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!

Shoot to Kill or to Wound? The Answer May Surprise You

Police officers are not trained to shoot to kill, nor do they shoot to wound. That, my friends, is the answer to the question. Confused? I thought you might be so let's dive right in and clarify those seemingly, but not, conflicting answers…

Friday's Heroes: Remembering the Fallen - 9/22/17

Officer Elias Martinez, 56 Texas Metropolitan Transit Authority Police Department September 17, 2017 - Officer Elias "Sonny" Martinez succumbed to injuries received in a motorcycle crash one week earlier. He is survived by his wife and…
It's HAD Day

It's HAD Day! (Happy Acronym Day)

"Yep, it's an ABLE BOLO for a WM. Yes, A/B, well, really it was a case of ABWIK during a B&E. You know, I think the guy's a SO, too." Have a little trouble following that sentence? Well, don't feel bad. Even the experts can't keep up…

Daubert, Frye, and Using Bacteria Found in Soil to Solve Criminal Cases

For ten long years, David Foran, a molecular geneticist and forensic scientist at Michigan State University, has worked to turn the bacteria found in soil into permissible evidence in criminal cases. It was a former student, though, a microbiology…
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Cathy Akers-Jordan: What I Learned About My Protagonist at WPA 2017

My protagonist is former police detective turned college writing professor. (Hey, we have to have some stuff in common!) Because I share her disabling hearing loss but not her police experience, the Writer’s Police Academy is the perfect place…

Murder by Bunny: Drop the Rabbit and Show Me Your Hands!

According to the CDC (Centers of Disease Control), tularemia (Rabbit fever) is one of the six most concerning bioterrorism agents. Others include, anthrax, viral hemorrhagic fever, botulism, smallpox, and plague. During WWII, the Soviet…
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2017 Golden Donut Short Story Contest: The Top 12 Stories

Each year, the Writers' Police Academy hosts the fun but challenging Golden Donut Short Story Contest. The rules are simple---each story must be exactly 200 words, including the title. The focus of the tale must be based upon a photo prompt…

Friday's Heroes: Remembering the Fallen - 9/15/17

Agent Roberto Medina-Mariani, 35 Puerto Rico Police Department September 11, 2017 - Agent Roberto Medina-Mariani was shot and killed while attempting to stop an armed robbery in progress. Despite his wounds, Agent Medina-Mariani managed…
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The Apple Doesn't Fall Far: Kids Whose Parents are Behind Bars

It's no secret that many children of incarcerated parents are practically pre-destined to follow those same paths to a life of crime, followed by time spent in prisons and jails. If memory serves, these kids are five or six times more likely…

Test Your Knowledge: 17 Facts About Police, Evidence, and Equipment

Think you have your police procedure correct? No mistakes? Well, here are 17 Facts About Police, Evidence, and Equipment. Let's test the knowledge of your protagonists, starting with ... 1. Revolvers do not eject spent brass with each pull…

Graveyard Shift: Feral Dogs, Cats, Raccoons ... and Junior, Jr.

Working the dreaded graveyard shift is bad enough as it is, but when you add the extra stress of working it alone, well, then it sometimes becomes downright dangerous. But I've done it and so have many police officers across the country who…

9/11: Standing Between Good and Evil

Where were you on September 11, 2001? That's a question I see and hear everywhere on this day, each and every year that passes. Most likely, many of you recollect watching the horrible scenario unfold on the television sets in your homes…

Life Is Fair

"How could you say that life is fair, knowing this was coming?" she whispered while using a stubby finger to trace the letters of her brother's name on the marble headstone. He'd just turned fifty-three when the brain tumor took him five days…

Friday's Heroes: Remembering the Fallen

Deputy Constable Mark Diebold, 48 Tarrant County Texas Constable's Office, Precinct 5 September 7, 2017 - Deputy Constable Mark Diebold suffered  fatal heart attack following tactical team qualifications. Deputy Diebold, as some of…

RJ Beam: WPA 2017 From an Instructor’s Standpoint

The 2017 Writers Police Academy marked the second time I was lucky enough to present This year I had the honor to present workshops on Blood Spatter analysis and Fingerprinting. As usual, before I started my first session I felt under prepared.…
Back in the day

Back in the Day: The Thin Blue, Black, White, and Female Line

I'm an old-timer. An "old guy" as today's cops would say when referring to me or any other long-time serving officer or retiree from law enforcement---male or female. The use of the word "guy" in this instance is not gender specific. I'm…

6 Tips For Conducting A Solid Crime Scene Investigation

The little things often go unsaid, even though those details are quite important to help make a story ring true. Yes, sometimes writers fail to capture what really goes on beyond the yellow tape, using what they've seen on TV or in the movies…
Labor Day: while you're enjoying the day off

Labor Day: While You're Enjoying The Day Off

While we gather with friends and family to enjoy backyard barbecues ... well, this ...