, surprise! Visit the Atomic Energy Museum on East Flamingo by UNLV. Member Jack Miller has his spy novels on sale there. Visit the Mob Experience at the Tropicana and the Mob Museum downtown off the old strip. Cashman Field has our Triple A New York Mets farm team. There is the shark reef at Mandalay Bay and the light show and zip lines on Freemont Street are a great way to spend an evening, and for outstanding cultural events there is the Smith Center. If you want to see a show, see if the tickets are available at the half price ticket booths located along the strip. There is also Red Rock Canyon, Valley of Fire, Hoover Dam and Mt Charleston. Bring your bathing suit with you and enjoy some time at the Orleans’ large pool. You will drip dry fast in our 100+ degrees and zero percent humidity, but remember your sunscreen.
The days of tuxedos and gowns and furs are gone. Life is casual in Las Vegas. Dress comfortably. Drink lots of water. Remain hydrated and have a good time.
Secretary – Shields of Long Island, Secretary – Public Safety Writers Association
Author of: Fighting Crime With “Some” Day and Lenny, End Of Watch, Murder In McHenry
Winner of 19 writing awards
CALLING ALL SOON-TO-BE AWARD WINNING AUTHORS!
This is your chance to become an award winning author in the PSWA 2014 Writing Contest. The contest is open to all members in good standing and has a plethora of categories you can enter. The only content requirement is that the work be somehow related to public safety. That means it can be a mystery, non-fiction magazine article about law enforcement, fire or emergency services and/or poetry and flash fiction. It just needs to touch on public safety somehow. Categories are split between published and non-published as we want to make the contest as inclusive as possible. Awards for First, Second, Third and Honorable Mention can be given in each category. There’s also a People’s Choice Award given to the person with the most entries in different categories encouraging members to try something new. This year we’re also offering the chance to win another manuscript review. Be one of the first 25 entrants and you’ll be entered to win. The PSWA Writing Contest is a great avenue to become an award-winning author and get the recognition you deserve. Information about the categories and how to enter are on our website. Enter Now and Good Luck!
–Michelle J.G. Perin, MS
Board Member, Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA)
2012 Rookie of the Year & 2012 Volunteer Firefighter of the Year, South Lane County Fire & Rescue
Ron Corbin is going to be doing an article for each newsletter about ways we can protect ourselves. Here is the first one:
CREDIT CARD FRAUD
Q. – What are some ways to prevent credit card fraud?
A. – After the past couple months of holiday shopping, the chances of you having used debit and credit cards are probably higher than at any other time of the year. That means you are also the most likely to become a victim of “Card Fraud.”
Although self-service gas stations are one of the more popular places for fraud to occur, the addition of Holiday Temp Employees in the retail outlets can also be a place for unauthorized use of your card. I’m not saying that “Temp” employees are thieves, but they usually have the least amount of any background checks. They are also inexperienced with the use of cash registers and credit card machines. Therefore, it is easy for accidental “double swipes” or inaccurate procedures to be used when ringing-up your purchases. So, when the January statements come for your credit accounts, be sure to inspect them closely for errors.
Here are a couple techniques that will help you resolve billing disputes with your accounts:
- Make sure that all your credit cards are signed on the back. Use your formal signature that matches the embossed name on the front of the card. However, simply sign the sales’ receipts with your first initial and last name. If the clerk wants to verify the signature on the sales slip, they can do so by matching your last name’s signature on the back of the card.
Here’s why you should do it this way. Should your card be stolen or compromised, the thief will most likely try to forge the signature on the back of your card for their fraudulent use, which will be your formal first and last name. However, by getting into the habit of signing only your first initial and last name on all sales receipts, a historical pattern of your valid use with the card company can be established. Thereby, all questionable debts can be something you can validate because of the different way and common practice of how you normally sign.
- A good practice for using a credit card when filling-up your vehicle at a self-service gas pump is to do this. Always try to stop the fill-up on a certain last digit in the price amount displayed on the pump. For example, if your favorite number is “3”, then stop your tank’s fill-up with the cents on the “3”… $48.03; $48.13; $48.23; etc.
