Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Writers' Police Academy - Day 2 (Part 2) - Women in Law Enforcement, Murder Typology, Forensic Anthropolgy

What I learned at Writers' Police Academy:

Women in Law Enforcement (Instructor: Sgt. Catherine Netter, Guilford County Sheriff's Department)
  • In the U.S. women have served in law enforcement since the late 19th century.
  • Female officers are allowed to pat down and supervise male prisoners, however male officers are not allowed to do the same with female prisoners.
  • Dress attire still geared to men: Ties, bulletproof vests (not designed with breasts in mind) and heavy shoes.
  • "Jackets" = files.
  • Judges are not okay with detectives using P.O.'s (Parole Officers) to do warrantless searches on parolees.

Murder Typology (Instructor: Dr. Katherine Ramsland)
Dr. Ramsland is a prominent forensic psychologist and the prolific author of more than fifty books covering forensics, psychology and the paranormal.  The session covered what she described as "extreme offenders" - serial, mass and spree killers.
  • Historically the definition of a serial killer was at least three offenses at three different locations, with "cooling off" periods between murders.  However, the problem is that not all serial killers fit this description - John Wayne Gacy fit the multiple offenses and cooling off periods, but committed his offenses in one place, his home.  Examples of serial killers include Gacy, Ted Bundy, Richard Ramirez and Jeffrey Dahmer.
  • The cooling off period can be any length of time (hours/months/years). 
  • 15-20% of serial killers have partners or another person who is complicit.  Examples: The Hillside Strangler (Kenneth Bianchi and Angelo Buono), Karla Homolka/Paul Bernardo.
  • Contrary to popular belief, some serial killers can stop on their own.  Dennis Rader, the BTK Killer, stopped when the state of Kansas (where he lived and killed) reinstated the death penalty in 1994.
  • While serial killers frequently consider themselves to be of superior intelligence, studies have shown they are generally no more or less intelligent than the general population.
  • The most common cause for a mass killing is anger/retaliation.  They carry a grudge (sometimes for years) until something causes them to snap. School shooters are usually bullied or feel like outcasts.
  • The definition of spree killing (an extension of mass killing) is a minimum of three victims, spread out geographically, over a period of time.  Examples: Christopher Dorner, Charles Starkweather and Andrew Cunanan.

Forensic Anthropology: From Crime Lab to Crime Fiction (Instructor: Dr. Kathy Reichs)
Dr. Reichs is a world renowned forensic anthropologist who has participated in the recovery of remains at Ground Zero after 9/11 and in the exhumation of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. She is the author of the Temperance Brennan novels, which were the basis for the Fox television series Bones.  She is also the owner of an awesome sense of humor.  Her presentation was about her forensics work and how she takes lab experiences and spins them into fictional stories, starting with real cases then asking, "What if?"
  • A forensic anthropologist is called in when - for whatever reason - a body cannot be autopsied normally.
  • The primary questions for a forensic anthropologist are: 1)Are the remains human?  2)When did the individual die?  3)Who is the individual?  4)What was the manner of death?  5)What happened after the death?
  • The biographic profile will include sex, age, height and ethnicity.  This information is given to police, who will go through missing persons reports and take it from there.
  • Skulls help determine ethnicity (the big three are Negroid, Mongoloid/Asian and Caucasian.  Pelvic bones help determine sex.
  • The younger the deceased, the easier it is for her to determine age.  In children she can ID age plus/minus a year or two.  With adults the plus minus can be as much as ten to fifteen years.
  • Reasons a perp will dismember a body: Packaging, moving, prevention of identification.
  • During the second season of Bones, producers offered her a chance to appear on the show.  She was about to turn them down when she was told David Duchovny would be directing the episode.  She took the role.
  • When Mozart was exhumed, he was found to have sheet music and a pen with him, prompting Reichs to quip, "Mozart was decomposing."

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