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!

Takin' Bacon

Takin' Bacon: The Big Investigation - A True Story

This "tale" returns per a request I received from a writer. She said a friend had once heard me tell the story during a presentation at the New England Crime Bake several years ago and she wanted to hear it from me. Well, since it's rare that…
Mother would call it a ministry
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A Powerful Message About the Writers' Police Academy: "My Mother Would Call It A Ministry; Something God-Given"

Cops are a unique breed. They dress differently. They speak differently. They're in a class all to themselves, and it's a "Members Only" sort of group where those on the outside looking in often don't understand what it is that officers do and…
Undercover in the 70's
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Baby Hold On Because You're Just What I Needed ... in the 70's: Dig it?

"Wash your hands thoroughly, man. You don't want none of that pot leaking through your skin and messing with your head, you know.""Stop freakin' out, Ralph. Mary Jane doesn't do that," said Detective Captain Kangaroo. " You're thinking of…
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A Drug Dealer, Undercover Ops, Entrapment, and the Future of the Writers' Police Academy

Last week my wife Denene and I traveled to North Carolina to be with her mother during yet another surgery (you may recall that she and our daughter were each diagnosed, just weeks apart, with serious cancer). Her surgery went well and she's…
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Writers or Cops: Who's Better Trained?

Police officers must attend training academies where they learn the basics of the job. In Virginia, for example, it is required that new officers receive a minimum of 480 hours of basic academy training that includes (to name only a few subjects):…
Mike Roche: The positives of 911

Mike Roche: The Positive Lessons From 9/11 and Ground Zero

I was in high school when I watched the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center, open to the public. I like many others, admired the strength and dominance of the structures. They were the skyline of an eclectic city. Their absence leaves a void…

I Remember 9/11: Standing in a Spot Between Good and Evil

Where were you on September 11, 2001? That's a question I often see and hear on this day. And often in the same breath I'm told to "Never Forget." Honestly, that day is one I'll always remember. Forgetting is not an option. Not for me, anyway.I…

10 Things You Shouldn't Say To The Police

Cops are often the target for some pretty nasty verbal ammunition. In fact, they endure some things that would make the average person explode into a fit of rage. But police officers have to stand there and take it. It's part of the job, unfortunately.And…

5 Dumb Crooks of the Day

Most cops have dealt with a few criminals who aren't, well, you know, playing with a full deck. They're not the sharpest knives in the drawers. One donut short of a full dozen.Some of these intelligence-challenged folks, bless their hearts,…

Cooking With Cops: Sweet Potato Biscuits

Okay, folks, the weekend's here so it's time to step outside the crime scene tape, put away the fingerprint powders and brushes, and relax. And what better way to kick back than to whip up something tasty in the kitchen? So here's one of my…
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Adrenaline: A Cop's Friend or Foe?

The pursuit ended when the fleeing felon crashed his car in a roadside ditch. Both he and a passenger hopped out and began running toward an open field. The passenger turned right at a stand of maple trees. The driver hooked left, aiming for…
Blood, and it's mine

Blood, and It's Mine!

Busy night.Long night.Tired.Robbery.Domestic.Juveniles.Drunk driver.Break time.Coffee.Sounds good.Window,Down.Night air,Cool,Damp.Traffic light.Winking,Red.Right turn.Skinny…

Prison Cooking: Cake in the Crotch - A Dessert to Die For!

It's certainly no secret that jail and prison food can be absolutely disgusting. Therefore, it is also no surprise when prisoners take it upon themselves to upgrade the quality of their daily cuisine.They do so by using items purchased from…
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 ...

Railroad Bridges: Where Flesh and Blood Meet Water

The James River, like most major rivers in Virginia, flows west to east. And like the other larger rivers in the Commonwealth, was a barrier to Union army soldiers during their quests to move deeper into the south.On Dec. 7, 1864, a few…
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Kidnapping and Murder: The Night Was Dark, But Not Stormy

Elmore Leonard's rules of writing are, of course, excellent guidelines.Never open a book with weather. Avoid prologues. Never use a verb other than "said" to carry dialogue. Never use an adverb to modify the verb "said"…he admonished…

On the Dumb End of the Leash: Going to School With My Dog

It's been well over two decades since I and my narcotics K-9 partner attended our first day of school. We'd spend the next sixteen weeks together learning how to locate hidden drugs. However, my new partner was no stranger to the job since he'd…

The Language of Law Enforcement: Acronyms and Texting Codes

It's sometimes difficult for the public to decipher the 10-Codes used by police agencies, 10-4?To add to the confusion, there are hundreds of acronyms. To name only a few:ACU - Asian Crimes Unit ADW - Assault with a Deadly Weapon AFIS…