Thus, if your card ever gets stolen and used for gasoline, chances of the thief using the card at a gas station and ending the fraudulent sales amount on your “secret number” will be remote. And again, you can demonstrate to the card company a pattern you have used that will invalidate purchases that don’t belong to you.
–Ron Corbin, PhD
THE ABILITY TO WRITE: NATURE OR NURTURE?
At my core, I suppose I am and always will be a criminologist. So, you might ask, what on earth does that have to do with the topic of writing? In truth, it has everything to do with writing. Compiling a set of facts through investigation does no one any good unless those facts can be transmitted to others in some meaningful way. In law enforcement, that means constructing a report which explains not only what happened, but more importantly how it happened. These two concepts are far more different than one would think, and the ability to think outside the box and write a report which tells the story is much more difficult for some than others. It turns out to be a process of connecting the dots, telling the story, and as the complexity of a crime becomes more involved, so does the ability to explain a set of facts in a report that makes sense to other people.
Over 45 years of involvement with law enforcement can make you think a little differently, particularly if you have an inquisitive mind. I always seemed to have one of those. I can remember back in the 1970’s, when I was a young and impressionable police officer in Ventura, California, I would often wonder why people who committed crimes did what they did. Was it an irresistible impulse, lack of control, a reaction, anger, greed, or what? While other officers would be busily examining and collecting evidence at a crime scene, I remember just looking and wondering why the woman plunged a huge knife into her boyfriend’s sternum. Or why a man chose to shoot and kill his ex-wife, her new boyfriend, and then himself. Or why a 19-year-old man would sneak across an alley, enter a woman’s house, and rape her, but worse yet, cut her throat to the point where her head was nearly severed from her body. Why, why, why? It’s just not ‘normal’ behavior. But what defines normal, and how do we go about explaining it?
Theories of criminality generally break down into three relatively simple explanations:
- There is a psychological cause, meaning a person had or has deep-seated issues from life experiences that cause them to act out later in their lives. These experiences are deeply imbedded and will never go away, although they may be repressed for many years. For example: There appears to be a relationship between having been molested as a child, and later going on to become a molester. At least, this is true with boys. Abuse as a child causes anger, even rage, to build. About 75% of murderers claim to have been abused as children. Thus, this theory would hold that past events may predict future behavior, particularly violence. Having a diagnosed mental illness also plays into this equation.
- Sociologists would contend the cause is more about where one grew up, or perhaps with whom the person grew up. This can include family, friends, and the area that influenced a person’s later life. Theories abound on this as a causal factor, and many people ascribe to this approach as more meaningful, as we did years ago. We’d generally call this the Sociological Theory. But then, how do we explain a Jeffrey Dahmer, who grew up in an upper-middle class home, with a dad who was a Ph.D. chemist, and a family that was probably a whole lot better than most of ours? Or how do we explain a Dr. Ben Carson, who grew up in an ultra-tough, Chicago ghetto, yet went on to become the most eminent pediatric brain surgeon in the world?
- And then comes the most controversial of them all, what we’ll call Biological Theory, namely the belief that we were born with a genetic predisposition to commit crime and violent acts. In other words, were some born to be criminals? As an undergraduate over forty years ago, I remember this theory being posed in a criminology class, and thinking, “That’s about the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.” Since then, with discoveries in genetics, DNA and other research, I’ve made a significant turnaround. Consider this: Virtually everything about us is determined at the time of conception. For example, will we have asthma? Will we become schizophrenic, or have Down’s Syndrome? And thus I wondered, since some criminal acts are quite impulsive, is impulsiveness an inherited trait? Seems possible to me.
