Showing posts with label SWAT. Show all posts
Showing posts with label SWAT. Show all posts

Friday, October 3, 2014

Breach, Baby - An Explosive Way to Get Your Hero into the Building: Information for Writers


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GREM breach
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This article is based on my experience at the Writer's Police Academy 2014 and was instructed by Cpt. Randy Shepherd. Cpt. Shepherd serves as the Division Commander of the Pesonnel and Training Division. He is the Assistant Team Commander  of Guilford County Sheriff's Emergency Response Team (S.E.R.T.) and team Commander of the Mobile Unit. He's my sniper of choice if I were ever in dire straits. You can read more about Cpt. Shepherd's sniping HERE

There are times when it is imperative to write your heroes into a fortified building fast. And the way to do it is not to knock politely at the door.

Some ways to enter a building (interior or exterior doors):
1. Knock
2. Mechanical breach - such as lock picking
3. Ballistic breach - uses a projectile to open the lock such as
    shooting the locking system.
4. Thermal breach - cutting through with a blow torch
5. Water breach - using water to cut. This is used when there is the
    possibility that a spark would explode the building.
6. Ram
7. Explosive Breach

Why would your hero need to use an explosive breach?
1. The door is barricaded (such as 2x4s on brackets)
2. There are multiple locking systems
3. Tactical considerations including:
   `history with this suspect
   `situation - such as hostages
   `intel from an informant

Other considerations:
1. They decide on the threat matrix - for example an explosive
     breach puts children at a higher risk.
2. What is going on inside of the building? Using an explosive
    breach would be a no-no for example in a meth lab.

An explosive breach uses the normal eight-person team. They are dressed like any SWAT team with protective gear including helmets, protective plating, and Kevlar shields.

When the commander has determined that they will go in and that they will need to do an explosive breach, they lay the explosives. In this case they used 100gram detonation cord with C4 which is very stable (AKA detonation cord, detacord, det. cord, detcord, primer cord).


English: A U.S. Marine Corps explosive ordnanc...
A U.S. Marine Corps explosive ordnance disposal technician prepares a reinforced detonation cord filled with Pentaerythritol Tetranitrate (PETN) for a simulated aerial assault at Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, Aug. 30, 2010. PETN is a stable explosive and is detonated by shockwave or heat. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


It sticks to the inside of the door. The door jam and the hinges are the weak points. The bad guys will fortify the locking side of the door and leave the hinge-side less protected.

They attach 2 blasting caps. That way if the first fails they are not endangered while placing more blasting caps. Why might a blasting cap fail? Perhaps it wasn't attached correctly. If the second blasting cap fails they call it a "fail breach" and they move to a second entrance that was already predetermined.


US Navy 090306-N-7130B-308 Armed Forces of the...
US Navy Armed Forces attach blasting caps to detonation cord before conducting a controlled demolition of live ordnance  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


They do not only go through a door - sometimes they go through the wall - but it's good to have intel so your hole doesn't end up somehwere difficult like behind the refrigerator.

They will run the fuse to a safe distance.

* First they check to see if the door is locked.
* The commander yells "breacher up"
* Breacher says: 
  "I have control"
  "Breach 3...2...1..."
   When it doesn't work, "Fail breach."

When it does work there is a LOUD explosion.

I was sitting about fifty yards from the explosion. I felt the concussion cross my chest like three narrow waves of air. It raised the hair on my arm. My ears had a mild ring. But, actually feeling the concussive waves was very astonishing.


Hope this was helpful in getting your hero safely into the building, now find the heroine and save the day! Happy plotting.


Thank you so much for stopping by. And thank you for your support. When you buy my books, you make it possible for me to continue to bring you helpful articles and keep ThrillWriting free and accessible to all.


Sunday, August 17, 2014

I've Got My Eye On You: Surveillance Information for Writers w/ Jay Korza



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A 'nest' of surveillance cameras at the Gillet...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Today on ThrillWriting we are answering a reader's questions about surveillance. To do this, I have invited our friend Jay Korza back to share his knowledge.



Fiona - 
Hi Jay, can you give our readers a little bit of your background? Why do you know how to keep track of people?

Jay - 
I've been in law enforcement for fourteen years now. I have worked on SWAT for eight. SWAT doesn't deploy the stuff we're talking about, but we work with the guys who do when we serve their warrants based off the surveillance.

I've also worked as a detective and in a special operations unit doing stuff with Border Patrol, Customs, 
ICE, ATF and other federal acronyms. So 
I've had exposure to what we're talking about.

Fiona - 
From an law enforcement point of view, what's allowed without a warrant and how does access increase with a warrant in hand? I'm trying to set the legal v. illegal perimeters.

Jay -
First, we need to clarify electronic surveillance can include GPS, wire taps, cameras, microphones, and other data collection methods. 

Let's start with the GPS - 
Garmin eTrex Yellow GPS acquiring satellite signal
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Basically, law enforcement uses off-the-shelf products and nothing really fancy. I asked my buddy if there was really high tech stuff out there that we don't use because of cost, and he said no. Even your Fed agencies use the same basic stuff we do.

