Retired police captain uses background for writing
by Laurie Fagen
Following a 22-year career with the Washington, D.C. area Fairfax County Police Department, Isabella Maldonado, who also goes by “Bella,” is using her job experience to write crime fiction.
When she retired, she held the rank of captain and the title of commander of the Special Investigations and Forensics Unit. This included crime scene detectives, video forensics, computer forensics, fingerprint examiners and the lab facility for Fairfax County PD, which has about 2,000 employees.
Prior to that, she was a district station commander for several years, overseeing the daily operation of a precinct with first line supervisors, detectives, patrol officers and civilian personnel who were responsible for serving some 144,000 residents. During her career, she also held positions that included gang council coordinator, hostage negotiator, commander of the Public Information Office, Police Academy recruit instructor, Spanish liaison officer and patrol officer.
In 2008, she attended the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia, which she describes as an “intensive residential training program for police executives throughout the world.”
As an “avid reader of many genres,” some of her favorite authors include Edgar Allen Poe, Lisa Gardner, Karen Slaughter, Sophie Littlefield, Stieg Larsson, Michael Connelly, Janet Evanovich, Preston & Child, J.K. Rowling, Darynda Jones, John Sandford, Lee Goldberg, M.C. Beaton, Carl Hiaasen and Stephen King. After retiring and moving to the Phoenix area, she decided to pursue a lifelong ambition to write fiction, and felt crime fiction would be the “best fit” given her background.
“I found Desert Sleuths and was incredibly impressed with the talent and commitment of everyone involved in the organization,” she says.
Maldonado has had mystery short stories published in two Desert Sleuths anthologies: “Diablo Ranch” in SoWest: So Wild; and “Cleanoritas, Inc.” in SoWest: Crime Time. She is currently writing her debut novel manuscript about a Latina Phoenix police detective who puts her career and life on the line to bring down a Mexican cartel family while uncovering the shocking truth about her own family’s past.
Since joining Desert Sleuths in 2009, she served as one of the editors of the chapter’s SoWest: So Wild Anthology, and has provided three instructional presentations to the group: “The Top Ten Police Procedural Pitfalls” at a Desert Sleuths monthly meeting; “Getting Your Cop Facts Straight” with fellow member Pamela Tracy and “Hostage Negotiations,” both at the Nuts & Bolts workshop in Scottsdale.
Maldonado says she is looking forward to becoming Desert Sleuths president for 2015.
“It is an incredible honor to have the opportunity to serve the organization that I have so enjoyed for several years. I look forward to helping achieve our goals.”
Her writing tip for members: “Believe in yourself.”
Laurie Fagen, who is completing her term as 2014 president of SinC Desert Sleuths Chapter, is finalizing a crime fiction series manuscript with a young radio reporter protagonist. She has short stories published in the past two Desert Sleuths’ anthologies, and is an Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine honorable mention winner. A former broadcast journalist and community newspaper publisher, Fagen is also an artist, art promoter and jazz singer. Her writing website is www.ReadLaurieFagen.com.