A friend, similarly inclined to pen nefarious fictional crime plots, e-mailed me about a RCMP open house. Always striving to make scenes realistic, it was an opportunity not to be missed. As a former diver, I was drawn to the recovery dive team. Their display showcased state of the art diving gear, and a command van complete with a compressor for refilling air tanks. Working in pairs, the divers wear helmets fitted with cameras linked to surface monitors, providing extra eyes on search areas that often have poor visibility. In my soon to be released book, The Douglas Document – Betrayal, a police dive team recovers a body from the Inner Harbor in Victoria.
At 33,000 pounds, the Tactical Armored Vehicle (TAV) is used for hostage and armed standoff situations. It makes a Hummer look small. The TAV houses eight Tactical Team (TAC) members in a compartment that rivals a bank vault security. The friendly TAC team member on hand to answer questions, advised that just the arrival of the TAV at a scene often results in a quick resolution. Yeah, that would do it for me. When the eight guys in the back of the TAV come out, it’s a big problem for whoever is unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end. In my second Douglas Document book – Retribution – there is a hostage situation, but no TAV or TAC team – just Scott Rockland, my stalwart detective, his crippled partner, Liz Bailey, and an RCMP Sergeant.
The police dogs and their trainers were amazing. To the dogs, it’s all play – fun and games. Police dogs are German Shepherd specially bred for police work. The first was a young dog in training. The second was a three year old animal with that classic police dog look – sleek and powerful. The ability of the dogs to focus in the midst of multiple distraction is truly amazing. Police dogs don’t appear in any of my stories yet – but it could happen.
Forensic identification is always of interest to me. There was a finger print display, and an exercise at matching. The RCMP member explained crime scene examination and techniques for collecting evidence and taking foot imprints. DNA evidence figures prominently in crime investigation – guilt or innocence may depend on a single hair. Items carefully collected at crime scenes are sent to the RCMP forensic laboratory for analysis.
If you have thoughts or information about crime scene investigation, stories you’d like to share, I’d love to hear from you.