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!

Recipe for Death: A 4x4 Truck and an Angry, Drunk Boyfriend

Like all patrol officers and police detectives, I've seen a lot of horror. The real-life kind, though. Not the kind that sprouted from an idea that once lived in a dark, dank corner of Stephen King's twisted mind. Sadly, quite a bit of the…

The Ghost Gun of Santa Clarita: How Crooks and Kids Make Firearms

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has indeed confirmed that the .45-caliber handgun used in the Santa Clarita, California school shooting was what is commonly referred to as "ghost gun," a homemade, unserialized firearm. The…

Hardhat in the Belly of the Beasts: My First Day as a Corrections Officer

Thinking back to the days prior to working in law enforcement I recall the intense desire to become a police officer. I especially wanted to work in a sheriff's office. However, openings in the local sheriff's office were as scarce as hen's…

From Ellen, Our Daughter

It's me again. Many of you know me through my dad and by way of the Writers’ Police Academy. Most of you, however, know me from the tragic events of my life. As many of you are aware, I was diagnosed with Endometrial Cancer and underwent…

Bar Fight!

Working the graveyard shift on weekend nights comes with a special worry ... closing time of local bars. Before streets and highways become obstacle courses for pin-balling drunk drivers, comes last calls and the traditional bar fights. And,…

Escape from Dementia: I Want To Go Home

Sometimes we catch calls that grab us by the gut and then pull and tug until our emotions are ripped from their roots. This was one of those calls. I Want To Go Home “I want to go home. I want to go home. I. Want. To. Go. Home.” “Those…
Age Prediction based on bodily fluids

Lucky Thomas: Probable Cause And Collard Greens, A Recipe For Arrest

Lucky Thomas got himself nabbed by a day-shift flatfoot after his latest job, a quick little "in-and-out" B&E of Linda's Ammo Depot. The eager copper spied Lucky climbing out of Linda's office window with a bag of "goodies" in hand.…
Patrick Swayze

The Night I Became Patrick Swayze

I was thumbing through a stack of offense reports, the crimes that had occurred during the previous overnight hours, when the owner of a nightclub showed up at my office door. His business had a widely-known reputation for rowdy bar fights,…

A Cop's Thanksgiving: Save a Drumstick for Me

Morning parade. Smiling faces. Squealing children. Marching bands. Turkey. Pumpkin pie. Eggnog. Football. Pistol. Badge. Vest. Kiss the kids, please. And save a drumstick for me. I'm almost home.   Family. Traveling. Traffic. Bumper-to-bumper. Smiling…
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Officer, Please Button Your Shirt and Zip Up Your Pants!

Working the graveyard shift was always a thorn in my side, and the reason for the ill will boiled down to the simple fact that I like to sleep when the rest of the humans I know are sleeping. Yes, I too, like to go to bed when the moon is in…

Evidence Collection: Paper, Plastic, or ... ?

There's more to evidence collection than merely bagging and tagging bloody clothing and spent bullet casings. Crime scene techs are highly trained, skilled members of police agencies and forensic laboratories who more often than not provide…
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A Tiny Bit of Carpet Fiber Led to the Capture a Serial Killer

Investigating a murder can be, and often is, a methodical and meticulous slow-grind of information gathering. It's knocking on many doors, speaking with countless numbers of people, digging in the dirt and leaves and mud, pawing through mounds…
Dead Guy

Blood, and It's Mine!: Page 447 Of My Spiral Notebooks

Busy night. Long night. Tired. Robbery. Domestic. Juveniles. Drunk driver. Break time. Coffee. Need coffee. Window down. Night air. Cool. Damp. Traffic light. Winking red. Right turn. Skinny…

Cop Details That'll Help Your Stories Zing with Realism: What's in Your Underwear?

It's often the tiniest of details that'll pique a reader's interest in your work. Those elements, by design, just might make a lasting fan out of someone who recognizes that you've done your homework, and that you know how to subtly weave fact…

Stop and Frisk - A Legal Practice, Yes or No?

Stop and Frisk has once again worked its way into the news by way of politics, with a presidential candidate apologizing for the use of the practice in a city where he once served as mayor. Those stops, he once vehemently argued, were necessary…
Footprints in the snow
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Making a Good First Impression: Preserving Footprints In Snow and Mud

"Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds." The familiar phrase above is actually from an ancient Greek work of Herodotus describing the Persian system of mounted…

Deputy Sheriffs: They're Just Cops Who Wear Different Uniforms, Right?

Many of us had our first real look at a sheriff's office back in 1960 when Andy Taylor and his fearless deputy, Barney Fife, patrolled the roads in and around Mayberry, N.C. Television took us inside the Mayberry jail, the courthouse, and…
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Is the Killer in Your Tale a Plotter or a Pantser?

Writers generally fall into one of two categories, panthers or plotters. Writers, you share these traits with killers, and this could be the reason your books are so devilishly delightful. The Plotter A plotter starts each writing project…