Writers take aim

Patti demonstrates (hopefully) the proper form for shooting a firearm.

Patti Albaugh

What do writers need to know about firearms, arrest procedures and blood splatter patterns? Ask anyone who has been to the Writers’ Police Academy (WPA). Patti Albaugh, member of the SaddleBrooke Sunrise Rotary Club, traveled to Green Bay, Wisconsin, this summer to learn how to write convincing crime scenes. The tenth annual Writers’ Police Academy offers interactive and educational hands-on experiences for writers to enhance their understanding of all aspects of law enforcement, firefighting, EMS, and forensics. The founder of the academy is a former police officer who tired of reading poor renditions of what happens during aspects of law enforcement. To use the founder’s words, “I wanted to place writers behind the wheel of a patrol car in a pursuit, let them shoot rifles and pistols, investigate a murder, take crime scene photos, fire a TASER, blow a doorway to enter a bad guy’s hideout. The way to write believable make-believe is to live it.”

Patti attended lectures on microbiology (how to murder someone with bugs), understanding how police officers get pulled into a vortex of pain and confusion (twice as many officers die of suicide than in the line of duty) and the 150-billion-dollar industry of human trafficking (rural areas are becoming more of a target). Hands-on workshops that Patti attended included fundamentals of a Glock pistol, forensic drawing and emergency driving. Patti told her colleagues at the SaddleBrooke Sunrise Rotary that she will be able to breathe more realism into her writing by adding the senses of touch, taste, sound and smell. The smell of gunpowder, Patti experienced, is distinctive and worthy of being part of the story so readers can feel they are in the middle of the action.

She intends to go back next year. What could be more exciting that hands-on experience with shoot-don’t shoot scenarios, TASER training, interrogation techniques and SWAT procedures for clearing a room?

SaddleBrooke Sunrise Rotary Club is proud of all our members, who make contributions of time and money to assist those within our community and over the world. We meet every Thursday at noon in the Catalina Room next to the Mesquite Grill. Please contact Ron Lenz, membership chair, at 262-358-0130. Come and check us out, join our club, become a Rotarian!