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Hookers on Hooker Street

Before we head into today’s post, don’t forget to sign up for the ENLR quarterly newsletter. Click HERE. Thanks! Now on to today’s guest post. – Cyndi

Recently I was chatting with a friend about her ride along with her local police department. When she got to the hookers on Hooker Street, I laughed at the irony and told her that she had to come over here and retell the story. Storytelling is second nature for Melanie Atkins. She’s a multi-published author with a slew of outstanding reviews about her work. She a fan of crime drama and an avid reader. Writing is more than an escape for her–it’s a way of life. She grew up in the Deep South listening to tall tales and penning stories about her cats. Now she write gripping stories of love, suspense and mystery with the help of her futty little feline muses. So without further ado, take it away, Melanie!

“Put your hands up! Put your hands up!” three Jackson Police Officers shouted as they bolted from their patrol cars. Brandishing 9mm Glocks, they quickly surrounded a dark green Acura Legend hidden deep in the shadows on a vacant lot at the corner of Hooker and Willow Streets in Precinct 2.

The car was occupied by four known prostitutes. Yep, that’s right. Four hookers hiding on Hooker Street. Oh, the irony. All but one of them immediately put up their hands. The woman on the front passenger side stuffed something beneath her seat.

“Lemme see your hands,” one of the officers ordered, aiming his weapon in her direction. This time, the woman obeyed.

One of the officers called dispatch with the car’s tag number. “Carjacked!” he reported triumphantly. “This one was taken at gunpoint Saturday in west Jackson.”

He and the other officers ordered the women out of the car, secured their wrists with plastic tie-wrap cuffs, and separated them. One was put into the back seat of the cruiser in which I sat, totally awed by the real-life scenario playing out in front of me.

The girl started to cry and bang her head on the side window.  “I’m only nineteen. Tell that man to come back over here. I’ll tell him everything. Everything!”

I’m sure my mouth was wide open, but I didn’t say a word. I simply sat back and watched the officers search the Acura. One dug under the front passenger seat and pulled out a brown paper sack, from which he extracted two small zipper bags. He brought the packages over to me and illuminated their contents with his Maglite.

“Crack cocaine,” he said. “And a dime bag of pot — meaning it cost ten bucks.”

My eyes widened. Having been raised in a vacuum, I’d never seen real drugs before. The crack rock was smaller than my thumbnail.

The girl in the backseat of the car said, “That ain’t my dope. No, sir. It ain’t mine. I didn’t have nuthin’ to do with no drugs.”

A female officer was called to the scene to pat down all four women, and the male officers searched their purses. They found no more dope.

After waiting for a tow truck to impound the car, we took the women downtown to meet detectives with the Violent Crimes Task Force.

This was business as usual for the Precinct 2 officers, but I was amazed at having seen a real bust first hand. I was there thanks to the Jackson Police Department’s Citizen’s Police Academy, a real boon to anyone researching law enforcement for a book.

In addition to the ride along in Precinct 2, I also rode with an offier in Precinct 1 — but that evening wasn’t nearly as exciting. My favorite part was chasing a speeder down Woody Drive, and the irony of that certainly wasn’t lost on me — the queen of the lead foot parade.

The CPA (i.e. Citizen Police Academy) lasted ten evenings. We learned about everything from crime prevention to domestic violence, heard from detectives in Robbery/Homicide, House Burglary, Auto Theft, Juvenile Detention, and Narcotics, and visited the Public Safety Communications Center, where we listened in on police dispatchers and operators taking 911 calls. We also had a session on forensics with the Crime Scene Investigation Unit.

My favorite session, other than the Precinct 2 ride along, was the Saturday morning visit to the pistol range. We had demonstrations from the Bomb Squad and the Special Weapons and Tactical Unit (SWAT) and were taught how to handle JPD’s duty issue weapon. Then we were taken to the range and were allowed to shoot.

We fired not only the Glock, but also two assault weapons, the M-4 and a Hechler & Koch MP-5. That was cool. One of the SWAT guys was really cute, and he helped me fire the M-4. I was a real pistol-packin’ mama — until the weapon’s Nylon strap caught on my boob. I wanted to disappear into a hold in the ground, but the guy didn’t even crack a smile. And even with that hunk’s arm around me — I hit the target! Wahoo!

Not too long after that CPA ended, I participated in another one sponsored by my local sheriff’s department. It was similar to the first, but gave me insight into a different department. And during that ride-along, the deputy hit 120 mph on I-55 while responding to a call about a 4-wheeler accident. OMG! I’ve never gone that fast before.

I now have a greater sense of admiration and respect for the men and women who face the worst of humanity every day for very little reward. I recommend that everyone take classes like these, no matter what you write. It’s a wonderful way to learn more about law enforcement.  My SO is offering another class next year — it’s free and open to the public–and I’m considering adding my name to their sign-up list so I can take it again. This pistol packin’ mama can’t wait to get back to the pistol range.

