HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » The DU Lounge (Forum) » Writing a Romantic Suspen...

Sat Feb 7, 2015, 11:18 AM

 

Writing a Romantic Suspense Novel- Need Answers about Law Enforcement and 911 Procedure?

Okay I can't pay, I'm on a fixed income, and have never earned a dime from my writing so far. I will credit DU Lounge if my book ever ends up getting published though.

At my writer's group they said I had a strong story, they loved my dialog, and think I am on to something that could eventually get published, but they questioned some technical aspects about police and emergency procedure.

Not to go into too much detail but here's the situation: An off duty FBI agent witnesses a man fleeing what the agent believes to be a vacant house. He becomes suspicious and gives brief chase but the unidentified subject gets away.

The door on the house is open so the agent decides to take a look around to make sure no suspicious activity is going on, exigent circumstances, and finds a woman who has been hit on the back of the head. She's regained consciousness, has slight but not prolific bleeding around the impact area, and is coherent. There is also a damaged wall and skeletal remains visible through the hole in it.

The other writers' problem with this part is would the agent immediately start giving her first aid ? I struggled with that! I wondered whether he would first ask her if she was alone in the house, and then want to determine that for sure, because both of them could be in danger of another attack, if the fleeing man had accomplices that were still hiding somewhere in the house.

Now I am thinking he'd probably call for backup and an ambulance first. So some input on what the sequence of his actions would be from someone who knows proper procedure would help.

How much would he say to the victim? I had him identify himself, ask her if she were alone in the house, what she was doing there? Another writer in my group said she didn't think he would go beyond identifying himself, to someone who was injured and a victim.

Also on the 911 call how much information would be imparted? I had him identify himself as an agent, tell them of the injured woman, the suspect that got away, and the skeletal remains. A former Air Force pilot in our group said he doesn't think an FBI agent would give out that much information over a 911 call. If this is TMI what would he say? Would he just identify himself, ask for back up, an ambulance and the morgue?

Any guidance would help. I am not close to anyone in Law Enforcement and I'd feel strange about calling the Sheriff's Department to ask for research help on a book when I am not a published author yet.

Thank you in advance for any input.

15 replies, 1193 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 15 replies Author Time Post
Reply Writing a Romantic Suspense Novel- Need Answers about Law Enforcement and 911 Procedure? (Original post)
Liberalynn Feb 2015 OP
marym625 Feb 2015 #1
Liberalynn Feb 2015 #2
marym625 Feb 2015 #3
valerief Feb 2015 #6
marym625 Feb 2015 #7
valerief Feb 2015 #9
Liberalynn Feb 2015 #11
TuxedoKat Feb 2015 #4
Liberalynn Feb 2015 #8
TuxedoKat Feb 2015 #13
Liberalynn Feb 2015 #14
The Velveteen Ocelot Feb 2015 #5
Liberalynn Feb 2015 #10
The Velveteen Ocelot Feb 2015 #12
Liberalynn Feb 2015 #15

Response to Liberalynn (Original post)

Sat Feb 7, 2015, 11:26 AM

1. intriguing

I honestly it is published. I would love to read it.

I don't have a real answer. My sarcastic answer is, depends, is she a black woman?

Sorry, first thing that popped in my mind.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to marym625 (Reply #1)

Sat Feb 7, 2015, 11:28 AM

2. Thank You

 

I don't blame you for the sarcasm at all. Unfortunately it is warranted by the society we live in.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Liberalynn (Reply #2)

Sat Feb 7, 2015, 11:32 AM

3. Thanks.

I wasn't sure if I should post that but it truly was the first thing I thought.

Good luck with publishing!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to marym625 (Reply #1)

Sat Feb 7, 2015, 12:56 PM

6. Holy moly, that's the first thing that popped into my head. If she's black, she gets shot dead.

No questions asked.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to valerief (Reply #6)

Sat Feb 7, 2015, 12:59 PM

7. How could we not think it? n/t

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to marym625 (Reply #7)

Sat Feb 7, 2015, 02:20 PM

9. I know. We'd be liars if we didn't with all the reports of police killings we're made aware of

on DU.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to valerief (Reply #6)

Sat Feb 7, 2015, 02:28 PM

11. You can't help but think that.

 

In the case of my story both perpetrator and victim are white.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Liberalynn (Original post)

Sat Feb 7, 2015, 12:14 PM

4. Hmmm...

I'm an EMT and the first thing stress during training is scene safety -- not to even enter a scene unless it's safe, which means if you don't know then you call for the police to ensure the scene is safe before you go in. I don't know what an FBI agent's training is, especially if he/she is armed, so hopefully someone can enlighten us. I would think your character would call 911 first and wait for them to arrive before entering with or after them. If you wanted your character to go in without waiting for back-up, then you would need to explain why he broke with his training (if he is supposed to wait for back-up before entering). I wouldn't be afraid to ask a local police department these questions. I think they would be flattered to be asked. Do any of your friends know someone in law enforcement?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to TuxedoKat (Reply #4)

Sat Feb 7, 2015, 02:08 PM

8. Thank You

 

This is very helpful. The FBI agent is armed as he is just getting home from working a case when he sees strange happenings at the house next door to his.

