Monday, October 10, 2011

Some Facts from the PWA

A few facts I picked up at the Writers Police Academy.

Those air tanks firefighters wear are compressed air, not oxygen.  Oxygen is highly flammable - the last thing you want to take into a fire.  But the air tanks are highly pressurize which makes them very dangerous.  One instructor made the comparison of blowing up a balloon and letting it go.

Air tanks ready to go.
 Prisoners prefer cops use their street names in detention (jail, not prison) because they don't want other prisoners to learn their real names.  This is partially to protect their families, partially so others won't give that name the next time they're arrested.

The concrete walls and/or floor in many prison provide a way for prisoners to fashion weapons by shaving or shaping items against the rough surface.  (And yet, many cells are still constructed this way.)

Sgt. Catherine Netter talking about jail cells.
Not all gunshot wounds create an external bleed.  If there is not exit wound, the victim could bleed out internally with very little visible blood. 

Blood evidence usually falls into one or more of the following: 
  • Passive - drops, clots, pooling;
  • Projected - arterial spurts, cast off splashes; 
  • Transfer - smears, wipes, tracks;
  • Misc - voids, fly spots.  What's a fly spot?  It occurs when a fly lands in the blood, then lands somewhere else at the scene.  Lots of flies can confuse the scene.

Types of blood splatter.

In gunshot wounds inflicted at close range, it is common to have blood splatter inside the gun barrel.

The K9 officer, Joy, pictured below is trained in Dutch.  This is her native tongue; plus, it makes it difficult for suspects to try to counter her handler's commands.

Joy is the one looking up.
One of the advantages to Bioterroism is cost.  To inflict the same casualty rate using conventional weapons it would cost $2,000, using nuclear weapons - $800, chemical weapons - $600, Anthrax - $1.

Dr. Denene Lofland conducts our session on bioterrorism.

Pepper spray can cause death in certain situations.  Cocaine use causes an elevated heart rate.  Pepper spray also elevates the heart rate.  Using pepper spray to subdue a violent suspect who has previously used cocaine could bring on a fatal heart attack. 

And last but not least - no matter what you see on TV, female detectives and/or crime scene investigators do NOT come to work wearing four inch heels, short skirts, or low cut blouses (no cleavage!).  Forget the long flowing tresses, too.  Hair is worn short or pinned up.  Think slacks with belt loops (need the belt for holster, cuff pouch, etc.), shirts, usually some sort of jacket to cover the weapon, and flat shoes or boots - not slip ons because "you'll run right out of them if you have to chase someone".

That's it for today.  Did you learn anything new?

Come by on Wednesday to learn the winner of last week's Caption Contest.

Groaner of the Day:  Police found a criminal shot to death with exit wounds but no entry wounds. It was determined to be an inside job.


GigglesandGuns said...

Very clever with the Dutch dog and I had no idea about the Bioterroism.

I really missed the groaners all week ;-)


Maria Zannini said...

I knew about the compressed air because Greg's on the industrial fire brigade. And I know it's common for dogs to be trained in other languages--especially shutzhund training.

But I didn't know the other things.

And I was shocked--shocked I tell you, that women police officers don't wear stilettos and low cut blouses. TV has ruined me for real life. LOL.

Mason Canyon said...

Very interesting facts. I especially like the fact that the dogs are trained in a different language. When you mentioned the four inch heels I thought of Body of Proof and the outfits the main character wears. Cute groaner.

Thoughts in Progress
Freelance Editing By Mason

Mike Keyton said...

And last but not least - no matter what you see on TV, female detectives and/or crime scene investigators do NOT come to work wearing four inch heels, short skirts, or low cut blouses (no cleavage!).

And the men?

Seriously, interesting stuff. Thanks

LD Masterson said...

Aw, Mary - If I'd known you missed them, I would have e-mailed you a couple. *grin*

LD Masterson said...

Maria - And here I was basing my writing on all the stuff that HAD to be true - I saw it on TV.

LD Masterson said...

Mason - Yup, Body of Proof is a good example of what not to wear.

LD Masterson said...

Mike - Oh I think short skirts nad cleavage are okay for the guys.

Not to mention sunglasses that get dramaticly removed or replaced at critical moments.

Cate Masters said...

The facts fascinate me, but it fascinates me more that the police share these facts with writers. Is it a fundraiser for them? I wonder if they consider skewing the facts to suit themselves? Hmmm. :)

Arlee Bird said...

The ingenuity of prisoners to innovate from whatever is available to them is pretty amazing. I guess when you've got time on your hands all you have to do is think up new ways of getting past the law.

These are pretty interesting facts that you've been presenting.

Tossing It Out

LD Masterson said...

Cate - I think they get so frustrated with all the wrong information put out by TV and movies, they just want somebody to get it right.

LD Masterson said...

Arlee - It was an interesting weekend.

Jemi Fraser said...

The women's clothing doesn't surprise me :) but some of the other stuff is new to me! Very interesting!!

Liz Fichera said...

Such fascinating stuff! And thank you for confirming the clothing attire of real police women detectives. (That's why I can't stand to watch the CSI shows...)

LD Masterson said...

Jemi - The clothes thing is pretty much common sense but I guess that doesn't stop TV from getting it wrong.

LD Masterson said...

Liz - I should do a post asking what crime shows have the most outragous outfits.