Chicago Police Dept. Workshop Trains Cops to Be Writers


The New York Times reports on a voluntary class at the Chicago Police Academy to teach police officers to be writers. National law enforcement organizations say it is extremely unusual for such a workshop to come from a police department itself, where most of the training in writing involves incident reports and search warrant applications. Among the Chicago officers, not all were dreaming of writing crime thrillers. Some aspired to more offbeat genres — children's stories, self-help guides for police leadership, biographies of criminals, tales of weird cold cases, and at least one planned to modernize stories from the Bible by interweaving them with incidents from police work.

“Every policeman has said more than once, 'We have got to write a book,' ” said Sgt. Cynthia Schumann, a 26-year Chicago police veteran who said she had been jotting down her own notes, just words and bits and thoughts, for years. “People would not believe — you can't make it up — what we've seen. It could be something very humorous, or it could be something very devastating and tragic.”

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