The Graveyard Shift Blog

Since 2008, Lee Lofland has written over 2000 articles on his blog, The Graveyard Shift. Topics such as police procedure, forensics, criminal behavior, and what it’s like to be a cop has helped countless numbers of popular and aspiring writers.

His life’s mission – to remind writers that cordite is dead and gone. Just say no to cordite in your books!

ZZ Top Was My Backup. Yes, "That" ZZ Top

Saturday 2345 hours - It was not at all unusual for the sheriff to schedule his patrol deputies to work the graveyard shift alone, covering the entire county with our nearest backup---a state trooper or a police officer from a nearby city, or…

Drugs Are the Root of All Evil

Jerome, a professional thief and drug addict who was no stranger to judges, cops, and attorneys, sat on a well-worn wooden bench outside a courtroom door. His attire for the day ... an orange jumpsuit and handcuffs and ankle chains and white…
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My Friend Cayla is NOT Your Friend. She's a Spy!

My Friend Cayla is not the typical secret agent. Not even close. In fact, her identity is out there for the world to see and she doesn't care who knows her capabilities. She's that good. Standing at a towering 18 inches and powered by 3AA…

Save a Cop, Ride a Bearcat

Before you read the first word word of the article below, I want you to know that it's far from what I normally present to you. If the following text offends you, well, let me say right now that I apologize. I do not, however, apologize for…

Grandfathers and Grandkids: Broken Tools

A weed eater that refuses to start no matter how many times I pull its cardiac-event-inducing rope. A leaf blower cut from the same cloth. An asthmatic air compressor. Pliers that no longer ... ply (is that even a word?). And, well, you get…

Five Ways to Win! Murder, She Wrote, The Oak Ridge Boys, Gangs, Harlequin, and a Pond

Each year as a means to help support the mega-beast known as the Writers' Police Academy, the event features a raffle and silent auction. It's fun. Really fun. Well, since we tend to offer some unusual items not typically available anywhere…

Friday's Heroes: Remembering the Fallen

Trooper Joel R. Davis, 36 New York State Police July 9, 2017 - Trooper Joel Davis was shot and killed after responding to a domestic violence and shot-fired call. He was shot as he walked toward the house. The shooter, an active-duty…

Treason and Espionage: Are You Using the Terms Correctly?

Treason is a word we often see in the news and social media and, unfortunately, its use is often, well, absolutely incorrect. Therefore, to save writers the trouble and embarrassment of using the term incorrectly in a work of fiction, here's…

Fingerprinting Birds: The Only Way To Fly

Fingerprinting birds. Sounds crazy, right? I mean, why would someone need to lift a print from a bird? Would an Emu stand still while a crime scene investigator dumped fingerprint powder on it's beak? Probably not. Have a seat for a moment…

You Will Survive: Three Words That Should Impact Your Writing

You. Will. Survive. Three of the most important words I heard during my entire time attending the basic police academy. Several years later it was I who was drilling the phrase into the minds of hundreds of recruits. After all, thoughts of…

5 CSI Tips: Writing Believable Make-Believe

Just for you---5 tantalizing and terribly important CSI tips for the investigator in your life.       https://www.canva.com/design/DACayCwa-yk/view  

Murder Investigations Are So, Well ... "Fly"

Homicide investigations are the crème de la crème of all investigations. To solve a murder investigators use all available resources. No-holds barred. No sparing of the horses. No waiting for the obese lady to start her song. Sometimes…

Friday's Heroes: Remembering the Fallen

Officer Miosotis Familia, 48 New York City Police Department July 5, 2017 - Officer Miosotis Familia was shot and killed by ambush as she sat inside a marked police command vehicle. The shooter walked up to the vehicle and fired through…
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BioWatch: Detecting Biological Agents in Your Town

Here's a news flash that isn't fake. There are people in this world who want to hurt us. Well, us and anyone else they manage to get in their sights. And, as we've seen all across the world, those bad folks use a variety of means to carry out…

Writers' Police Academy Presents ... Kooky Cop Carnival!

Thursday at the Writers' Police Academy promises to be an exciting and wildly fun opening day, starting with renowned drone expert Bill Bongle's fascinating presentation on ... all things drones. Bill will discuss (and demonstrate): Drone…

American Beauty: Happy 4th of July!

"She stands in the harbor in the city of dreams American beauty Prettiest face I've ever seen American beauty. And she holds a torch and she won't let go I love her with all my heart and soul I'd give my life to keep her free …

Murder, She Wrote ... He Wrote

Murder, She Wrote. Yes, we watched Jessica Fletcher solve murders all over the world. We also saw her teaching students in New York City about how the criminal mind works and how to use that sort of information to write crime novels. We…

Edged Weapon Attacks: Stabbings Are Not Fun

There’s a common sentiment among cops and other people whose business sometimes forces them to “place their hands” on another person. And that opinion is generally that they’d rather be shot than stabbed or cut. I, too, agree. And…