Work Examples: Law Enforcement/Security
View the span of my law enforcement work.
Covering cops and courts for a daily newspaper gave me a taste for criminal justice and law enforcement. I even covered the Diane Borchardt trial; she’s the teacher who made national headlines after hiring students to kill her husband. This proved good training when I made the switch to writing for law enforcement professionals. Working on both sides of the fence gives me an eyes-wide-open approach to what police do and why they do it, and how the public views them. I spent more than a decade as the editorial director of a group of law enforcement publications, and today I write for and handle special projects for Police magazine and the magazine where I cut my law enforcement teeth, Law Enforcement Technology. I also cover security installations at the nation’s airports for Airport Improvement magazine.
In my two decades in the criminal justice and law enforcement field, I covered 9/11, just about every mass shooting since Columbine, law enforcement equipment and tactics, law enforcement policy and more. My range of topics spans the gamut from training and technology, to software and social justice, police response and policy, airport security and cyber security. In this role, I created media kits, produced magazines, launched newsletters, and crafted special publications for large companies including Raytheon, Draeger Safety Inc. and Scott Health & Safety.
My tenure as head of the Cygnus Public Safety Group netted our group many editorial awards. I’ve received numerous APEX and Tabbie awards for my own articles, and the editors reporting to me did as well. I’m especially proud of the awards we received for our coverage of the Virginia Tech shooting. This award-winning publication received a Tabbie award for best single issue and landed an APEX Grand Award. My article, “Marching to the Sound of Gunshots,” also received an APEX Award of Excellence in the feature category.
Imagine sitting in a classroom, daydreaming and staring at the sunny skies just outside an open window, as your instructor drones on about elementary German. You are abruptly dragged from your reverie by loud popping noises in the hallway outside. Thinking it’s the din of construction as carpenters begin their day, you turn your attention back to the lecture. Then a man dressed in a black leather jacket, dark-colored jeans and a baseball cap storms into the room and you find yourself in the crosshairs of a .22-caliber pistol.
While this might sound like it’s ripped straight from a Hollywood movie script, it is exactly the situation some Virginia Tech students encountered on April 16 when a 23-year-old gunman murdered 32 people before killing himself.
These types of cases have become so commonplace that law enforcement professionals coined the phrase “active shooter.” This term is used to describe an armed individual who has used deadly force on others and continues to do so while having unrestricted access to additional victims. The list of cities struck by the active shooter phenomenon is long and includes places like Littleton and Bailey, Colorado; Jonesboro, Arkansas; Red Lake, Minnesota; San Diego, California; and Barts Township, Pennsylvania. Reviewing the list of names, it quickly becomes clear that be it a pastoral village or sprawling metropolis, no community is immune to an active shooter massacre.
(From an award-winning article on the Virginia Tech massacre in Law Enforcement Technology magazine.)