My protagonist in Pretty City Murder is a San Francisco police officer named Larry Leahy. This character was formed by my own experiences in law enforcement. His decisions in the book are made using the protocol that I used in my own line of work, and the procedures that are used by him and his fellow officers are based on the methodology for investigating crimes in real life.
For some years, I worked at the Academy of Art University. Sometimes, when people saw me on duty, they were confused over whether I was a security guard or a police officer. In fact, I was neither; I was a non-sworn, uniformed, unarmed patrol officer.
There are similarities and differences in the functions performed by security guards, patrol officers, and police officers. At the Academy of Art University, I performed all the functions of a security officer and a police officer, except that I did not have the power to arrest or detain. Often, I interviewed a target before the police arrived and then sat in on the police interview. Our interviews were virtually the same. It was difficult to explain these differences, so I let people think whatever they thought, which worked to my advantage. Students, of course, feared me, which I enjoyed.
A security guard reports on what he's seen but does not conduct investigations. In contrast, I led short and long investigations into missing persons, threats of violence, graffiti, stalking, homeless encampments, burglary, robbery, sexual assault, marijuana possession or selling, and students with suicide ideation. I responded to elevator entrapments and sick or injured students.
The school where I worked has over 400 security cameras, and we viewed them every day. In Pretty City Murder, the hotel, which is the scene of the murder, has security cameras, and the inspectors on the case view videotape, but, as is the case so often, much about the crime is still unknown.
In my own experience, security cameras can be crucial for solving cases. In one instance, I relied on one of our campus safety hosts to find a student who had taken school property. She spent hours viewing several cameras and eventually found the thief. He was expelled. We were stupefied over the reckless actions taken by a student who had been in good standing, and we were saddened to see him go.
If you are interested in crime stories, you'll definitely enjoy my book. My experience in law enforcement adds realism to the story, but Pretty City Murder still has many elements from classic crime fiction novels.
You can purchase Pretty City Murder here.
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