Ask a Cop at June Meeting

Retired police officer Tim Jones answered audience members' questions about the particulars of homicide investigation.

Retired police officer Tim Jones will answer questions about the particulars of police work and homicide investigations.

If you want to write about cops and killers, you need to get your facts straight. Join us on Monday, June 13, from 6-8 p.m., when we welcome Mystery by the Sea member and retired police officer Tim Jones as a guest speaker. Tim will answer all of your most urgent questions about police work and homicide investigations.

(Please note: Our June meeting will NOT be held at the Greenbrier Library in Chesapeake. Instead, we will be meeting at 805 Live Oak Drive, Suite 104, Chesapeake, VA 23320.)

Tim, a recently retired Virginia Beach Police Department homicide detective, has 27 years of law enforcement experience, 25 of which were in Virginia. While serving with the Chesapeake Police Department, he spent one year in Uniform Patrol, three in the Warrant/Fugitive Unit, three in Crimes Against Persons, three in Vice and Narcotics, and one year undercover. He served three years as a special agent (primarily undercover) for the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. During his last 12 years he was a Virginia Beach Police Department Investigator and worked at the Training Academy, Robbery Squad, and Homicide Unit.

During Tim’s career he was recognized by several Virginia Circuit Courts as an expert in narcotics investigations, crime scene investigations, gangs, human trafficking, murder for hire, and medico-legal death investigations. His extensive investigative and undercover experience has enabled him to be a consultant for various crime shows including The New Detectives, The ProsecutorsThe FBI Files, and The Wire. Tim has also taught at numerous police academies across the state of Virginia. He holds a B.S. in sociology. Currently he is working on some ideas for screenplays.


March Meeting to be Held at Museum of Contemporary Art

VIFMIIIn lieu of our regular March meeting at the Chesapeake Library, please join us at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Virginia Beach on Tuesday, March 15. As part of the MOCA Nights series, authors from the newly released anthology, Virginia is for Mysteries II, will autograph books and read excerpts from their work. The event will take place from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. See you there!

For more information, click here.

November Meeting to be Held at Hampton Library

old lettersJoin us for our November meeting, to be held Monday, November 9th, at the Hampton Main Library, located at 4207 Victoria Blvd, Hampton, VA 23669.

Jeanne Willoz-Egnor, Director of Collections Management at the Mariners’ Museum in Newport News, will talk about the massive theft of museum pieces by a former employee and how the thief was brought to justice.

All Mystery by the Sea meetings are open to the public. We hope to see you there!

Post Event Wrap-Up: Coastal Crime Fest 2015

Coastal Crime Fest was held Saturday, March 28, at the Central Library in Virginia Beach. Mystery by the Sea members welcomed fans and writers of mysteries to spend a day learning about the craft, reconnecting with fellow Hampton Roads writers, and meeting new friends.

Maria Hudgins, author of the Dotsy Lamb travel mystery series, started the day off talking about the craft of mystery writing. She offered tips on how to plant clues in a mystery manuscript and provided insider insight on how to come up with an outline.

Maria Hudgins addresses the audience at Coastal Crime Fest 2015.

Maria Hudgins addresses the audience at Coastal Crime Fest 2015.

Jim Healy, a retired FBI agent turned writer, entertained the audience with tales from the Edgar J. Hoover-era FBI and answered numerous audience questions about his work, both past and current.

Sheryl Jordan, author of Manipulation, Money, and Murder, spoke to the group about her path of self-publication. Her book is a fictionalized account of a murder in her husband’s family. She detailed the years of work and the obstacles she overcame to get the book into print.

Sheryl Jordan spoke to the group about self-publication.

Sheryl Jordan spoke to the group about self-publication.

The program concluded with a self-defense demonstration from Marty and Pat Rogers. The couple, trained in numerous types of martial arts, talked about situational awareness and how to keep yourself safe. They showed the group how to defend oneself against an attacker, including several ways to use a cane as a weapon.

Gift baskets, generously donated by Mystery by the Sea members, were raffled off during the event.

Several gift baskets filled with writer-themed goodies were raffled off at the event.

Several gift baskets stuffed with writer-themed goodies were raffled off at the event.


Sergeant Dave Michalski Addresses Group at April Meeting

Sergeant Dave Michalski from the Portsmouth Sheriff’s Office was the guest speaker at the April meeting and Mystery by the Sea members were treated to an in-depth discussion of crime scene investigation. Dave’s talk included information on how police officers approach a scene, how they process a scene, how they conduct an investigation, and how they process evidence. Dave’s knowledge and respect for his topic was evident, as was his sense of humor during Q&A.

Portsmouth Sheriff's Department Sergeant Dave Michalski

Portsmouth Sheriff’s Department Sergeant Dave Michalski

Make Research Fun – Participate in a Citizens’ Police Academy!

Are you a Hampton Roads citizen looking for some hands-on research opportunities with local police departments? By participating in a Citizens’ Police Academy you will learn all about what law enforcement officers do on the job. This is a great opportunity for writers, especially mystery writers, to get a behind-the-scenes look at the daily duties of an officer, learn how arrests are made, and see what the inside of a jail looks like. Here is a list with more information about Citizen Police Academies in Hampton Roads.



Class dates: Call for info

Contact: Neil Morgan at (757) 382-1525



Class dates: Call for info

Contact: Community Relations Unit at (757) 727-6574



Class dates: Twice a year (Fall: September – December) and (Spring: February – May)

Contact: Monica L. White (757) 928-4295



Class dates: April 2 -June 25th 2015

Contact: Officer M. L. Warren at (757) 390-0386 or Officer M.O. Sarmiento at (757) 390-0387




Class dates: Call for info

Contact: Police Training Unit (757) 393-8088



Class dates: April 29-June 10, 2015

Contact: Sgt. Cheryl Balzer at (757) 514-7913



Class dates: Call for info

Contact: Crime Prevention Unit at (757) 385-1006

Disclaimer: All information is subject to change.

Crime Scene Investigation for Writers

fingerprintPlease join us on Monday, April 13th, when we welcome Sergeant David Michalski to talk about crime scene investigation. Here is some additional information about our speaker:

Mr. Michalski began his law enforcement career with the Portsmouth Police Department in December 1973. While with the Portsmouth Police he served in various capacities within Uniform Patrol, the K-9 Corps, and the Detective Bureau while rising up through the ranks. As a sergeant he commanded the Sex Crimes Investigations Unit and also served as a patrol sergeant. As a lieutenant he held positions as Fiscal Affairs Officer and as Administrative Assistant to the Chief of Police. As a captain he served as the Training Division Commander, Uniform Patrol Division Commander and the Patrol Support Division Commander.

Mr. Michalski retired in 1994 and accepted a position as Security Director for Cox Communications. His area of responsibility stretched from New Kent County, Virginia, to Currituck County, North Carolina.

Mr. Michalski was appointed Director of the Chesapeake Police Academy on January 28, 2002, and served in that capacity until July 2010.

He accepted his current position as a sergeant with the Portsmouth Sheriff’s Office in March 2011 and serves as the Lead Instructor for the Portsmouth Sheriff’s Academy. He has taught various police and security courses around the country.

He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy, 164th Session, and many police line and management schools. He has an associate’s degree in Police Science from Tidewater Community College and a bachelor’s degree in Government Administration with a concentration in Criminal Justice Management from Christopher Newport College.