Congratulations! You’ve just completed Criminology 401. While you may understand these concepts, can you relate one or more of them to a particular crime, then explain it? Or do you need to do anything more than collect the facts, establish probable cause of who committed the crime, and thoroughly explain it? That’s exactly where the importance of being able to write becomes critical to both identifying and prosecuting the offender. But, before I confer a degree upon you, let’s go back to the comment I made in the first paragraph: “Think outside the box.” As a full-time college professor, I used to tell my students that if I accomplished nothing more in my classes, I wanted them to be able to both think and think critically. To take some information, put it together with something else, and see how it matches up. Or maybe to find a way to make it match up. Thus, thinking outside the box. Let’s try these on for size:
What do we see here? A ravaged tree? A man and a woman? Or a lot more than that?
How about this? A deer looking at us? Or more than that?
To conclude, what I would like you to understand is that some people can see a set of facts, gather information, and form a theory of what happened. But then comes the true litmus test: Can you explain them so others can understand and make use of what you’ve written? In my years of law enforcement experience, I’ve discovered many times that some can, and some can’t. And the theory I formed was that the ability to do all of these things and then record it is genetically-based. Thus, it’s all about nature and not nurture. We’ll explore that concept in Part II of this article.
(This article was originally published in the Pikes Peak Writers Association newsletter)
About the Author: About thirty years ago, a small cadre of FBI agents were selected by the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit (BSU) to receive training in what was then a highly-controversial and ground breaking concept: Psychological Profiling. Pete Klismet was fortunate enough to have been chosen to become one of the original FBI “profilers.” He received additional training, was temporarily assigned to work with the BSU in Quantico, Virginia, and put that training and experience to work in assisting state, federal and local law enforcement agencies in investigating violent crimes. Pete retired from the FBI in 1999.
Pete’s award-winning book FBI Diary: Profiles of Evil is available at www.houdinipress.com and www.amazon.com. He plans to release ‘a couple more books’ in 2014.
HOW DO YOU CONVINCE A PIMP TO LEAVE TOWN?
Promoting prostitution, human trafficking or just living off the proceeds of prostitution are difficult cases to make, mainly because you need one or more of his victims to testify. Sometimes just convincing his victims that they are victims is difficult. I have found an almost surefire way to convince a pimp that maybe your jurisdiction would not be favorable to him. Find out everything you can about him and the women with him. Use your resources to obtain his FBI record. It contains most of his arrests, the names he used and sometimes his nickname, although that isn’t hard to discover. His FBI record will also reflect where he has been arrested. Contact that jurisdiction to see what they know about him and where he lived before. You should have his local arrest record, if any, but don’t overlook his traffic history including parking tickets.
Who are his family members and where do they live. Where does he live, not necessarily the address he gives, but where he really hangs his hat. Many pimps when not on the prostitution stroll are in a favorite bar or strip club. Many pimps like to gamble or will visit arcades or shopping malls in the hopes of picking up prospective victims or even square women for sex.
I would frequently check out the motels in the area for expensive cars with out of state tags. On many occasions I would see one of the vehicles on the street. Generally you can tell if the vehicle’s occupants are working the street. If you know your traffic regulations there is always a good reason to stop the vehicle. In the course of getting the driver’s license, I’ll asked some simple questions like how long have you been in the area, where are you staying. If he gives me an answer I know is false, I will asked when he moved out of the motel where I saw his vehicle. That alone has gotten some pimps to leave town.
What kind of car does he drive? Where did he buy it? How much does he owe on it? Where does he take it for repairs? What about jewelry? A lot of pimps pride themselves on having expensive or at least expensive looking jewelry. Some pimps have jewelry specifically made for them, initials, medallions or rings. These can be significant items to be aware of. Women have a good memory for jewelry.
A lot of this information can be obtained just through observation. Record who he associates with and if prior arrests show any co-defendants or list references or family. Determine if he has a work history.
One evening, my partner I were in the same restaurant where a couple of pimps were eating. They didn’t know we were there. Later that night we saw them on the street. One we knew, so we introduced ourselves to the other. In the brief conversation we had with them my partner asked how he liked his steak and was his baked potato cooked enough. The look on that pimp’s face told it all. He left town that night and did not return, at least not while we were working.
