Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Five Minute Interview: Local Police Department

Writing a mystery novel usually involves research. My visit to the local police department yielded useful information and good revisions. I’ll recount the interview below. You can judge when and how you need to contact your local law enforcement for revisions. My choice was to wait until the last possible moment after I had finished the writing. I’m glad I did. It meant I did the research, the creative work, the hard work of writing. My need was for 70K words, and contacting the local resource boosted my word count to reach the goal!

You may choose to consult resources first and avoid any major re-writing. However, as I said, I completed 99% of my mystery novel before going to a local resource.

The question came up from one of my mentors about collecting fingerprints: when is collecting illegal search and seizure?

Time: five minutes to closing time at the Cary Police Department. I located the last person in the office before closing time. The stand-up interview was perfect: informative and brief. We got down to the question: can I have my protagonist in my novel throw a party for the purpose of collecting fingerprints from the glassware? The answer is yes.

If you attend an event in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina, and your wineglass or cigarette stub is thrown away, it’s no longer your private property. It’s public property. The police can collect it for DNA identification. Once garbage is set out at the curb for collection, it’s public property.

So I was correct all along. Many thanks to the Cary Police Department for the five minutes at closing time.

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