There are two basic monitors. One that is hardwired into the car's electrical system and one that isn't and has its own battery. Up until last year, you needed a warrant for the hardwired monitor but not the stand alone unit. Now the Supreme Court says you need a warrant for both types. The warrant must specify a length of time you will be recording data. At the end of that time, you must retrieve or attempt to retrieve the tracker.

Many of the GPS trackers are magnetic so you just roll under the suspect's car and slap it on to the frame.

The hardwired kind has more options. It can send a signal to say the vehicle was turned on or off. Both types have options that allow them to automatically turn on or off at certain times or not turn on until the vehicle is in motion. This is important because you can get a cell phone signal detector from radio shack and run it around your car to see if it's being tracked. But if the tracker won't turn on until there is movement, then you would have to do this while moving and that's not feasible.
 
Fiona -
Oh! Very interesting.

Jay - 
Wire taps need warrants, always.

Fiona - 
When you say wire tap - that is a phone line only?

What about sniffing the airwaves for wifi signal and cell phones?

Jay
In some states, to record a conversation, only one party in the conversation needs to be aware of the recording. In other states, both parties need to be aware. This generally only applies to non-law enforcement related stuff. For example if you want to record your neighbor being a jerk to you.

But for wire-tapping, listening in on hardline or cell phone conversations for law enforcement purposes, this requires a warrant.

Fiona - 

Found on my Facebook feed
That's audio - but video without the sound is legal, yes?

Jay - 
Photographing and listening devices can be placed anywhere in public without a warrant. Some states MAY vary with their own more restrictive laws so a writer would need to check their story's state for specific.

So I, as a cop, want to watch someone's property for drug traffic. I can put a camera up in a neighborhood on a telephone pole and point that camera towards their yard and not need a warrant to do that.

Warrants boil down to this basic concept: If you want to watch, listen, or search for anything, and what you want to watch, listen, or search for is in an area that ANYONE could access it, you don't need a warrant. If the person or item or whatever is in any location that a person believes is private and/or has an expectation of privacy in that area, you need a warrant.

There are obviously caveats and details that we can go into more specifics with, but that is the general idea.

Your backyard, isn't private. Your neighbor can look into it. Someone can stand next to it and listen in on it. So putting up a camera or listening device to do the same thing is okay without a warrant.

If you choose to conduct your criminal activity in an area where your average mailman, pool guy, weed guy, neighbor - has access to, then we don't need a warrant to watch those areas



Found in my Facebook feed.

Fiona - 
What if my character obtained the information illegally and sent it anonymously to the police - could they use that?

Jay - 
Depends.

Let's say a burglar, acting on his own volition, breaks into someone's house and steals a laptop. He leaves and finds child porn on the laptop. He turns it into the police. We can look at what he has already looked at and use that to get a warrant to search further.

That actually happened not too long ago.

Fiona - 
WOW that's an upstanding burglar with a code of ethics! 


Say our character "knows" someone is doing something wrong - maybe a wife who thinks her husband is having an affair. What are some techniques your average everyday run of the mill scorned woman might use to catch hubby with his hand in the cookie jar?

Jay - 
Facebook!

Fiona - 
Ha! I mean in terms of using apparatus.

Jay - 
There are programs you
HTC Aria android 2.2 smart phone review www.li...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
can install on smart phones that will track the phone without the owners knowledge. I don't know any specific names, but they are out there. I'm sure some work better than others.

You can easily get a GPS tracking device that attaches to the car. There are some that send wireless updates and others that you have to download the information later, and then you can see where it was but not as it is happening.

There are now a few products out that plug into the computer port on your car, the one they use to check error codes and stuff, and those can be made to do a lot of different things including tracking.

Fiona - 
Can she walk into court with that information? "He said he went to Maryland for business, he was actually three blocks over sleeping at my best friends house!"

Jay - 
You could call your cell service provider as the account holder and ask them to set up your husband's phone as a child account with tracking (if they provide this option) and then track his phone through the cell service.


For court use: It depends on the laws of the state. In general, yes.
There could be civil laws in some states that preclude that information.


Three blocks?! Stupid guy!

Fiona - 
That he's doing her best friend makes him the worst kind of stupid guy. But hey, it's not my plot line.

Okay what about the computer? She wants to see what hubby is saying to whom - how could she get that information on a PC? What about if it were a laptop and adding any plug ins would be more visible?

Jay - 
PC: There are programs that log keystrokes or ones that take video of the screen so you can watch the video later. There are plenty of options out there for that sort of thing. The main thing is the wife would need access to the computer as an admin in order to install the programs. So if the hubby uses a pass code, and she doesn't know it, she's locked out and can't do that. She'd need to set up a nanny cam to view the screen. If you're using Windows 8.1 you can set up accounts to monitored for their web and program history. It won't give you details like what was said in a chat, but you could see the general usage stats. That wouldn't help too much in this situation. It will tell you the site they went to though.

But when my kid logs into her account, it says "This account is being monitored". So that isn't too helpful.

Fiona - 
Well it stops your kid from going somewhere they shouldn't, so that's all good.

Jay - 
There are in-line keystroke loggers that plug into USB gadgets. They aren't obvious on an empty port. So you plug it in then plug the printer into it so it isn't an "extra" odd thing plugged in.