Pimps consider this personal information their business and they don’t like people knowing their business, especially law enforcement. To convince him to leave town just let him know that you know his business. Some figure you wouldn’t know this information unless you had them under investigation. The more you know about him the more likely he is to leave town. There is a big plus to this as well. If you are fortunate enough to develop a case on him you’ll already have most of the information about him.
Pimps network with each other and the more uncomfortable you can make them in your jurisdiction by knowing their business the less likely they will stay in the jurisdiction or return. This will encourage other pimps to avoid your jurisdiction as well.
–This article is by PSWA member Joe Haggerty Sr, the author of the fictional novel Shame: The Story of a Pimp, and the soon to be released novel An Ocean in the Desert.
POLICING IN CANADA – A SNAP SHOT FOR PSWA WRITERS
This is a synopsis of policing in Canada that may be helpful if you plan to include any Canadian police content in your writing. It’s a snap shot for writers, not a heavily researched, academic, paper about policing in Canada. They’re my observations from having lived in Canada all my life and being a member of the Vancouver Police Department for 26 years.
The Law: First, a little background about the law in Canada. Canadian criminal law is national in scope. The Criminal Code of Canada defines crime the same way right across the country. Individual provinces or territories don’t have the option of legislating their own criminal law. A police officer enforcing criminal law in British Columbia, on the west coast of Canada, deals with the same Criminal Code as a police officer on the other side of the country in Nova Scotia.
The same goes for the drug laws. They’re federal statutes. Individual provinces can’t legalize a particular drug, such as marijuana or heroin.
The provinces do, on the other hand, make laws such as the Motor Vehicle Act. Highway speed limits are provincial laws, which the police enforce.
In order to charge someone in Canada, the police must have “reasonable and probable grounds” to believe the person has committed an offence. The standard of proof required for a conviction in court is “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Police procedures include formal cautions to suspects, similar to the Miranda warning.
There is no death penalty in Canada. Those convicted of the most serious crimes, such as murder, are sentenced to life imprisonment. Possibilities for parole vary, depending on whether the conviction is for first degree or second degree murder. A conviction for first degree murder results in no chance of parole for 25 years. A conviction for second degree murder means no chance of parole for 15 years. The timelines only indicate when they may be considered for parole, not necessarily released. A life sentence means just that at the time of sentencing.
Most provinces have a Police Act in some form which defines a code of conduct for police officers, civilian oversight of police, and, in some provinces, investigation of police-involved deaths. Depending on the province and the circumstances, police officers in Canada are subjected to a variety of internal investigations, civilian review boards, coroner’s inquests, special inquiries, and court proceedings.
There are three main levels of police in Canada: federal, provincial/territorial, and municipal. Also, First Nations police forces operate in some aboriginal communities.
Federal: The Royal Canadian Mounted Police is the national police force of Canada, and also the largest. The RCMP has a broad mandate, dealing with everything from international terrorism to small police detachments throughout the country. There are some similarities to the structure of policing in the U.S. where the FBI has more of a federal mandate than local police.
The “mounted” police are not really mounted anymore. Horses are reserved for the ceremonial Musical Ride, which performs all over the world. It’s well worth seeing if you get the opportunity. Google RCMP Musical Ride for great pictures.
Provincial/Territorial: Most provinces and the northern territories use the RCMP as their provincial police. Quebec, Ontario, and Newfoundland & Labrador have their own provincial police forces. Provincial police operate similar to state police. Typically, throughout a province, you find RCMP or provincial police detachments responsible for policing in the smaller centers and on the highways. For example, in Alberta, the larger cities of Calgary and Edmonton have their own municipal police departments and the RCMP police the smaller places.
The RCMP is the only police force in Canada’s far north. The officers there face many challenges due to the harsh weather and isolation of the small settlements. When things go wrong back-up isn’t just a few blocks away either. The RCMP officers in the north develop great negotiation and mediation skills. They know it’s better to talk your way out than fight your way out. Think policing in Alaska. Fertile ground for a good story.
Municipal Police: Most cities in Canada have their own police department. Some, like Toronto and Montreal, are regional police forces, the smaller municipal police forces around the big city having been swallowed up by the larger force.
