- Paperback: 400 pages
- Publisher: Writer's Digest Books; 1 edition (August 8, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1582974551
- ISBN-13: 978-1582974552
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 95 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #163,670 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Police Procedure & Investigation: A Guide for Writers (Howdunit) 1st Edition
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Lee Lofland's Police Police Procedure & Investigation reads like a thriller. It's every crime writer's indispensable reference--packed with the kind of information and insider knowledge that make the police procedure in crime fiction feel authentic. -- Hallie Ephron, Edgar-nominated novelist and author of Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel
Police Procedure & Investigation is an invaluable tool for writers of mystery fiction. -- J.A. Jance, New York Times best-selling mystery author
This book is a zinger! Police Procedure & Investigation is packed with all-you-need-to-know detail, yet it reads like a best-selling thriller. I know it's a "Guide for Writers," but I think anyone interested in the world of law enforcement should get a copy. Read it on the beach, read it on the train, read it on your way to a murder scene. -- Jeffery Deaver, author of The Bone Collector and The Sleeping Doll
About the Author
With a career in law enforcement that spanned nearly two decades, Lee Lofland (leelofland.com) is a nationally acclaimed expert on police procedures and crime scene investigations. He consults for many best-selling authors, and is a regular speaker at writers conferences, including the Left Coast Crime Conference, Pennwriters Conference, Deadly Ink, and Willamette Writers Conference. He is also the host and director of the Writers' Police Academy, an event where writers learn realism by attending an actual police academy.
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The book would have been a lot more helpful if some of that abstract information were more effectively paired with personal stories or hypothetical situations. It's important to know what type of equipment the police use, but it's more important we understand an officer's daily duties and relationship within a department. What does a typical detective's bullpen look like? What's a typical day in the "office" for a detective vs. a patrol officer? What's the typical relationship between the different ranks and the chief/sheriff? One of the challenges is that Lofland is trying to comprehensively cover ALL police departments, which is virtually impossible without writing a dictionary-sized book. More personal anecdotes and stories from real policemen and women would have been much more helpful.
I found the most compelling and helpful areas where Lofland goes into detail about his experience on the force, but they're far too rare, and they sometimes feel like the author is trying too hard to sound like a cliche crime writer than provide helpful details for other writers, which comes off as slightly self-congratulatory and a little egocentric. I forgave those areas, though, because it shows that the author has a passion for crime writing, despite the execution.
I don't want to trash the book, though. Lofland deserves credit for this extensively researched beast. He just needed to spend more time figuring out what information writers need when researching a character and their job.
Want to know how a cop becomes a detective? ...how much of the average C.S.I. episode is based on reality? ...the fine points of fingerprinting and DNA testing? ...what a body looks like after an autopsy? ...what it's really like inside a prison? These questions don't even scratch the surface of what's inside this treasure trove of information.
From arrest and search procedures to courts and the legal process, this book will help you write a book that crackles with the authenticity of accurate police procedure and investigation knowledge. Four appendices provide a glossary of terms, a listing and explanation of Police 10 Codes (now I know more than just "10-4"!), drug quantity tables, and a federal sentencing table.
I can only imagine the hours I will save over the years by having this book on my reference shelf.
I also wouldn't mind doing his Writer's Police Academy course but that's a story for another day.
Highly recommend to anyone writing crime stories or who has an interest in law enforcement and crime investigation.
If you are looking to research America's police system in its present form today, then yes, this will give you what you need to know.
But if you're looking at police systems examined beyond America or even any point of history outside of present day, this is not the book to use. Look elsewhere.
The only issue with this book is that, since technology has changed police procedures dramatically in the past few years, the techniques may be somewhat dated. The principles are still there, but the actual physical process may have changed. Digital fingerprint technology is an example, replacing almost all standard printing techniques. But these shortcomings are not a detriment to the book, just an area where an author may need to do some follow-up research. Which they should be doing anyway.
If you write in crime, mystery, thrillers or even many romance and drama genres, this is a reference work that should be on your bookshelf. Or electronic reader. Technology hasn't just changed police procedures...