The woman will be an unarmed victim who has just purchased the house, but going in he won't know that, so I was thinking his natural inclination would be to consider her a potential suspect.

That's a good idea of giving an explanation of why he would break training and procedure, if I decide to keep it that he goes in before back up gets there. I think I now will definitely have him make the call first though, before he enters.

I will check around to see if any of my friends do know someone in law enforcement who might help. I just thought of too that our local community college, of which I hold two degrees from, has a criminal justice program. Maybe one of the professors there would be willing to provide some input too.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Liberalynn (Reply #8)

Sat Feb 7, 2015, 02:49 PM

13. You're Welcome

Velveteen Ocelot brought up some good points below. Based on what he/she wrote I'd be curious to know what an FBI agent's training is in situations like this where one is acting as a private citizen aka "Good Samaritan" (giving assistance when not officially on duty), this was covered in EMT training so I would think it would be with FBI agents too.

Good luck with your book! Let us know when it comes out! I'd like to read it.

http://www.emccprtraining.com/blog/post/how-do-good-samaritan-laws-work

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to TuxedoKat (Reply #13)

Tue Feb 10, 2015, 12:55 PM

14. Thanks Again

 

I will definitely share the news if I get published.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Liberalynn (Original post)

Sat Feb 7, 2015, 12:24 PM

5. One thing that comes to mind:

The FBI normally doesn't have jurisdiction when a possible crime is a violation only of state law. Your agent sees what he suspects was a burglary, but since burglary is not a federal crime the FBI agent is effectively a private citizen with no law enforcement powers at all unless state/local police request FBI assistance and there is a reason to invoke federal jurisdiction. So the "exigent circumstances" issue isn't an issue at all and he probably wouldn't even enter the house; your guy at this point is legally just a private citizen trying to help. In that case what he would probably do (or should do), if he does go into the house, is call 911 and tell the dispatcher only about the injury and the person he saw running away, give first aid to the injured woman, wait for the police to arrive, and not touch anything or investigate the crime scene at all. He's not asking for "backup" because he is not acting as a law enforcement officer. When the police arrive he'd point out the skeleton (which I assume he saw without moving or touching anything). No need to mention the skeleton during the 911 call because with respect to that there's no emergency.

I don't see any reason why you shouldn't talk to someone in the sheriff's department and ask for information. Usually people are happy to talk to others about their work.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to The Velveteen Ocelot (Reply #5)

Sat Feb 7, 2015, 02:24 PM

10. That's a good point about jurisdiction!

 

I hadn't thought about that. I will have to rework the first chapter. I am writing him as just having come home from closing a serial killer case and that he's exhausted and on the edge of burn out. I want him to reluctantly get involved with the mystery of the skeleton in the wall and protecting his new neighbor.

So I will either have to rework how he initially gets dragged in entirely or as the above poster suggested explain a reason why he chose to bypass protocol. I didn't have him touch the skeleton because I figured he'd definitely know not to disturb evidence.

I do know some lawyers in town, as I took some paralegal courses, so maybe they can tell me who in the police or Sheriff's office might be open to talking to a beginning writer about police procedure.

Thank you!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Liberalynn (Reply #10)

Sat Feb 7, 2015, 02:35 PM

12. There might be some exceptions to situations where FBI agents

witness a possible crime, and your local law enforcement people or lawyers could tell you what those are. What you need to research is whether and to what extent he can get involved in the investigation of what happened next door. If, for example, the crime crossed state lines (say the skeleton turns out to be that of a person who was kidnapped and brought there from another state), or involved terrorism (is the skeleton that of an al Qaeda mole?), the FBI would assume jurisdiction. In the meantime, though, you need to find out what your agent is empowered to do.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to The Velveteen Ocelot (Reply #12)

Tue Feb 10, 2015, 12:59 PM

15. I remembered a lady I went through a paralegal

 

program with is married to a police officer. I think she will remember me so I might try to get in touch with her.

Thanks again for your input.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread