Thursday, September 11, 2014

Honoring our First Responders

Hi everyone, Sandra Orchard here. This past weekend, I had the privilege of attending the Writers’ Police Academy and September 11th is such an appropriate day to share a little about it with you. 

The anniversary of the bombing of the Twin Towers is an iconic reminder to us of how First Responders run toward danger when everyone else is running the other way. 

My Nov release, Identity Withheld features a firefighter hero

It’s probably why we Love Inspired writers so often like to portray them as the heroes or heroines of our books, especially our suspense books. 

My 2015 release, features a paramedic heroine
At the academy, we experienced firsthand the challenge of the split second decisions First Responders often have to make. It was telling to me that the biggest fear of many of the police officers polled was that of a traffic stop going bad. 

As they explained, they have no idea who or what is in the car when they pull it over.

The bad guy is behind the officer with a gun to his head
A telling reminder of this came home to one participant who was fortunate to be able to join an officer in a night-time ridealong. At a traffic stop, she’d noticed that the officer touched the rear of the car before going to the driver’s window, and when backup joined him, because circumstances warranted an arrest, the second officer who arrived also touched the car. 

When she asked the officer about it later, he said, because if he shot me and drove off, when they find the car, his prints will help prove it was at the scene of the crime. 

Could you imagine having that thought run through your head however many times a night you’re required to pull over a car that’s driving erratically on the road? 

As a romantic suspense writer, I especially appreciated how open and honest many of the seasoned officers were about the psychological and relationship challenges of the job. For a rookie, it can be a more than a little heady and tempting to have “badge bunnies” seek you out or to have a good-looking woman offer you her phone number as thanks for not giving her that speeding ticket. 

See what a little sweet talk can do ;)

For female officers, having a relationship with a civilian is a challenge. The men get razzed for dating a woman who can beat him up or who carries a gun…as you can imagine. 

That is only a small taste of all we learned and experienced. Check out more pics on my blog: and next Monday, on my blog, I will share self-protection/defense tips for women that we learned. Tips every women should know. Be sure to pop by and read it, next Monday, and share with your loved ones.


  1. I so wish I could have gone. What great gems you received. So, are you writing a book right now that you can use the gems in?

  2. Yes, I'm polishing a story with a paramedic heroine so I verified a number of facts for it and brainstormed some alternatives with several officers, including bomb expert. ;) And I'm in the planning stages of a new series for Revell and gleaned a number of good ideas for scenes for it.

  3. Sounds like an interesting class, Sandra. I had the privilege of doing the Citizen's Police Academy with our local police force several years and I learned SO much. Always interesting to that behind-the-scenes glimpse into a world most of us aren't familiar with.

  4. Fascinating. It sounds like you picked up some wonderful tips to add to your stories. I'm making a note to check out your blog next Monday.

  5. What fun and how much of that will you be able to put into your writing.

  6. Mindy, that's great. Our provincial police here do a similar thing, but it was too long a time commitment for me to entertain at the time.

    Thanks, Christine!

    Leann, this is the second time I've attended and I used a lot from my first experience in my subsequent writing. It's not just getting facts straight, but gaining a better understanding of the psyche of first responders.

  7. Sounds like an exciting adventure, Sandra! I'm glad you didn't have to stay handcuffed. ;)
    Hugs, Patti Jo

  8. Sandra,
    Wasn't the WPA wonderful! I learned so much. Hope to attend next year.

    Love your pics. I didn't know about touching the car during a traffic stop. So many little facts that can make a work of fiction seem so real!

  9. How fun! I want to do this someday even if I don't write suspense. :)

  10. Sandra, getting the in the minds of those cops and first responders is a good reason to go again. I used to have a police friend, an evidence detective, set up the scene and ask him how he'd do it. I learned so much.


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