Policing in French: Canada is officially a bilingual country. Most people in the country outside the province of Quebec work in English. Most French-speaking Canadians live in the province of Quebec. If you ever consider setting a novel in Quebec you would want some element of the French language included. By the way, Quebec has a rich and deep culture. More fertile ground for a good story.
Training: Police training in Canada starts with a police academy or police college. This is usually followed by a period of close supervision. Typically, it takes three years for a junior officer to reach the rank of First Class Constable. Advanced training follows as the officer gains experience. I remember attending an excellent Field Commander seminar taught by two FBI agents from Seattle. I really do still have the T-shirt.
Career Path: There are differences between police agencies in Canada, but generally a police officer’s career path looks something like this: Probationary Constable, Second Class Constable, First Class Constable, Corporal/Detective, Sergeant, Staff-sergeant, Inspector, Superintendent, Deputy Chief of Police, Chief of Police. Of course, not everyone gets to be Chief.
On Patrol: Canadian police deal with a lot of the same problems American police deal with: drunks, drugs, and disorderly people. A bar fight looks the same whether it’s in Toronto or Tampa. Also, like the United States, Canada has its share of organized crime, gangs, serial killers, and terrorist threats. There are many types of specialized units and squads to deal with these types of crimes, such as gang squads and major crime sections.
As for equipment, a patrol officer’s duty belt is fully loaded with a radio, flashlight, handcuffs, expandable baton, pepper spray, a gun, and extra ammo. That probably isn’t much different from equipment carried by an officer in the U.S. In the background are the Emergency Response Teams, Forensics Units, Dog Squads, armored vehicles, helicopters, and other paraphernalia found in modern police forces. Some officers carry Tasers.
Canadian police are armed but their guns stay at the police station when the officer is not on duty. At the end of a shift, an officer leaves the gun at work. Most officers do not have off-duty guns and a special permit is required to own a handgun, even for police officers. The permit usually only allows the gun owner to travel back and forth to a range with the gun.
Cell phone video cameras are an issue for Canadian police. Police departments are experimenting with dashboard and body-worn video cameras. When the conduct of officers is called into question by a citizen’s video recording, the police hope to have their own full recording of the incident.
Police Unions: Most police departments in Canada are unionized but the RCMP is not. When I was a member of the Vancouver PD, a typical issue that was often discussed between management and union was the matter of two-person cars. At the time, the collective agreement called for 60 per cent of the patrol units to be staffed by two officers. That sometimes was difficult to meet when officers were away on training, off sick, etc. The sergeants were often scrambling to staff the cars properly. Sometimes it just wasn’t possible.
Police Executives: A typical police department senior management structure consists of a Chief of Police or Chief Constable as well as a number of Deputy Chiefs, depending on the size of the department. Canadian police chiefs are members of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police and The International Association of Chiefs of Police. Chiefs from the larger cities also belong to the Major Cities Chiefs Association.
There’s a lot more to policing in Canada. If you plan to set any of your novels in Canada there is a great deal of information available through Canadian police websites or libraries specializing in police matters.
–by John Eldridge
John Eldridge was a member of the Vancouver Police Department for 26 years. He followed that with a second career as the Manager of Fatal and Serious Injury Investigations at WorkSafeBC, the Workers Compensation Board of British Columbia. John is now working on his first book, Second Careers for Street Cops. He is a licensed private investigator in British Columbia.
Beyond Recognition by Ron Corbin
BEYOND RECOGNITION is the true story of Ron Corbin, a Vietnam combat helicopter pilot who becomes an LAPD pilot after the war. When a crash occurs that gravely injures Ron and takes the life of his trainee, the chief pilot and LAPD accident investigation board manipulate the post-accident findings to create a cover-up, which is ultimately exposed by Ron.
Available from Amazon.com and direct from Publisher.
