Laura Haley-McNeil

11/12/17, Research

Hello, Everyone!

Here we are in the middle of November and inching closer to the holidays. I’m a procrastinator when it comes to Christmas shopping. It used to be so easy with just a few gifts to buy. I could easily save my shopping spree until Christmas Eve and finish it before I went to my mother’s house to celebrate her birthday with the rest of the family. How simple was that? My Christmas shopping isn’t simple anymore. With the weddings and the babies arriving, new family members are added every year. I’m working on the list I should’ve started last January. I love shopping for the children. Clothes and toys are so cute, and I love to see the looks on the children’s faces when they open their packages. That’s the greatest gift of all.

I’m also busy with 3 books. Two are in the editing stages and one is in the developmental stage. With each book comes research, but researching on the internet is so much simpler than having to go to the library or call experts. Now I can pull up a video on and easily find a video that would explain how something is done, but sometimes the research is fun and exciting and I have a blast with that sort of research. Many counties and cities offer citizen academies. If you’re unfamiliar with these academies, contact your local police or sheriff departments. Our fire department and the district attorney’s office also offer these academies. I receive newsletters from these departments and learned about these offerings through these communications. I understand the FBI also offers a course, but have yet to find an enrollment option.

When I took the course with the sheriff’s department, we spent a day at a shooting range and walking through a makeshift building with our toy guns looking for bad guys. Another day, we went to the driving school. We rode in a sheriff’s car with a deputy and chased another car. The deputy tapped the other car’s bumper and forced it off the road. We also turned a few 360s. I’m fortunate in that I don’t get motion sickness. I had a blast. It was better than any amusement park ride. We also pulled a car over, this was practice, not a real incident, and parked behind the car then got out and walked to the driver’s window of the other car. We were sure to press our hands on the rear of the other car—just like in the movies. The deputies were in the car we pulled over and sometimes they pretended to be drunk. When they thought we weren’t paying attention, they’d level their toy guns and us and BANG! BANG! we were dead. Another day we watched how the police dogs track down bad guys. You don’t want one of those dogs to attack you. They love their jobs and are very good at it.

With the fire department, the most fun day for me was climbing the stairs of a 3 story building and then repelling down the side of the building. I was exhausted by the end of the day, but it was worth it. We also tore apart old cars with gigantic cutters and crawled through a mock building that was on fire and searched all the rooms to make sure no one was trapped inside the building. I was so hoping we could ride in the fire truck, but the opportunity never arose. I’ll have to take that class again.

When I attended the district attorney’s class, we didn’t go anywhere. We sat in the classroom and people talked to us. That was interesting. Several of the speakers, lawyers, prosecutors and detectives, were very entertaining and told wonderful stories.

I know that the Writers’ Academy offers these classes, but they are expensive. If you want to learn a few things about these departments for free, but not really, because your tax dollars pay for these classes, I would suggest contacting these departments and asking if they offer these classes. And if you find out how to attend an FBI class, please share. That would be the most interesting class of all.

Have a wonderful, safe and happy week, and don’t be a procrastinator. Finish that Christmas and holiday shopping now!