Getting your officers inside

Just back from the week-long Breakout Novel Intensive workshop, in Hood River, OR. Wow. Will tell you more later this week.

Writers often want to know how to get their fictional law enforcement officers inside a building, where they may be able to see evidence of other crimes. Here’s an example from a recent Montana incident:

A 7 year-old girl was badly bitten by four dogs. Her father and another man met EMTs at a school. Sheriff’s deputies investigating the attack, and possible charges of keeping malicious dogs, wanted to know where the attack occurred. One of the men reluctantly acknowledged it occurred on his property, nearby. The deputies went to the property to investigate the attack. While there, they smelled marijuana coming from the shop–where the girl said she’d been just before the attack. The deputies obtained a search warrant for the shop, and found 71 marijuana plants, along with other marijuana. 

The deputies had a right to be on the property, both because they were investigating a vicious dog attack, and because the tenant consented. Once there, they smelled the pot, which gave them grounds for a search warrant.

According to local news accounts, the girl is recovering. The men fled; at least two have been caught and returned to the area.

4/7/12 Update: Two men –including the girl’s father — and a woman have now been arrested and formally charged with drug manufacturing and related charges; all have pled not guilty.