Thursday, October 2, 2014

Thursday Review—Writer's Police Academy

by Lynn H Blackburn @LynnHBlackburn

I attended the Writers’ Police Academy in September. This year it was held in Greensboro, North Carolina, which made it an easy drive for me, but this is a conference I would gladly travel for.

Here’s what you can expect:

Excellent Classes - Firearms, romance behind the badge, forensic microbiology, psychology of cops, behind the scenes of a prostitution sting, SWAT/special ops...and those are just the classes I attended. There were many more to choose from. (Click here for this past year’s class schedule). The instructors are police chiefs, former ATF agents, former Secret Service agents, former and current undercover cops, etc. One of the best parts is that many of the instructors give out their email and/or phone numbers and offer to answer questions down the road. They truly want you to get it right in your book and they are eager to help.

Hands On Opportunities - I toured a jail (got heckled in Maximum Security), rode in the back of an ambulance, got in a driving simulator and "drove" an ambulance and a fire truck, and the last day I went to the local Y to watch the dive team simulate an underwater recovery of evidence. One morning there was a simulated drunk driving accident with fatalities and fire, EMS, and police were on scene. The next morning they breached a building and blew the door off its hinges. Very cool. Very loud. 

Most of the hands on experiences are determined by lottery or by sign up at registration, so there were other hands on opportunities that I would have loved to do but didn't get to this year.  You can fire weapons, do a building search with different teams, and there’s a lottery system for going on ride-alongs with the police department.

Exhaustion - It is a packed experience. On the bus at 7:30 am, not back at the hotel until 6pm, and then usually a night activity of some sort. There is very little downtime and you definitely get your money’s worth.

If you incorporate any sort of law enforcement in your writing, the Writers’ Police Academy should be on your 2015 conference schedule.

Have you ever gotten hands on experience with law enforcement? Did you attend WPA and have a favorite story to share?

Don’t forget to join the conversation!


Lynn Huggins Blackburn has been telling herself stories since she was five and finally started writing them down. She blogs about faith, family, and her writing journey on her blog Out of the Boat. Lynn is a member of the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild and the Word Weavers, Greenville. She lives in South Carolina where she hangs out with three lively children, one fabulous man, and a cast of imaginary characters who find their way onto the pages of her upcoming novel. She drinks a lot of coffee.


  1. Sounds terribly exciting. Thanks for sharing, Lynn.

  2. I really want to go in 2015. Sounds like a thrilling experience.