Author Carolyn Arnold with Stiles PD Badge Whatever your taste in mysteries, it's covered...and more.
Author Carolyn Arnold holding a Stiles Police Detective badge and an image of police tape with a blurred out police car in the background

An Inside Look at Being a Police Officer…

by | Jul 20, 2016 | Brandon Fisher FBI Series, Detective Madison Knight Series, Research | 2 comments

My books have been praised by law enforcement, and having that respect is an honor—and a responsibility that I take very seriously. With every book, I do whatever I can to ensure that police procedure is followed accurately. While I do my due diligence when it comes to research, I have been blessed with contacts who either serve—or who have served—in law enforcement. When I can’t find an answer or I’m not sure about procedures, they patiently answer my questions. Some have even read entire manuscripts when there is a lot of procedure to ensure that I have everything right or they point out things to adjust. They do this because they are selfless and they want to see police procedural mysteries mirror real life.

So when I found out about the police department in my city holding a Citizen’s Academy where I would be afforded an inside look at their operations, I had to apply. My husband, George, applied along with me, and out of the hundreds of applicants, we both got into the class along with twenty-one other people from the community. It was the 35th class held, and the course covered 17 divisions over 10 weeks. And what an experience!!

We touched guns and equipment from various units, including riot control.

We were taken to the gun range and fired rounds from a Glock.

We wore bulletproof vests and became a part of the action when we took ride-alongs.

We got a behind-the-scenes look at a high-profile murder case and met a Crown Prosecutor.

We met ERS and got to see a lot of their fancy weapons.

We got an appreciation for all that the communications department does and saw inside the command center vehicle—something most of us would only see in movies or on TV.

We met Tao from K-9 and Jake from Guns and Drugs.

We wielded a radar gun.

We even got to smell drugs—if we wanted to. (I chose to pass on this option.)

And so much more!

What stood out to me was the officers’ sincere love for the community and their teamwork. Each unit—and even officers within those units—have different skill sets they bring to the table. Everyone respects each other for their unique abilities.

My ride-along warrants a post all its own. Let’s just say there was a dead body… My quick takeaways from that experience was how effective adrenaline can be. In the moment, I was focused and even got to play detective, but later that night, it hit: I had spent hours with a dead body. The thought nauseated me and as more time passed, I found that I was weepy. I couldn’t imagine going back into the field the next day and facing a similar—or worse—situation.

As a crime author, the Citizen’s Academy was a priceless opportunity! It allows me to go beyond textbook education and what I’ve learned through my contacts. I can pull from what I’ve experienced and picked up on from being around officers firsthand… The human side of policing. This will only serve to strengthen and add even more realism to my future books.

Photographs from the Citizen’s Academy

What’s coming next week…

Wednesday, July 27th, I will be interviewing real life police officer, Detective Stacy Eaton. You won’t want to miss this one.

“In 1999, I was going through a very mid-life crisis, I was only 29 at the time. And I was trying to figure out exactly what I wanted out of life, and where I wanted to go. I was watching the news one night and there was a segment on how the State Police were recruiting women, and about how important women were to the law enforcement field. As I watched it, I was like, HEY! I could do that.  So I did.

For 9 months in 2000, I…”

To find out more about Stacy and her amazing life journey, you’ll have to check back next week to read the full interview.

A hero has fallen, and hard-edged detective Madison Knight will stop at nothing short of finding justice—even if it means risking her own life.

Releasing 9.29.16


  1. Sue Barr

    I’m so glad you took advantage of the Citizen’s Academy. I knew it would be a blast!
    Best of luck, Carolyn. You owe me a coffee…. *wink* *wink*

    • Carolyn Arnold

      Oh, that it was! I’d love to meet for coffee and catch up. 🙂


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