In the end, if you have access to the computer and aren't locked out, there are tons of apps that will watch the computer and report back to you. It's just a matter of finding the one that you like best.

Fiona - 
Go back to the key stroke logger. 

Jay - 
Keystroke loggers are great for showing one side of the conversation.

They could get pass codes and access the email, Facebook private messages etc.

Most people won't see a USB keystroke logger if you plug it into the back of their computer. Who checks the back of their PC??

But the crux is getting it there and getting it back. Not to mention you don't get real-time data, you have to wait until you retrieve it to get what you need. Unless you find one that sends out info via the computer's Internet connection.

Fiona - 

Exactly. But you would see it on a laptop. So is there something that captures keystrokes that have already happened? More importantly - would the police use something like that?

Jay - 
You can install software, but the police would need access to the computer AND a warrant.

We could take a phone or computer, get a warrant to install the software, then return the item under false pretenses. "Sorry we took this, we didn't mean to. Here you go. Have a nice day."

Fiona - 

That person would be an idiot to say - oh, okay officer - then I'll just go ahead and use this for my drug deals.

They are nuts. Sell the darned thing and buy a new one. Don't they read crime novels?

Jay - 
No they don't!!!

Fiona - 
Tsk tsk - not very competent criminals - hardly gives the police a challenge at that point.

Jay - 
I actually have plans to write a satirical book when I retire called "How to be a Criminal." Chapter one, don't steal this f*cking book! You aren't ready yet.

Fiona - 
Hahaha! LOVE that!

So someone with some computer savvy could take another person's laptop surreptitiously and install hardware, slip it back in place, and see live anything happening on the laptop?

Jay - 
Yes.

Fiona - 
What about if the police want to follow someone's movements within a building - a GPS would not be helpful for that - do you put trackers in people's shoes? Do you put cameras on their buttons so you can see where they've gone and what they've done?

Jay - 
GPS would be helpful in a building. We can pinpoint altitude (floor level in the building) and within a meter or two of their location. So we could track someone in a building just fine with GPS. However, unless we're talking CIA level investigation, there isn't a reason to in regular law enforcement to get that level of tracking of done.

But that's not true if you din't have access to the GPS and were, for example, following the pings from a cell tower to get generalized location.

Tower pinging is much less accurate. And it requires a subpoena or a warrant. We can ask for emergency pings without either, such as a kidnapping, suicidal subject, or other exigent circumstances.


Most tower pings are now actually GPS locate, it's just still called pinging the phone. The company knows your GPS location unless you have a really dumb phone with no extras on it. Then they actually use tower triangulation.

Fiona - 
What is a tracking issue that has bugged you (giggle) in a book or movie?


Jay - 
Movie and book issues: Tracking someone and looking at their tracking screen and somehow, their screen has an exact map of wherever the person happens to be. They ducked into an office building? No problem, my screen automatically downloaded the wire-frame blueprints of that building, and now I can see them walking up the stairs and into room 819. Nope.

Fiona - 
Boo! That sounds so awesome!

Jay -
One thing they do get right is the lag time. If you have someone tracking a person for you and then relaying the information to you, you are always behind the curve. You may miss the street they took and have to take the next one to catch up.

Fiona - 
How long is that seconds? Minutes?

Jay - 
Could be either depending on the equipment being used. It's worse when the information is going to a third party, say OnStar, then OnStar is relaying it to a dispatcher who then relays it to you. I had that once for a stolen vehicle that we were tracking. My dispatcher said, "Ok, they're stopped at a street just up the road from you and it dead ends." Nope! They were heading straight for me down that road.

Fiona - 
YIPES!

Can you tell our readers about your books?





Jay - 
Plot for Extinction: An ancient race created a species of warriors to conquer other planets/systems for them. A millennium after the conquering, the current Emperor wanted to end the tyranny, but even he couldn't do it. He would be overthrown. So he devised a plan to lead an expansion colony himself to an unexplored part of the galaxy, and then cut himself off from the Empire, letting it wither without him. Then, he would come back and rebuild things the right way. His plan didn't work.

A thousand years later, humans are exploring the galaxy and come across one of the Emperor's first colony sites in our region of space. The scientists accidentally set off a distress signal to the old empire and the warriors find out that the old Emperor had lied to them, and now they are coming to claim our portion of space. Two special forces teams will embark on separate missions to stop the threat.

Amazon Link $2.99


Fiona - 
Very fun! I have a lot of readers here on ThrillWriting who love to read and write sci-fi. You also wrote a zombie theme?

Jay -
My second book is called "This Is Not What I Wished For..." It takes place where the zombie genre is unheard of. A boy on his fourteenth birthday has his family wiped out by what he believes to be demons. He sees his neighbors and family eaten and killed in front of him and then turn into these demons. He flees and ultimately joins with other survivors and leads them to the epicenter of the outbreak, a hospital that is really a covert government lab that accidentally allowed this foreign contagion to escape their labs.

Fiona - 
A huge thank you to Jay Korza for all of his excellent insider information.


