21 February 2022

Been Arrested Lately?

They say write what you know.


How many of you mystery writers have killed someone? Raise your hand. I'll wait.


How many of you have ever been arrested? Raise your hands. Yeah. A number of you. For committing a crime? Or for joining in a protest or some juvie joy riding? Ok. I won't pry for details. Your secret is still safe.

I'm like many of you. I've never been arrested. I've never even come close.

Oh, okay. I'll confess. I was arrested once. I was asked for my driver's license, car registration and insurance, by this blonde female officer. I handed all the paperwork over. Next thing I knew, she told me to get out of the car, walk slowly to the rear of the vehicle then place my hands on the trunk of the car.

As I'm asking what I had done. She said there was a warrant out for me. I kept telling her she'd made a mistake. That I'd done nothing wrong. She paid no attention. When we reached the back of car, she placed her handcuffs on me and clicked them tight. I immediately began cursing her out. Calling her every obscene name in the book. You never heard such a potty mouth on a lady. She didn't answer, but she loosened the cuffs one click.

She began reciting the Miranda warning as she headed me over to a police car. I'm still cussing like a sailor. She covered my head with her hand and pushed me into the back seat.

Once inside I saw a male officer step out of another police car. He started talking to the officer who had arrested me. I couldn't hear what he was saying, but it looked like he was berating her.

A couple minutes later  the male officer came over and opened the door. I handed the astonished Training Officer the handcuffs. It only took me a couple of minutes to slip out of them because I have small hands and wrists.

You see, my arrest had been at the Police Academy Training facility. As an alum of the Citizen's Police Academy, we periodically help the new cadets by "role playing."

My group assignment was to be arrested, cuffed and put in the police car by the cadet. I also was supposed to cuss and yell at this female cadet. The TO wanted to know how she would react.  She had remained cool and calm.

But now he repreminded her for loosening the cuffs.  She was also told NOT to say anything about that to the other cadets.

I was arrested a couple more times that day.  No one else left any play in the cuffs. I found out later the word about "loosening the cuffs" had indeed been passed around.

Since that time, about twenty odd years ago, I've had pleasant relationships with law enforcement. That is until two weeks ago at 5:41AM on a Monday.

I was rudely awakened by loud knocking on my front door. I'd spent Sunday evening watching 5 episodes of the new REACHER series on Amazon Prime and it was after 2 am when I took my ambien, went to bed, and zonked.

When the banging started I thought I must be dreaming. Nope, they kept knocking and then ringing my doorbell. It was real. And certainly mystifying.

Who in the world would be so rude? I wondered as I noticed the time, got up and pulled on my robe. However, I had the robe inside out. So in my short nighty and trying to snap the front of my inside out robe, I stumbed down the hall. The persistent knocking and doorbell ringing continued. I yelled "I'm coming!"

Then I hear a male voice, "POLICE!"

I was still trying to snap my wrong side out robe and thinking to myself, this had better be good.

I could see red and blue lights flashing through the half pane of glazed glass, lighting up my hallway and living room. I flipped on the porch light and saw a  uniformed officer standing there.
I unlocked and opened the door, doing the best I could to hold my robe closed.

"Are you okay, ma'am?" The officer asked.

"Yes. I'm fine."

"Great," he says. "We had a call that a lady was in trouble, but we didn't have a complete address."

 As he turned, I heard, "Sorry to have awakened you, ma'am."

"It's okay." I mumbled.  I closed and locked the door and staggered back to bed.

I still to this day don't know what the whole deal was. I asked politely in a message on our police department FB page. The next day the answer back was to talk to the police chief in person. He wasn't available when I called the next day and I haven't had a chance to stop by the police station.

Now I know a little of how a person might feel being served a felony warrant in the wee hours of the morning.

Now plot lines are also running through my head for a story.
  1. A search for a murderer hiding in my back yard?
  2. A search discovers a young dead woman left on my side porch?
  3. My ex-husband's found murdered and I have no idea where I was whole the evening before the police woke me up.
Write what you know, they say. Killed anyone lately?


  1. Writing about what you know isn't necessarily the same as writing about what you've experienced firsthand. Keeping your eyes and ears open can also be very helpful, just as knowing what the people are like and discover the village parallels (Miss Marple), as it were.

    1. By the way, good and entertaining post, Jan Grape!

    2. Thank you, Anne. You're exactly right. Something I did for many years and for many stories. Not only my experiences but also doing the
      research to make a story more believable. Glad you enjoyed the posts. I had fun writing it.

  2. who knew there were volunteers that help train police. I sense a mystery plot there!

    1. Janice, my second book DARK BLUE DEATH with policewoman, Zoe Barrow has the Police Adademy and CPAAA as the setting. Book is also dedicated to Citizen's Police Academy Alummi Asso. The Austin program was designed to start and educate citizen's neighborhood watch programs. I applied citing my intrest as a mystery writer and wanting to better understand APD. I was accepted and attended the program. We met for 4 hours once a wweek for 10 weeks. Classes ranged from firearms to robbery/homicide and everything in between. Our instructors were officers who were generally the head of each department. My policewoman Zoe, was born there. Previously I had only written Private Eye or amateur sleuths. Only after graduation were we allowed to participate in "role play." My late husband also took the training as we owned a mystery bookstore and had been
      robbed and wanted to be on neighborhood watch of our strip mall area. We both always enjoyed the "role play" times. I don't know if APD does the training sessions anymore. But a small Police Dept near me is planning their 2nd CPA classes this spring.

  3. Great post! A few years ago, Allan and I were woken up by the cops in the middle of the night because there'd been a drive-by shooting and they wanted to make sure we were alive, unharmed, and not hiding anyone. I've also had the SWAT team at my neighbor's house, which was popcorn material to me. Etc., etc., etc.
    The whole thing is like Anne says - keep your eyes & ears and imagination open, and you can weave all kinds of stories from little fragments that go on all around you.

  4. Eve, wow. You've had some unique experiences to draw from.
    When I used to be on panels at mystety cons invaribly someone would ask,"Where do you get your ideas." My standard answer was "Ideas are in the air. Whenever I need one, I reach up and pull one down." And that's the truth.

  5. Never been arrested even though I've marched at the White House beginning when Nixon was president, & done other things that were against the law.

    1. Elizabeth, glad to know you've gotten away with a thing or two. I haven't marched but about ten years ago. I did join a big rally in Austin at the capitol. Rally for women's right to choose. Again always good research material. Thanks for commenting.

  6. Eve, thanks for commenting and sharing. All is grist for the mill, right?

  7. Jan, absolutely - it's almost impossible for art to be more outlandish than life!

  8. Good article, Jan, informative and fun. At 5:41 in the morning, I'd be cussing.

    That new Reacher guy is pretty good, isn't he? Thanks, Jan.

  9. Thanks, Leigh. I was just too zonked to even cuss to myself.
    Yes, the new Reacher series is great. Alan Ritcher is absolutely perfect in the role. They've already signed him for Season 2 and to actually have a Season 2. I had to reread the book as it had been so many years since I'd read it. All the other characters were great also.

  10. My son used to volunteer at the Citizen's Police Academy in our city when he was a teenager and a member of the Police Explorers. He would happily come home covered in bruises from rubber bullets everywhere that his protective gear didn't cover. He played the bad guy in a shoot/don't shoot scenario that the citizens were put through to show them what the police are up against.


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