thanks to our law enforcers

The Writers’ Police Academy was a blast, and as usual, was attended by the most generous, friendly and interesting group of writers. It was lovely to talk excitedly about the cool burn building experience followed with pictures of burn scenes, or the autopsy photo close-ups, and not have my listener cock an eyebrow and slowly ease away.

What was especially amusing was when someone asked an officer, “So, if I wanted to set fire to a building, say, an empty warehouse, what would be the best way to do it?” His lips would twitch in a small smile, but the eyes instinctively flicked down to the name badge. After all, that’s his job. His duty.

The men and women who volunteered their time for our group of 100+ writers made this event. They were all great sports, and it’s clear how much they love their work despite the physical and emotional toll it takes.

I learned a great deal during this conference, and FATS (Firearm Training Simulation) was an experience I’ll never forget. I killed a bunch of people. I was shot many more times. I stood by while a little girl accidentally shot her younger brother with a gun she’d carried to school in her pocket. I even had to kill a dog. *sniff*

The memories and the images will certainly find a way into my fiction, and that was the point of the Academy.

But the biggest lesson I brought home with me is how much I respect and value our local law enforcement. I’ve always known they’re there for me when I need it. They raced to the scene of a crash outside my Cape Cod home one nasty January night when others were warned to stay inside. They turned out in force when my mother-in-law suffered her double aneurysms. They leave their own families during hurricanes in order to protect those invincibles who need help.

I’ve always believed that my safety is their priority. I’ve had a chance to experience one iota of what each officer lives with on a very real, daily basis. But I’ve heard it now. The emotional consequences of a life-or-death decision.

I’ve watched them choke, and tear up, and struggle to regain control.

I’ll post pictures and share the specifics another time. But here, I want to thank my protectors. They make our lives possible, and so many of us little people don’t fully understand. I still don’t, not really. But I have a better understanding, and boatloads more respect for the jobs they do. For us.

Thank you.


EDIT: I’ll be adding links here to blog posts I find around the internet about the weekend:

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