May 8, 2010

One Tough Mama: Citizen’s Police Academy IV

Filed under: Kids and Life,The Writing Life — jenny @ 7:52 pm

Just in time for Mother’s Day, emerging mystery writer Karyne Corum is back with her series about a job that has more than a little in common with being a mom. Like moms, cops have to call it like they see it, instill order, and sometimes risk everything to protect the ones they’re charged with keeping safe. A very Happy Mother’s Day to those with that job description. And I hope everyone enjoys this latest exciting installment of Police Academy, suspenseyourdisbelief-style!

Despite the, dare I call it rush, of my team’s first take down, the stairs and what lay beyond, still waited. I gathered my team and we slowly ascended, cutting to each corner, providing cover for each of us as we went.

I was sweating and my heart kept tapping out this crazy staccato of nervousness.

At the top of the stairs, we paused, looking into a room that was lit only by the light from a partially cracked doorway. The room was wide and filled with a variety of shrouded objects that cast menacing shadows in the darkness.

I gave directions in a low voice. We entered in a half-diamond; myself and the secretary would take the left side, the pharmacist, the right.

As it was none of us got more than three steps in before we spotted a figure seated in the far back of the room. She sat behind a table, a nondescript shape in front of her that looked vaguely familiar. To her left, several large boxes and boards obscured the corner of the room.

“Don’t come any closer! Don’t come any closer.” Her voice was half-hysterical, half-terrified and if we’d not been so pumped on fear and adrenaline, we might have heard it for what it was.

Instead, we shouted to her to drop the weapon. We could both see and hear the sharp pops of a weapon near her. She kept telling us not to come any closer, we kept countering that she drop the weapon.

The secretary, unable to take the tension anymore shot first and then we followed suit. (Later I told her she was just bloodthirsty.) By the time we had finished, the woman slumped forward, lifeless. All three of us cautiously proceeded forward, anxious about who might be hiding behind that obstruction.

The pharmacist, closely covered by us, took the turn around the corner, and made the last discovery, and third kill of the night. A man swathed all in black, sat down and below the woman’s body, a handgun at his feet. Before he could reach his weapon, he was shot dead.

Once the last shot was fired, we were able to discover the worst error of our entire night. (There were several.) The woman, handcuffed and posed in front of a staged weapon, was a hostage. An innocent civilian whom we had just shot dead, assuming she was the threat. Looking back many things became clear. Her voice had not been threatening, but pleading with us. We couldn’t see her hands in the darkness, but we had been convinced they held a weapon.

“Great, you shot the hostage,” I teased the secretary.

“I heard gunfire right by her.” She defended herself with a shrug.

Even the shooter, when we examined the scene afterwards, hadn’t actually been holding his weapon when he was shot, and therefore, in any court of law would be considered, technically, unarmed. Let’s face it, we’ve all seen enough legal shows to know just how many criminals get off on a technicality.

In the aftermath as we followed procedure and sketched out the various crime scenes, counted bullet casings and interviewed witnesses, it kept running through my mind just how badly it had all went down.

We had jumped to conclusions that had cost lives, one innocent, one guilty. We had faced dangerous situations and made snap decisions based more on our feelings than common sense.

I was inordinately thankful that the only blood spilled came from a plastic bottle and words, at least in this case, do not equate to bullets.

Karyne Corum is the married mother of one preschooler. She lives in Central New Jersey, and has been telling stories since she was a little girl–only now they get her into a lot more trouble. Fortunately, she can write her way out of most of it. Her many jobs prior to accepting the inevitable include actor, security guard, executive assistant and massage therapist. She is currently at work on her first full length novel, which keeps her up at night almost as much as her four-year old son does.


  1. Oh, MAN. What a story. I used to work 911 dispatch and it shot my nerves in a matter of weeks. I cannot IMAGINE what our boys and girls in blue go through. Even on an ordinary day-to-day basis they face belligerent drivers who don’t want to pull over, mentally handicapped people convinced of strange things, drunks…well, you name it. They are heroes who never get the credit they deserve. Good story!

    Comment by Savvy — May 9, 2010 @ 8:12 am

  2. I thought I understood alot of police work, I’ve had several friends and boyfriends who were in blue, but after this, I realized I knew nothing. It is incredibly more difficult than anyone can imagine. Thanks for reading and leaving such great feedback Savvy. :-)

    Comment by Karyne — May 9, 2010 @ 9:38 am

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