20 Hot Tips: Preparing for the 2017 Writers’ Police Academy

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1. Get plenty of rest the night prior to the start of the academy.

2. Dress comfortably, including comfortable shoes. If shorts are your thing then by all means wear them. But please, no revealing clothing. This is, after all, a public safety training academy, not a nightclub.

3. Be prepared for rain. The WPA is a rain or shine event and several of the activities are outdoors. Also, be prepared for sunshine—sunscreen, hats, etc.

4. You may want to bring along protein bars, bottled water, etc. for a quick snack on the run.

5. Coffee will be available at the academy each morning. Finding time to grab a cup, well, that’s always a challenge, but it’ll be there.

6. It’s best that you attend the Thursday evening orientation session where we’ll go over numerous important details and schedule updates. Remember, our instructors are often active-duty law enforcement officials who may be called away to their various communities at the last minute. There is a special Thursday night session, The Criminal in Literature… from the Criminal’s POV, taught by renowned writing teacher, author, and … former prison “resident,” Les Edgerton. This is a workshop you’ll nit want to miss.

7. The majority of WPA workshop seating is on a first-come, first-served basis and rooms fill quickly. Please know your second session choice and be ready to switch to it quickly. Most workshops are offered twice. Check the schedule for times and room numbers. Some workshops are offsite. We provide transportation to those areas. Safety is the reason they’re away from the main building. Those away workshops include gunfire and high speed driving.

8. Buses will depart the hotel at 7:30 sharp and will not wait for anyone. This means you, sleepyhead! Breakfasts are provided to attendees staying at the Radisson. Please enjoy the delicious food, but be on those buses prior to the 7:30 departure time. We cannot send anyone back for you and the hotel does not provide shuttle service to the academy.

9. You will need to wear your name tag at all times while on the academy grounds and while attending the various activities at the hotel. No name tag = no admittance. No exceptions! The same goes for lunches at the academy. You must present your name tag to receive a meal.

10. Take all the photos you wish, but please ask instructors for their permission before doing so. Some may be working sensitive assignments and having their images plastered across all venues of social media and blogs could place them and their families in danger. Absolutely NO VIDEO.

11. ** SAFETY RULE **

ABSOLUTELY NO VIDEO! Anyone caught violating this rule will be asked to leave at once. No exceptions and no refunds. Remember, the WPA is actual police training. We are not a writers conference. The instruction we provide is often behind the scenes material that is simply not to be shared with the general public, especially via video. We are guests at a premier police training academy. Please do not spoil this event for others by not following the rules.

12. The WPA is extremely fast-paced and exciting, and you’ll be moving about quite a bit. Think about that before you decide to bring along everything you own—desktop computer, 5-gallon water bottle, portable TV, kitchen sink, etc. What you bring with you to the academy grounds is what you’ll be lugging around all day.

13. You’ll be required to sign a liability waiver at registration. Basically, it releases us from harm due to the goofy things you might do should you decide to not follow our directions. 🙂 This is nothing new. You’ve all signed them each year.

14. If you have a special diet other than what was offered at registration (banquet and/or lunches) then it is up to you to contact the hotel to make arrangements for your needs. We contracted for meat and vegetarian only (a couple of these meals are gluten free). We cannot change our contract with the hotel and/or caterers.

15. A book-signing featuring Craig Johnson, Paul Bishop, Les Edgerton, Mike Black, Katherine Ramsland, Marco Conelli, Rick McMahan, Lee Lofland, and other WPA presenters will immediately follow the Saturday night banquet (We hope we didn’t forget anyone’s name and apologize if we did). The campus bookstore will have their books available for purchase on both Friday and Saturday nights at the hotel. Please show your support for these authors!

16. Our extremely popular raffle/silent auction takes place Saturday night during the banquet festivities. So please bring cash … lots of it! Profits from the WPA raffle are used to secure the many supplies and material used during the event.

17. ** SAFETY RULE **

No weapons of any type! Again, NO WEAPONS!. This includes, guns, knives, daggers, pocket knives, pepper spray, Tasers and/or stun guns, sharpened sticks, rocks, feathers used for eye-poking, etc. Anyone found in possession of a weapon during this event will be immediately asked to leave. NO EXCEPTIONS, and no refunds.

18. ** SAFETY RULE **

Please listen to your instructors. Pay attention to and carefully follow their directives and safety instructions. You are attending an actual police, fire, and EMS academy. Yes, there will be live ammunition and firearms. Yes, there will be fire. Yes, there will be fast-moving police vehicles. Yes, those fast-moving police cars will, at times, be spinning out of control. Yes, there will be biting, barking, and snarling dogs. Yes, there will be BANGS, BOOMS, sirens, screams, and yes, there will be tons of squeals and laughter. Yes, you will have one of the most exciting times of your life. But PAY ATTENTION to your surroundings at all times.

19. Sure, you’re attending the WPA to better your craft. But please do let your hair down and have fun. This is an event you’ll remember for a long time to come.

20. Final safety rule. OBEY ALL RULES. 🙂

 Special Note: There will be press coverage of the 2017 WPA, so don’t be surprised if a reporter, photographer, or TV camera-person/reporter/on-air personality asks for an interview or photograph.

See you soon!

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To read more on Lee Lofland and stay up to date with current events and happenings, check out his blog, The Graveyard Shift, at http://leelofland.com