What I'm reading: The Inferno Collection, by Jacqueline Seewald
The Romantic Times Conference runs all this week, so I'm going to be busy. In addition to the conference, the Adult Literacy League is having its annual fundraiser, Reading Between the Lines, with special guests Michael Connelly and Bob Morris, and I'll be working there as well.
Tomorrow, my guest will be Kelly Mortimer of the Mortimer Literary Agency, so if you have questions or want to know more about that side of the business, be sure to stop by. I might fill in with an extra "Homicide-Hussey" post this week while I'm caught up in conference activities. I have a feeling nobody will mind.
I promised to share my notes from our Civilian Police Academy Alumni meeting.
David Callin of the Intelligence Section spoke to us about the responsibilities of his unit. In a nutshell, they're responsible for public safety. The formal policy tasks them with collecting, collating, and analyzing raw information for dissemination to appropriate agency units, and in development and implementation of law enforcement strategies, priorities, policies and investigative tactics.
In a nutshell, they gather information and determine if laws are being violated. They walk a fine line between freedom of speech, constitutional rights of the individual, and public safety. Most of their work is covert, to determine if a threat exists. The develop sources, from prison inmates to private citizens, to paid informants.
They're on the alert for political threats. It's one thing to say you disagree with a politician; it's something else to threaten to do him bodily harm.
We learned that the going rate on the street for a fake Driver's License, which is the gateway to just about anything, is $1,000. And that having any kind of blue light mounted on your vehicle is a felony. We learned what some of the gang colors are, and how to recognize gang members from bumper stickers on their vehicles.
The Intelligence Section looks into criminal allegations, murder for hire, hate crimes, threats to law enforcement officers, firearms violations, public corruption, and law enforcement impersonators. They also work with the Secret Service when dignitaries come to town – the Secret Service whisks away the individual, while the locals deal with what's happening. Callin has worked with them protecting not only US presidents and foreign dignitaries, but also celebrities like Tiger Woods. (Tough job, walking through 36 holes of golf. But someone has to do it.)
Given that theme parks make Orlando an international tourist destination, they're protecting not only the county's citizens, but millions of others. One generally thinks of one's home town as someplace safe. But Callin said his job reveals that there are central Florida connections to a vast number of 'unsavory' individuals (Osama bin Laden's brother owned a home in Orlando) and groups. These would all be turned over to the federal government for prosecution, but it's our local Sheriff's Office that keeps tabs on things.
Historically, in times of economic stress, people are looking for someone to blame, and there's a drastic increase in hate crimes and membership in these sorts of groups. Callin said he could take the Kent State template and it would be a perfect fit for what's happening at local colleges.
So, our city, best known for Mickey Mouse, is also home to white supremacy groups, to violent protestors of animal rights, to paramilitary groups, and to many other groups who feel it's their responsibility to impose their beliefs on others in a violent fashion.
Remember - come back tomorrow to see what agent Kelly Mortimer has to say about her life.