 Melanie’s current book is SHIELD OF VALOR.

Here’s a quick blurb:  Detective Jonah McKee is forced to juggle caring for his rowdy three year-old son and protecting a beautiful amnesia victim who was targeted by a vicious serial murderer… or was she? Brooke Wilson finally remembers her own name — and the name of the man trying to kill her — and the terrifying memory sends her on the run again. Jonah is forced to hide his son and go with her in order to protect her, and along the way they fall in love.

Click HERE to purchase Shield of Valor.

Coming soon from Melanie are:

Voodoo Bones — October, Desert Breeze Publishing
Blood Rite — January, Whiskey Creek Press
Quest for Justice — January, Desert Breeze Publishing

To read more about Melanie and her work, visit her website or read her blog

So what experiences have you had with your local police or sheriff’s department? You’re among friends here. You can confess about your arrest. We won’t tell a soul. 

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13 Responses

  1. What an interesting experience, Melanie! I recently completed the Fairfax County CPA here in Virginia and absolutely loved it. Great stuff for a writer, but also to learn more about my community and the local law enforcement. My ride-along wasn’t quite as interesting as yours, but the officer did arrest someone and take him to jail.

    Thanks for sharing your story!

  2. Thanks, Gwen. I’m glad you got to take a class, too. I also recommend Lee Lofland’s Writers’ Police Academy, held in September in North Carolina. I’ve been twice, and it’s awesome. You can learn more about it here: http://www.writerspoliceacademy.com/ The stuff for this year is still up right now, but check back for new stuff soon. Lee Childs is scheduled to be the keynote speaker for the Saturday night banquet.

    • Actually, not being able to afford the WPA (without giving up Nationals) is what got me interested in my local CPA, but if my writing budget expands enough, I’d still like to give it a try. Thanks!

  3. Welcome Melanie! Congrats on the excellent reviews you’ve been receiving on your books. Very exciting.

    I was in the back of a police car once. High school. Beer bash out in the country on a dead end road. Woman called police. The cops were at the bottom on the hill as we walked out. EVERYBODY was there. The complete starting line-up for the football team (this was in the fall). The cheerleaders. The dance/drill team. Everybody got hauled down to the police station except ME! They let me know because I hadn’t been drinking (Hey, it was my early days.) All the parents were called but no one was booked. We’re talking about the FOOTBALL TEAM. Those of you in the south know how important football is. Plus we were in the running for state championship, so no way would the police screw that up.

    That’s my only brush with the Johnny Law!

    I would love to do a citizen police academy but I live in the country and I can’t do it here because it is only for city residents. Crazy, huh?

  4. WooHoo! sounds like such an… enlightening time!

    I’m going to do a ride-along with a homicide detective I know in Atlanta. They make you submit to background checkes and whatnot… I think it will be fascinating. And inspirational, story-wise.
    And appreciation-wise.

    Being a cop ain’t for sissies-
    🙂

  5. Laura – I’d give anything for a ride-along! The background check wouldn’t be a deal breaker for me (even with my youthful “indiscretions.” I had to pass FBI background check for my visit to US embassy in Belgium and FBI has my fingerprints because of my license to carry a concealed weapon.

    Come back after your ride-along and let us know how it went

  6. Wow, I’d love that, Laura. Sounds fabulous. Let me know how it goes! Well, I’m off to the Gulf Coast… will check in later today.

  7. What a fantastic experience!

    I have none. Well, there was the cop who came to take my report when I backed into a curb and knocked my muffler off. She was great. And a couple of years ago, driving home from the DC RWA conference, I got pulled over and had to do a sobriety test. And there are a few speeding tickets, and once a cop pulled me over to tell me a taillight wasn’t working…

    But I’ve never been in a cop car or in a police station (oh, wait, I was at the desk once when I dropped off stuffed animals for them to give to kids at accident scenes and stuff.) I’ve looked for local CPAs, but there aren’t any I live close enough to do. 😦

  8. Very cool, Melanie. I’m so jealous that you did actual research. Like for real research.

    I may have to try that out sometime…not that I write that much suspense into my books, but still, that’s so good knowledge to have.

  9. A great story, Mel, especially the hunky guy at the firing range. Love that he didn’t crack a smile when it got caught on your boob!

    The Police Academy has been on my list of things to do for a long time, now, but I just can’t find the time. After this story, I think I’ll make it a propriety.

    Can’t wait to read your new book. Love your writing.

  10. Thanks for reading. Hope all of you looking for a CPA near you can find one. It’s definitely worth the trouble, as is the WPA. Best conference ever!

  11. Welcome Melanie and what a COOL experience! I however, would probably be peeing my pants LOL

  12. Melanie, I can tell you love that cop stuff. I can’t talk since I watched a take down in a McDonald’s parking lot. I dashed inside to go the restroom and came out to drama! Four cop cars and dozens of cops, many in plain clothes. All that was missing was a soundtrack! Might blog about that.

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