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!

Friday's Heroes: Remembering the Fallen

Officer Garrett Hull, 40Fort Worth Texas Police DepartmentSeptember 14, 2018 - Officer Garrett Hull died as a result of a gunshot wound sustained as he and other members of the Criminal Intelligence Unit attempted to apprehend three…

Writing Small Town Police Departments: Are You Ill? Do You Have the Following Symtoms?

Since the topic today is "small town departments" and the officers who work there ... well, hold on to your hats because I'm about to make an earth shattering announcement! Ready?Here goes.Sure you're ready? Are you sitting down? Have…

Bank Robbery and Dye Packs: Curses, Foiled Again!

It was the late Hans Conried who provided the voice of Snidely Whiplash, the main antagonist of the cartoon, Dudley Do-Right of the Mounties.As a stereotypical villain, much like those portrayed in today's novels, he wore a tall black top…
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How to Properly Identify the Red, Wet Substance Called Blood

Have you ever read what you thought was a fantastic book, the kind that forces us to read into the wee hours of the morning, not wanting to stop because the writing is so doggone good? But then on page 1,617, well, there it is, the sentence…

Jerome and Crying Kids: Drugs, Not Money, are the Root of All Evil

During my earlier days a police detective, I spent a vast amount of time investigating drug crimes, typically involving large-scale narcotics activities. Most cases were those involving trafficking and sales, including pharmaceutical drugs and…

Serving a Search Warrant: Roaches, Swearing, and a Steel Stomach

Contrary to the belief of some, and to the image that's often portrayed on television, police officers cannot enter a private residence without a warrant or permission to do so. Of course there are exceptions to every rule, but the exceptions…

Friday's Heroes: Remembering the Fallen

Deputy Sheriff Aaron Roberts, 35Greene County Missouri Sheriff's OfficeSeptember 7, 2018 - After responding to a 911 call, Deputy Aaron Roberts' patrol car was swept off the roadway by rapidly moving floodwaters. Rescuers later discovered…
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Monday Morning Quarterbacks Lack Touch, Taste, Smell, and Motion

"Shots fired!""I'm hit""He's running.""I need backup.""In the alley behind Joe's Pawn Shop.""He's shooting again."Silence.Then, "Man down! Send paramedics ... NOW!"And then it starts. The looky-loos come out…

Informants: The Case of Sibling Snitchery

It was an extremely difficult and odd case, busting a woman whose brother had snitched on her to protect his own skin. Yep, threw his own flesh and blood under the bus the second the cuffs touched his wrists.It started when I'd decided to…

The Reinsch Test: Arsenic and Old ... Antimony, Bismuth and Mercury?

I think it's fairly safe to say that no one writer has enjoyed a good poison more than the "Queen of Crime," Agatha Christie. In fact, Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie knew so little about guns and ballistics that she maintained the use of…
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Why Officer Sam and Officer Pam Recall Things Differently

For the the purpose of this brief peek into the minds of police officers who enter into stressful situations such as a violent riot, or a gun battle with bullets whizzing by their heads, we'll use Officer Sam as our guinea pig. Joining…

ID Theft: When it Rains it Pours

For the second time in a short timeframe, my credit card information was stolen and used by dastardly crooks who used the numbers to make various purchases. The first time was for shopping sprees at a popular electronics outlet and a well-known…

Friday's Heroes: Remembering the Fallen

Deputy Sheriff Ben Zirbel, 40Clay County Florida Sheriff's OfficeAugust 21, 2018 - Deputy Sheriff Ben Zirbel died as a result of injuries sustained in a motorcycle crash when a pickup truck towing a trailer turned in front of him,…

Do Cops Experience Fear? Well ...

As a sheriff’s deputy, long before I made the switch to a city police department and later as a detective, I, as did my fellow wearers of the star-shaped badge, often patrolled the entire county, alone.Should a serious situation arise…

Take the Money and Run: Asset Forfeiture

Jesse James, to refresh your memories, was a Confederate sympathizer once dubbed the Robin Hood of the Americas. He was the man whose criminal gang robbed trains and banks, and committed murder as, in his mind, a means of showing support to the…
Murder: Really bugs me
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Murder Really Bugs Me: Using Creepy-Crawlers to Help Solve Crimes

Many useful items fill an investigator's toolbox---interrogations, fingerprints, footprints, informants, fibers and, well, the list goes on and on. But there's one group of extremely important tools that are often overlooked---the squiggly…

Bouchercon, A Decade Ago

Bouchercon, THE largest annual mystery party convention in the world kicks off this week in St. Petersburg, Florida. It's the place where writers and fans come together for an entire weekend. It's also the place where writers connect and re-connect…

Police Terms and Slang: Writing Believable Make-Believe

Law enforcement has a language all its own, and without a translator citizens sometimes feel left out of the conversation. Here are a few simple terms worth remembering and maybe inserting into a tale or two.Affidavit - a written statement…