Publisher: Oak Tree Press (2013)
ISBN 978-1-61009-070-4 ~~
Ron Corbin served two tours in Vietnam as an Army helicopter and instructor pilot. He received numerous unit and individual ribbons for combat action, to include being awarded the Air Medal 31 times, once with a “V” device for valor. Honorably discharged in 1969, he joined the LAPD as a policeman and pilot/instructor pilot for the Air Support Division. Retiring from LAPD after an on-duty helicopter accident, he finished his college and graduate education. He holds a Masters in elementary education and a Ph.D. in security administration with an emphasis in terrorism threats to America’s nuclear resources. Joining the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in 1993 as a crime prevention specialist, his specialty was Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED). He attended training in this discipline at the National Crime Prevention Institute, University of Louisville. His CPTED subject matter expertise led him to be interviewed in Reader’s Digest, Sunset Magazine, PetroMart Business and Las Vegas Life magazines. He also was responsible for publishing Metro’s in-house training journal, the Training Wheel. Ron has been a contributing columnist to Las Vegas Now magazine as well as a guest lecturer on Royal Caribbean International Cruise Lines, addressing citizens’ personal safety issues. Ron retired as LVMPD’s academy training manager in 2011. He and his wife Kathy have three children, six grandchildren, and live in Las Vegas.
Michael Lazarus reports on his three published book.
Goodbye, My Darling, Hello, Vietnam!
This is the story of a young kid who became a man while serving two tours as a combat helicopter pilot in Vietnam. The story takes the reader from a less than ideal childhood, through flight school, and into the cockpit of a Huey gunship, an OH-13 Scout, and the CH-47 Chinook.
Tacoma Blue is a memoir by the author who went from the jungles of Vietnam to a career in Law Enforcement. After surviving two tours in S.E Asia as a combat helicopter pilot he decided to continue with the adrenaline rush as a cop. His problems with authority and the rules kept him in front of the chief’s desk where he was either given a commendation for investigations and arrests, or written reprimands for various infractions. Sometimes he received both at the same time.
We Gotta Get Out of this Place
These are the true stories of pilots, crew chiefs and gunners who risked their lives over the jungles of Vietnam. It is also the stories of those who gave their all while doing the combat missions assigned to the helicopter units.
Michael Lazarus Bio:
Served in Vietnam as a pilot and earned the Distinguished Flying Cross, 2 Bronze Stars, the Purple Heart, and 17 Air Medals. He became a police officer in Feb. 1970 and spent 18 years with the Tacoma Police Department. He retired as a homicide detective after spending time in street crimes and as an undercover officer in narcotics. He continued in law enforcement as a fraud investigator for the State of Washington and retired from that position in 2006. He continued his military career in the Army Reserves and was recalled to active duty for Desert Storm in 1990. Spent over 15 years as a Special Agent and his primary function was in Protective Services. He retired in 1994 with 28 years active and reserve duty. He’s married with 3 children and 2 grandchildren.
FBI Diary: Profiles of Evil by Pete Klismet
Experience the controversial and ground-breaking training of the original group of FBI Profilers, then work alongside as several high-profile murder cases are solved.
Pete Klismet served as a police officer in Ventura, California for nine years, then served 20 years in the FBI. He was selected as one of the original profilers in the FBI, and retired in 1999.
Marilyn Meredith aka F. M. Meredith announces her two latest books:
In the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series is Spirit Shapes by Marilyn Meredith.
Ghost hunters stumble upon a murdered teen in a haunted house. Deputy Tempe Crabtree’s investigation pulls her into a whirlwind of restless spirits, good and evil, intertwined with the past and the present, and demons and angels at war.
Murder in the Worst Degree by F. M. Meredith
The latest Rocky Bluff PD mystery is Murder in the Worst Degree: The body that washes up on the beach leads Detectives Milligan and Zachary on a murder investigation that includes the victim’s family members, his housekeeper, three long-time friends, and a mystery woman.
Bio: F. M. Meredith aka Marilyn Meredith is the author of over 35 published books. She enjoys writing about police officers and their families and how what happens on the job affects the family and vice versa. Having several members of her own family involved in law enforcement, as well as many friends, she’s witnessed some of this first-hand.