Friday, August 19, 2016

2016 Writers' Police Academy - Thursday

I managed to get out of the house long before the sun even thought of making an appearance the morning we were to depart for Wisconsin. A quick stop to pick up a friend of mine, and we were off to the airport.

After about a half a day of travel, we arrived at our destination: Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in Green Bay, Wisconsin. My first impression as we stepped out of the airport was that Green Bay was hot and wet. My Colorado body is not used to drinking its air.

We had a couple of hours of down time before the afternoon "welcome" activities began, so we curled up in a couple of chairs in the lobby and took a nap while we waited for our room to be made available. When gearing up for the WPA, it's important to get rest when you can, because once the festivities start it's balls to the wall.

The afternoon welcome session started off with Show and Tell. My friend and I braved the wall of humidity to go see the Sheriff's cool toys.

I'm not tall, but that door hinge was still 4" above my head!

Getting dressed for work

"Can we go work now, can we, can we, can we?"

SWAT gear was available for us to handle and ask questions about.
I don't know how the LEOs there work in all that gear (even just their every day uniform) with the heat and humidity. After an hour, I was done and I was only in jeans and a t-shirt.

I learned a couple of things from the evening announcements:
  • No videoing! Of course, that's been the rule from day one, so it wasn't a surprise.
  • The bus ride to the facility is ten minutes. Both ways. Yes, someone asked. Many, many times. Guess what? The bus ride next year is going to be ten minutes. Both ways.
  • I'm not sure we ever got a clear answer on what time the pool closes, but I looked it up and it's a 24-hour pool, so no worries.
  • The Goldberg brothers are hilarious. I didn't know who the comedy duo was at the time, but I knew I liked them from the first words spoken.
After evening announcements, there was a session on drones. Drones are more correctly called UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) or sUAS (small Unmanned Aerial Systems) and are overseen by the FAA. Capt. Bill Bongle (ret.), talked to us about some of the FAA legalities, such as setting the max altitude at 400 feet. We also learned from an old case (Causby vs U.S. 1946) that 83 feet is the altitude that one can reasonably expect privacy.

There is a current case to keep an eye on, Boggs vs. Meredith, that is seeking to clarify aerial trespass. The issue is that Meredith shot down a UAV piloted by Boggs, which is a violation of a statute that makes it a felony to shoot down or damage an aircraft. Meredith argues that the drone flying over his property is a violation of privacy.

Capt. Bongle was kind enough to bring a variety of UAVs for us to see.

That's not a UFO that we're all looking at - it's a tiny UAV.

This little guy is a Blade Inductrix and retails for about $70 without the camera.

I should have added something for scale - this one is about the size of my thumbnail.
I fell in love with the itty bitty flying machine, and think I need one. The bigger ones are cool, but this miniaturized one is just adorable.

This one can be fitted with a FLIR (infrared) camera.

By the time the drone talk wrapped up, I was exhausted. It had been a very long day and we still had two full days of fun to go.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Question for Readers

When choosing a new book to read, do you read the reviews? Amazon seems to have the most prolific reviews and a lot of authors depend on them.

As a reader, which type of review do you prefer?

One that summarizes the entire book?

Or one that is more along the lines of "I liked it, and here's why"?

I know what my preference is, which is reflected in the reviews I've left. I do try to leave a review for 90% of the books I read - either on Goodreads or Amazon (usually both) - as an author I know how important they are.

I am interested - which type of review do you prefer and why?

Monday, August 8, 2016

Writers' Police Academy 2016

Only a few days before I head off to WPA! This year, I've got a friend and fellow author joining me. I'm unbelievably excited to get to share this event with her and I think she'll have a great experience.

WPA has been described as "Disneyland for writers" and that's about as accurate a description as any. We'll spend almost three days absorbing everything we can from experts in: bioterrorism; law enforcement; fire; EMS; forensic psychology; and crime lab/processing.

I can't wait! If you want to keep up in real-time, follow me on Twitter (@CSWilson_Author), Instagram (@authorcswilson), or Facebook (@AuthorCSWilson). I'll do my best to post every chance I get.