Thank you so much for stopping by. And thank you for your support. When you buy my books, you make it possible for me to continue to bring you helpful articles and keep ThrillWriting free and accessible to all.


Related articles

Sunday, July 20, 2014

TEMS Medics: Information for Writers with Deputy Jay Korza



Fiona - 
ThrillWriting is happy to host Deputy Jay Korza who is an author and works as a first responder with fourteen years of experience as a deputy as well as military experience under his belt

Jay can you give us a glimpse into your 
professional background 
and an idea about what you like to write?

Jay - 

Sure. Background: I started in EMS when I was 17, going through my first EMT cert class at the local community college. Then I went into the Navy at 18 and became a Hospital Corpsman. Corpsman are the medics in the Navy and for the Marine Corps. The Marines don't have any medical personnel, they are all supplied by the Navy. I worked in Emergency medicine while I was enlisted and afterwards as well.


Fiona
Were you mainly on the boat or out in the field with the marines?



Jay - 
I was shore based at a hospital, The Naval Medical Center San Diego. I was later in the reserves after active duty and was trained as an 8404 Corpsman. They're the ones who go out with the Marines. I never deployed though. I tried while I was active and couldn't.

They wanted to send me to a small boat, less than 500 crew, after my first enlistment was up, so I didn't reenlist. I should have. I didn't realize how much I would miss it.



When I left, I did a few small jobs for about six months until I started managing a private medical practice. I did that for a little over a year and then was a paramedic for a federal prison. I did that for a year and then moved to Massachusetts with my girlfriend, and I worked on ambulances out there. I also started a non-profit organization teaching first aid and CPR to the community.

You asked what I like to write. I like to go with the idea of writing what you know. My first book was a science fiction space opera that dealt with special forces, Marines, and one of the main characters was a Corpsman. I put a lot of medical and tactical stuff in the book.

It's hard to find Jay in this picture.

Fiona - 
I love that! And that's what we're here to talk about today - you have functioned as a TEMS - can you explain what that job would entail?


Jay - 
A TEMS medic is responsible for the medical operational needs of their team. TEMS could be used to describe military medics, but they are more often referred to as combat medics, and they deserve that "combat" rating as opposed to just being tactical.

TEMS - Tactical Emergency Medical Service

TEMS are responsible for the medical care of suspects, bystanders, and victims in and around a tactical scene.

Fiona - 
So do all SWAT teams go in with a TEMS medic attached or some kind of medic?

Jay - 
It is becoming the norm, but it is not universal at this point. There are "teams" out there that aren't really SWAT teams, and they don't fit the national standard definition of one. In line with that, their "TEMS" also aren't really TEMS, just a few EMTs thrown on a mission. Don't get me wrong, these are great guys doing what they can with what they've been given, but it isn't a real TEMS program.





Jay - 
But for those teams that do employ TEMS on a regular basis, there are two basic structures.

The first type, like my team, the medics are fully a part of the team. They come to our training sessions where they do all of the tactical training with us, and they deploy on every single mission. We won't deploy without a minimum of two medics.

The second type of TEMS element is where the team works closely with the local EMS guys, and when there is a call, they have the local medics respond. But the medics aren't actually on the team.

Fiona - 
What are the most prevalent issues faced during a tactical medical emergency?

Jay - 
The most prevalent issues are your own guys jacking themselves up during training. 
We deal with more sports injuries than we do suspect injuries. That is fairly common with all of the teams.

Fiona - 
Jacking themselves up during training would result in?

Jay - 
Jacking themselves up = twisted ankles, heat injuries, back injuries, burns,

Fiona -
So would the EMT have to wait for an "all clear" to respond while a TEMS could run into the fray? Is that the difference?

Jay - Not necessarily. Depending on the team structure, the TEMS may be up in the armor right in the hot zone (as is with my team), or they may be back at staging waiting to be called up for a specific issue, and that issue may be when things are in full swing or after the action has ended.

Ever wonder what a Taser wound looks like?

Fiona -
Lots of ice - though now I read that research says ice is bad for injury inflammation...

Jay - 
We train harder than our missions will be so that we're ready for whatever happens. And as a result, we tend to get injured in training. Like I said, mostly what would be considered sports injuries. Though we have had a couple of medical issues pop up that were unexpected.




Practicing TEMS on dog manikins in case one of our working K9s gets hurt

Fiona -
You have read a lot of books which include emergency medical intervention. Can you take us through one situation where you see the author consistently misunderstand and write something incorrectly?

Jay - 
One major inconsistency is the concept of not moving a patient because they aren't stable. This is not accurate.

Fiona - 
So what really should happen?

(By the way, Readers, if you want to read an OUTSTANDING article Jay wrote about flat-lining and defibrillation go here: (LINK) And you will write that scene accurately.)

Jay - 
This is a concept that is, I can only guess, derived from in-hospital care. Where you might have a patient that is very unstable and moving them could cause a recent surgical site to reopen. The patient might have internal injuries that need to self-repair before transfer, or their vital signs are so poor that they are in such a state of shock that moving them would be bad. 

The type of move we're talking about in the hospital situation is moving to another facility that is more suited to the patient's needs. You have a burn patient that needs a burn center, but their injuries need to stabilize before you can make that kind of transport to another hospital.

