Hearts & Handcuffs: Writing Believable Police Heroes

November 4, 2020 – November 26, 2020 all-day
Online workshop Coordinator

Description: Writing believable police heroes, presented by New York Times bestselling author Angela Knight and veteran cop Detective Michael Woodcock

Readers love cops, but writing believable police and sheriff’s officers can be difficult if you don’t know the procedures cops use to defend themselves and investigate crimes. In this workshop, New York Times bestselling author Angela Knight and her husband Michael Woodcock, a veteran officer of more than twenty years, will cover everything from felony car-stops to murder investigations and hostage negotiations. Many cops have offered classes on aspects of police work, but since they’re not writers, they often don’t know what writers really need to know. As a result, they tell a lot of war stories, but may not cover the details essential to believability. Knight and Woodcock plan to give that information.

Topics include:

  1. Introduction
  2. Interview with Master Deputy Mike Clevenger on why people become cops, and how officers deal with psychological aspects of policing and balancing the needs of the job and family life.
  3. SWAT commander Lt. Mark Gaddy discusses officer training and how television gets it wrong. What makes a good officer?
  4. Weapons Use, with Lt. Gaddy: What are some of the weapons, lethal and otherwise, police use, and what are their limitations?
  5. SWAT Teams: How the teams are trained and organized
  6. An Interview with Lt. Diane Lestage —Why do women become cops? What are some of the advantages that women bring to the job? How do they deal with people that are generally larger and stronger than they are? How do they handle hand to hand? Since women are often the chief caregivers in the family, what are the techniques they use to juggle those demands and policing?
  7. Investigating Sex Crimes with Lt. Lestage and Detective Mike Woodcock — This lesson deals with both adult and child sexual assaults, and how you go about dealing with victims.
  8. Mike Woodcock on Investigating violent crimes; What are the steps a detective follows in investigating a homicide? What is the psychological effects on the officer?
  9. Interrogating witnesses, suspects and informants with Detective Mike Woodcock — How do detectives go about questioning witnesses, informants, and suspects, and how do they tell who’s lying?
  10. Crime Scene Investigation with Sgt. David Hogsed– what are the techniques officers use to collect evidence and document crime scenes?
  11. Hostage Negotiation with Detective Mike Woodcock: How do crisis negotiators handle confrontations with armed suspects?
  12. Interview with Lt. Ashely Harris on bombs and drug testing — Lt. Ashely Harris, now retired, discusses being a forensic chemist and bomb tech. He discusses methods for testing different kinds of drugs, including marijuana, meth and cocaine. He also discusses how to dismantle explosives, bombs and grenades, as well as the use of bomb robots.

Students are encouraged to ask questions and post scenes for critique.

Instructors: Angela Knight is the New York Times bestselling author of books for Berkley, Red Sage, Changeling Press, and Loose Id. Her first book was written in pencil and illustrated in crayon; she was nine years old at the time. A few years later, she read The Wolf and the Dove and fell in love with romance. Besides her fiction work, Angela’s publishing career includes a stint as a comic book writer and ten years as a newspaper reporter. Several of her stories won South Carolina Press Association awards under her real name.

Detective Michael Woodcock began his 30-year career as a cop with the city of Spartanburg, SC, doing everything from high speed pursuits to searching for pipe bombs and investigating murders. In 1997, he became the department’s polygraph examiner, interrogating accused pedophiles, thieves and murderers, as well as screening potential police employees. In 2001, he was hired by the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office as its polygrapher. Over the next 17 years, he led the county’s hostage negotiation unit, and conducted a number of negotiations with barricaded subjects. He’s now back with the City of Spartanburg as a detective.

Click here to register