What's the best way to research a police procedural?

Okay update! I have changed the setting of my w.i.p. from the U.K. to the U.S. Why? Because it's best for the story. And as I'm U.S. born, I feel more comfortable with it. Also taking advice from writers here. By the way: I still would love contributions to this question--as I'm always on the look out for valuable input. So thanks, guys!

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I highly recommend any of Connie Fletcher's books for a flavor of police life from the inside.WHAT COPS KNOW, PURE COP, BREAKING AND ENTERING, and EVERY CONTACT LEAVES A TRACE are all excellent and insightful, as Fletcher steps away and allows the cops and techs to speak directly to you. Her newest is called CRIME SCENE. I haven't read it yet, only because I just found out about it a minute ago.
thanks so much for that. Noted! sure will look into those. i'm still going by my seat and I'm half way through the first draft! I printed out what I had and it made sense! I do notes too. of course I "forgot" some things==so I started a file called CORRECTIONS. again, thanks Dana.
Just ordered EVERY CONTACT LEAVES A TRACE. I'm going with that one first and will see about the others. Right now, I've got bodies all over the place and I want to feel it's truth. Thanks Dana.
Connie has a new book out? News to me...thanks, Dana. She's a terrific person and one hell of a writer. I keep trying to persuade her to write a novel.
I don't know about the UK, but in the USA, many police departments have Citizens Academies, where ordinary citizens can take evening classes that culminate in a 10-hour-shift ride-along to learn what police do. It's good public relations for the community and can be a source of volunteers for the police charities/departments that need them. When I went to my local county sheriff's citizen academy, there were 5 mystery writers in the class of 25 of so, and we got put up front since we asked so many questions.:) We got to tour the county morgue, the local jail, and the firing range and had classes taught by a drug investigation officer, a homicide detective, a arson investigator and more. At the end we had a fancy little graduation ceremony and received a certificate from teh sheriff. It was fascinating!
you are really lucky. I would be at everyone of those classes. it's so open and accessable.
I'll second what Beth says. Having been a cop, and then having covered cops as a reporter for twenty-some years, I've never attended one of the academies but have had about a dozen friends say the same thing Beth did. I understand even the FBI puts one on in the cities where they have field offices.
If nothing else, most police departments have Public Information Officers willing to field a wide variety of questions or direct you to specialists in a particular field.
On another note, you might want to check my blog from time to time (http://everysecretcrime.blogspot.com) as I occasionally get reader questions about cop stuff. Or send me an email on here.
Thank you for your reply. No, I'm here in Yorkshire, England due to marriage. So unfortnately I can't get to those accessible public information officers--when I had intended to set my wip in the U.K. I did get an offer of help--here, but then I decided as I am an American, I'm best off writing as one, and setting my work there.
But I do thank you about questions and the like.
I happened to read your blog today and I loved it! Yes, what we all need is a place to go or possibly a specialized soft ware program, we put our ideas for a novel in and out comes a completed MS! and it's different every time so it's original! what a great idea like your factory for books!
I'd be happy to answer your questions, too. My book, Police Procedure and Investigation, A Guide For Writers, might have some information in it you could use. Also, you might want to check out my blog The Graveyard Shift.

Thanks so much Lee I do check it all the time--it's the best book out there. Also your blog is so helpful too. I had for awhile (too long) set the thing here in the U.K. but I never felt right with that--so I switched. I find it easier to write back on familiar territory. But having set it back home--I then decided to set it back timewise. I've been away for so long--I didn't think I had the feel anymore for the present. So I set it in the 1950's, actually it's working well for me because I find it more fun writing it hardboiled that way. My Detectives wear hats--people smoke all over the place, I LOVE IT! anyway, thanks Lee for your help.


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