But in TEMS or field medicine, your patient is messed up and needs a hospital. It doesn't matter what their condition is, you will NEVER not move them because they are too unstable.

Fiona - 
So what do you do on site prior to moving them v. stabilizing en route v. letting the hospital deal with it?



GRAPHIC IMAGES WARNING - If graphic images have a negative effect on you, please scroll down past the next three photographs.

Jay - 
On site, the only thing we do before transport is fix life-threatening injuries to the best of our ability. And let me clarify, that's for a really messed up patient, medical or trauma. There are a lot of things we can do on scene and en route for a seriously injured patient, but if they need a surgeon then we need to move. 

So, take for instance a patient I had a few years ago, he was struck by a car when he ran a stop sign on his bicycle. His head and neck went into the windshield and then his body went over the car and his head/neck came out of the windshield. He was unstable with deteriorating vital signs and internal injuries to his head and chest. I did a cricothyrotomy on him (cut into his throat and put a tube in there), and then we put him in the ambulance and did everything else en route.






Practicing Cricothyrotomy on a pig's throat.




Performing the Cricothyrotomy in the Field 







Suturing Up a Wound 





Fiona - 
YIPES!

Jay - 
We may do other things on scene while we are fixing the major things, but a lot of those things aren't for stabilization, they are ancillary. If we have the time and manpower, we'll do them simultaneously.

Like IVs, everyone thinks IVs are important. They aren't all that important. They can be helpful, but in general, probably less than 1% of people have been saved because an IV was placed.
And it wasn't the IV that saved them, it was the venous access that the IV gave us in order to give the patient medication to reverse their condition.

A major change in IV therapy is that we used to dump lots of fluid into trauma patients because we thought it helped them by increasing their blood pressure. What we have found out is that we are actually making things worse by trying to get their blood pressure to a "normal" level. By doing this, we cause more bleeding because their body can't clot with the increased pressure. So now we go with permissive hypotenstion, we only give them enough fluid to get their blood pressure up to a systolic of 90 (the top number).

So we aren't taking days at the scene of the injury. We have our responders grab and go. 

Fiona - 
So no - "Push an IV STAT!"

Is it unusual that you were able to do this surgical procedure? Or do EMTs train for that as well?

Jay - 
The cric is a paramedic level skill. As TEMS, we can't operate outside of our scope of practice which is determined by the National Registry of EMS. Then, each state can make be more restrictive on the skills they allow their paramedics or EMTs to perform.

Fiona - 

Can you do the things that you learned to do on a battle field or do different medical protocol issues mean your constricted as to what you can and cannot do? 

And VERY HYPOTHETICALLY would a character choose to override law and do what he knew how to do to save a life? If yes, how much trouble would the responder get into (under the law?) 

Jay - 
Can I do the stuff I learned in the military? Yes and no. If I do, and it is outside the scope of my paramedic skills, I could lose my certification and possibly be civilly liable.

However, most states have a good Samaritan law that allows people to act to the level of their training. So if I were at the mall off duty, and not acting under the color of my authority, I could conceivably do more as a good Samaritan than I could as a civilian paramedic. However, realistically, the advanced skills I gained in the military are generally used in a hospital setting. I'm not going to perform minor surgery in the mall.

Fiona - 
What an interesting distinction - but if my kid took a bullet and we are hiding from the bad guys - you could help her with a hanger, a bottle of perfume, and a fine silk scarf, right? Meanwhile, SWAT goes in and takes down the terrorists.

Jay - 
When I moved to Massachussettes, there was a civilian paramedic in the news because he performed an emergency C-section in the field. This is WAY outside of our scope of practice. However, he had been a surgical tech Corpsman in the Navy and had done surgeries under the guidance of surgeons and of course his job was to assist in surgeries as well. If you're a good Corpsman, your docs will let you do A LOT of stuff you're not allowed to do. Anyway, the mom was full term and involved in a motor vehicle accident. She was dead on scene but the baby was still alive inside. He knew he could do the procedure, mom was dead anyway so he really couldn't mess up, and the baby would never survive the transport to the hospital while still inside. He waited too long to do it, and the baby didn't make it. He hesitated, worried about the civil outcome. He lost his cert because he did the procedure. Even if the baby had survived, he still probably would have lost his cert because he acted outside of his scope of practice.

Fiona - 
Oh, dear. That shouldn't be.

Jay - 
The other MAJOR wrong thing with medical stuff in stories (movies or books) is putting medication/needles directly into the heart. This is soooooo outdated and useless.

Fiona - 
So no Pulp Fiction adrenaline in the heart?

Jay - 
They used to think that if the heart wasn't circulating blood that you had to inject the medication directly into the heart to get it to work.

So during a code event, they would push high dose epinephrine into the heart. This doesn't do anything for several reasons. If your heart isn't moving (naturally or artificially through CPR) then the blood isn't moving. Without blood moving, medication can't go anywhere. Not to mention, without blood moving, you have no blood pressure. Without blood pressure you can't exchange gasses at the cellular level (basic physics). If you can't exchange gasses you can't metabolize medication. So without a high enough pressure, you can't do anything with the medication that is injected into your body. 

Also, you are putting a hole, albeit a small one, in the heart and that can agitate the pacemaker cells in the heart and cause other issues. And you can create a pericardial tamponade which is fluid between the heart and its protective sac, because of the hole you just put through the sac. 

NO MEDS IN THE HEART! Simply put the meds in any vein or IV access. 

No one puts needles through the neck either. 

And adrenaline is the exact same thing as epinephrine. One name is of Greek origin and the other is of Latin. Same thing. I've read in stories that one is synthetic and the other is the natural form - nope.

Fiona - 
Most excellent.

You were saying you use a lot of this technical information in your book which is very exciting - and I have you queued up as my weekend read.


Amazon Link $2.99


Can you tell us a bit about your plots? No spoilers though.

Jay - 
Plot for Extinction: An ancient race created a species of warriors to conquer other planets/systems for them. A millennium after the conquering, the current Emperor wanted to end the tyranny, but even he couldn't do it. He would be overthrown. So he devised a plan to lead an expansion colony himself to an unexplored part of the galaxy, and then cut himself off from the Empire, letting it wither without him. Then, he would come back and rebuild things the right way. His plan didn't work.

A thousand years later, humans are exploring the galaxy and come across one of the Emperor's first colony sites in our region of space. The scientists accidentally set off a distress signal to the old empire and the warriors find out that the old Emperor had lied to them, and now they are coming to claim our portion of space. 
Two special forces teams will embark on separate missions to stop the threat.


Amazon Link $2.99


Fiona - 
Very fun! I have a lot of readers here on ThrillWriting who love to read and write sci-fi. You also wrote a zombie theme?

Jay -
My second book is called "This Is Not What I Wished For..." It takes place where the zombie genre is unheard of. A boy on his fourteenth birthday has his family wiped out by what he believes to be demons. He sees his neighbors and family eaten and killed in front of him and then turn into these demons. He flees and ultimately joins with other survivors and leads them to the epicenter of the outbreak, a hospital that is really a covert government lab that accidentally allowed this foreign contagion to escape their labs.

I've only read two zombie books, World War Z and How to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse. But I love the genre and wanted to add to it. There are fighting, tactical and medical scenes. It is mostly about the children's journey - their bonding and coming of age together in this new world.

But it isn't a gore or scare fest. I wanted it to be emotional. And there is a rather large twist at the end.


Amazon Link $2.99

Fiona - 
Very interesting - I just read my first zombie books - and I loved the tactical parts of the books. 

We are at that part of the interview when I ask you the traditional ThrillWriting question: Will you please tell us the story behind your favorite scar, and if you've managed to make it this far without a scar story - or if it's just too darned embarrassing to share - then a harrowing event you survived.

Jay - 
All of my scars are non-work related. However, my most harrowing work story is when I was on patrol about ten years ago. I was behind a Circle K doing my paperwork for the evening.

A guy went into the Circle K and asked the clerk if there was a cop there. You see, that store let us use their office for doing reports and stuff. The store is in a bad part of town, and they liked our presence there. 

I usually hid behind the store when I was doing paperwork because I wanted to finish it, not talk with people.

So the clerk says that he hasn't seen one come in lately, but there might be one out back. Thanks dude.

So the guy comes around the corner and sees my car, and I see him. There is something definitely off about him. I get out of my car, so he can't approach me while I'm in a position of disadvantage.

He starts to say something to me then stops, thinks, and says, "Hey, there's something in my car I need you to see."

Immediately I picture a family chopped up in hefty bags. This guy was not right - and even someone without my experience would've been able to see that. 
So I ask him, "How about you tell me what you want me to see?"

Fiona - 
Good call

Jay - 
This goes back and forth for a little bit. I call for backup.
No one was closer than ten minutes away, Even code three (lights and sirens), which they weren't even using yet.

We end up walking around to the front of the store, and he is asking me if I'm part of the Mexican Mafia, and if he can trust me.

He talks about walking his son out to the desert, but it wasn't really his son. Then his son died. So I'm thinking he had a psychotic break and killed his son, who he thought wasn't his son, and that's what was in the car waiting for me. 

Still no back up, though I've asked them to step it up at this point.

Ultimately, he decides he's done with me and is going to leave. I can't allow that. Regardless of what's in the car, he is obviously on drugs and/or mentally incapacitated, and I can't allow him to drive and endanger the public or go kill someone after he leaves me.

Fiona - 
So what did you do?

Jay - 
I step in his way to stop him. He swings and misses. I impact push him. He moves towards a large truck parked on the side of the Circle K. For perspective, I was parked in the rear on the west side, the front is on the east side with some parking, and there is parking on the south side, that's where his truck is.

He backs towards his truck with his fists up ready to fight. I don't mind getting into a fight, but I'm also aware that no matter how confident I am in my abilities, that doesn't mean the other guy isn't good also. So I'm not ready to get into a clinch with this guy.

Fiona - 
Or he's on PCP - so your skills does't matter a fig.

Jay - 
As he backs away, he looks over his shoulder and there is a passenger in the truck, a kid about 19 or 20. The kid smiles, and I testified in court that the smile was the most chilling thing I have ever seen. It was demonic; it was pleasure and excitement. This kid was waiting for me. They were working together to lead a cop back to the truck to kill him.


Fiona - 
HOLY MOLY!

WHERE IS BACK UP? How did you get out of there?

Jay - 
The kid gets out of the truck, and I thought he was going to join the fray, and I was ready to go to my gun. No cop should ever be okay with fighting two people at the same time. It doesn't matter if they have weapons or not, that is a lethal force situation.

The kid completely changes his expression. Maybe it was because my hand went to my gun; I don't know. But he turned and took off running. Just gone. We never found him or identified him.

I then switched to pepper spray and unloaded on the guy. It didn't do anything.

He kept backing towards his vehicle, and he got in to the drivers seat and closed the door. I smashed the window and kept spraying him. He backed out about three feet then put it into drive and tried to run me over. I dodged and went back to my gun. But then he backed out of the parking lot and took off. I got his plate out over the radio, and he actually went home. 

Other units went to his house and the guy got dog bit, more pepper spray, and a bunch of other stuff.

There was a shotgun, and pistol and lots of ammo in the truck.


Fiona - 
That's a hell of a harrowing story.

Jay - 
He got five years for that, would have got more but the prosecution forgot to file a motion that allows for a greater sentence given the offense was against law enforcement.

Fiona - 
I'm glad he's off the streets! 

Jay, thank you so much for spending the time with us and teaching us so much.

And a big thank you to you writers too for stopping by. If you have any questions or comments please post them below - they are moderated to protect from SPAM so I'll get them up ASAP. Also, if you find this blog to be helpful, please take a moment to help spread the word. I've put some social media buttons below. Happy plotting.

Cheers,
Fiona

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Police Chief: Information for Writers with Chief Scott Silverii



Chief Scott Silverii, PhD
Fiona - 
Today on ThrillWriting, I'm very pleased to introduce you to a friend and fellow writer, Dr. Scott Silverii.
Dr. Silverii serves as the Chief of Police in the southern Louisiana city of Thibodaux in Lafourche Parish. There, he enjoys the honor of public service. His twenty-four plus years in policing provides the experience and vision to believe there is always a way to help others. 16 of those years were spent in policing's special operations groups with thousands of undercover narcotics and SWAT missions.

His passion for public service flourished while growing up in the heart of Cajun Country, leading a life seasoned by the Mardi Gras, hurricanes, humidity, and crawfish etouffe.


Hi, Chief. Can you start by telling us about how you got involved in writing both your non-fiction and your fiction works?

Chief Silverii -
I began my non-fiction writing once I completed my PhD in Anthropology from the University of New Orleans. I self-published my dissertation - A Darker Shade of Blue, and then sold an extended manuscript to the Taylor & Francis Group where it was published by CRC Press - Cop Culture: Why Good Cops Go Bad Link 


Last year, Lee Lofland invited me to teach at Writers' Police Academy (WPA) and introduced me to the amazing world of writers. I tried my hand at crime fiction as a way to decompress from the years of grad school. I loved the challenge of transitioning from the formal, rigid academy rules and also the narrative police reports - to the descriptive content of mystery fiction. Have you ever heard, "Show. Don't tell?" Ha! - I have, plenty of times.

And that's where I had the pleasure of meeting you and becoming friends. 



(This is a LINK to a ThrillWriting article about the concept of Sheepdogs and Dr. Silverii's doctoral thesis)

Fiona -
One of the things that you talked about in one of the WPA classes was your time doing SWAT duty after Katrina. Do you think that that experience has helped you in your position as Police Chief?


Scott Silverii working a SWAT detail during the aftermath of Katrina


Chief Silverii -
Yes, my 16 years in SWAT taught me more about conflict and crisis resolution than any other experience I've had. The Katrina deployment taught me the value of compassion under extreme conflict. The ability to combine strategic functions measured by compassionate consideration helped shape the vision for leading my agency as their Chief of Police.



Fiona - 
Can you tell us a little bit about the scope of your position? As I keep up with you from day to day, it seems you're stirring a lot of pots.

Chief Silverii - 

Chief Silverii with his son
Definitely - First and most importantly, I'm a dad. All else occupies crevasses between our time together. 

As the city's Chief of Police, I'm solely responsible for every function of the agency. Being a full-service provider includes activities ranging from school crossing guard, animal control, trustee work crews to patrol officers, detectives, academy training to SWAT and narcotics ops. 






Of course, my time participating as a part of those assignments are limited. My primary duties include providing a crystal clear direction for progressing the agency. Included in that is the training, promotion, staffing and all the fun administrative things. 



I also serve as an ambassador for the city and love meeting people in our city. Related to my position, I also serve as a subject matter expert in the analysis and application of data and mapping to increase officer effectiveness in reducing social harms. Working smarter rather than harder. 

I was named as an Executive Fellow for the Police Foundation - that was very exciting.

Fiona - 
Congratulations, Chief, that's wonderful. 


With your PhD in anthropology, do you develop or refine the ongoing training of your dept.?

Chief Silverii
I look at the culture of policing from a bigger perspective. I try to incorporate theoretical principles with practical application. Sometimes that results in revised training. Other times, it's reflected in policy initiatives such as social-norming or employee engagement. 

Cop culture is a tough environment - the dynamics involved in being "socialized" are complex and a mastery of those elements are critical for effecting sustained change.

Fiona - 
Globally rather than specific to you and your department, in speaking with your peers, what are some of the common issues that arise that might create tensions and difficulties in the departments? What about between LE (law enforcement) and the public?

Chief Silverii - 
The position of Chief is to develop, share, and ensure a clear vision of public safety. Unfortunately, not every officer will share that vision. Cops are like anyone else where decisions and consequences are involved. It's vital that they follow policy and approved practices. 

Tension is at the highest when disciplinary action is assigned. Chiefs must find the balance between being friendly with the troops yet not being their friend. That's a huge challenge and often gets blurred. Also, being the one giving promotions, assignments, preferred schedules, etc. a chief will never make everyone happy - it can be a lonely duty, but it's a calling to serve and another to lead.

Fiona - 
One of the questions I traditionally like to ask is: In media and books you've come across characters who do your job. What stereotypes are incorrect? What do you see consistently 
mis-written, what would you like to see done differently in portrayals of Chiefs?

Flashbang and Entrance Formation



Chief Silverii- 
Oh goodness - running the span. 


While I'd like to say that portraying the hapless and the corrupt Chief is incorrect, the truth is - it takes all kinds. I've known both extremes and all in-between. 

By and large, most Chiefs are committed career law men who are often limited in demonstrating their full potential by their political appointments by a mayor, council or city administrator. 

Chiefs are not typically elected, but are appointed by elected officials. It would be rare if they operate autonomously, and that contributes to the national average tenure of a Chief is about 2.3 years in an agency. 

I'm biased of course, but I'd love to see depth written - the way a Chief grieves over the loss of a person in their city. Lots of time in media/books the chief is a fat-cat in a suit focused on their next political move or appointment. The reality is, Chiefs are always focused on their staff and how to improve their working conditions. It doesn't make for sexy TV, but a Chief takes as much pride in their detectives busting a case as they do ordering a new fleet of cars for the officers.

Fiona - 
My other traditional question is about the story behind your favorite scar.

Chief Silverii- 
Favorite scar on me, or that I left on a bad guy?

Fiona - 
YES!

Chief Silverii - 

Kidding.

My right palm is filleted from the tip of ring finger to below the wrist. I was the Drug Task Force Commander during an undercover op. The agent gave the bust, and this jacked up drug dealer high on a non-natural product charged at me. After battling one-on-one in an isolated field for everything from his escape to my weapons, officers arrived. End result - he went to the clink and I went to the ER - surgery followed with minimum loss of hand use.

Fiona - 

What am I not asking you, but I should? Is there an aspect of your job that you'd like to expand upon?

Chief Silverii- 
Yes, I'm trying to promote continuing education for officers. I've benefited from advanced degrees and applied them to the job. It's actually so complex, but too many officers get trapped into believing that it's all about arresting people. We cannot arrest ourselves out of the social ills plaguing our country. I'd like to see victim advocacy and alternative methods of handling citizen complaints 
explored rather than tossing everyone in jail.


Fiona - 
Amazon Link 99 cents
I agree whole-heartedly, thank you. You just came out with a short story set in your part of the world. Can you tell us about your project?

Chief Silverii- 
You introduced me to writing the short story for a contest. I wrote, then edited and then cut to meet a super concise word count. I loved the discipline and intensity of the short story. I wanted to create a continuing series of episodes based on the same characters and location. I'm so passionate about Cajun Country and law enforcement, that

I combined the
two.

This series spun from the characters
in my competition short story and has
grown into a multi-part adventure that
I'm continuing to develop with each
episode. 


It's also a great way to hone my Show/Don't Tell skills. The protagonist - Sheriff James Walker is true blue and committed to protecting the citizens of his parish. What I'm loving is the depth of conflict, crisis and resolution he deals with daily - all the while leading an agency sworn to protect the public. His scars (in & out) make him human and identifiable.
Amazon Link 99 cents




Fiona - 
And reading them will probably be a great learning tool for my fellow crime writers in that you know your
stuff backwards and forwards. We've talked
a bit about police culture, what about
writers' culture are you bridging the two pretty easily?


Chief Silverii - 
The last year has been so rewarding through the relationships I've developed with writers. It's an
honor to consult with so many
who are committed to portraying
the cop life, culture, procedure
and practices with laser accuracy. 
enjoy consulting on selected
projects and manuscripts; it gives
me the opportunity to meet new
people and learn new skills in the
writing craft.

Amazon Link 99 cents
Fiona - 
Thank you so much for spending this time with us. What
are you up to this evening?

Chief Silverii- 
It's time to eat crawfish stew
Fiona - 
Well, enjoy! 

A big thank you to my readers for stopping by. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below. They will post asap, but they are moderated so you don't have to wade through spam.

Also, you can connect with Chief Silverii at this LINK

Thank you so much for stopping by. And thank you for your support. When you buy my books, you make it possible for me to continue to bring you helpful articles and keep ThrillWriting free and accessible to all.