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!

South Africa

South Africa

Fire up the Land Rover, grab your pith helmet, and practice your best Tarzan yells because this week's Weekend Road Trip takes us to beautiful South Africa. Mystery/romance author Terry Odell was kind enough to lead the way through…
Laser Radar

Laser Radar

 Laser radar sends a quick burst of infrared light to a speeding car. The light is reflected back and the unit calculates, in nanoseconds, how long it took for the light to travel in each direction. Then, the unit transposes the information…
Radar Love

Doppler Radar

 Radar is an acronym for radio detection and ranging.  Doppler radar units, like the one pictured above, emit a continuous frequency that bounces off a moving object, such as a car or truck. The radar unit receives the reflected signal…
If the Shoe Fits

If The Shoe Fits - Impression Evidence

Detectives look pretty darn silly walking into court carrying a pair of plaster footprints. But, footprint and tire impressions can be extremely helpful to an investigator's case. They're especially helpful when the casts are a perfect…
Morgue 2

The Morgue - Part Two

Our tour of the morgue continues with a peek into the autopsy room where we'll examine some of the tools of the trade. If your stomach holds up we'll even have a glimpse of the star of the show, a murder victim.The photograph above is of…
Hike in Olympic Mountains

San Juan Islands

 Another week has passed and crime still marches on. However, it's time for us to sign 10-7 ( out of service), pack the car, and head out of town for a little R&R. Our Weekend Road Trip this week takes us to Washington state in…
Morgue

The Morgue

Death investigations are conducted by both the police and medical examiners or coroners. Each jurisdiction determines whether or not they have a coroner or medical examiner. A coroner is an elected official and may or may not be a medical doctor.…
Patrol Car: Mobile Office

Patrol Cars

   Patrol cars serve many purposes. Obviously, they're an officer's means of transportation, but they're also used as mobile offices, equipment haulers, cover during gun battles, barricades, emergency warning devices,…

Speed Loaders

In the days before semi-automatics took center stage in the world of law enforcement, police officers carried revolvers as their weapons of choice. Cowboys called them six-shooters, and gun buffs often refer to them as wheel guns. Shooting…
How and Why Folks Die

How and Why Folks Die

 The Graveyard Shift welcomes Dr. D.P. Lyle as today's guest expert. D. P. Lyle, MD is the Macavity Award winning and Edgar Award nominated author of the non-fiction books Murder and Mayhem: A Doctor Answers Medical and…
Mt. St. Helens

Mt. St. Helens

 After a long week of playing cops and robbers, it's finally time to take a day off from fighting crime. I promise I'll have you back in time for Dr. D.P. Lyle's appearance here on The Graveyard Shift on Monday.Now, sit back, relax,…
Booking Station

Booking Stations

  The days of the ten print fingerprint card are almost over. No longer will police officers have to smear ink on a suspect's fingertips  to transfer his prints to a paper card. Many departments have switched to computerized…
Chicago Typewriter

Thompson Sub-Machine Gun

 This is what it looks like to peer down-range from behind a Thompson fully-automatic submachine gun. You can actually see a spent cartridge ejecting at the lower right-hand side of the picture, just above the major's right elbow.The…
Traffic stop: check your knowledge

Traffic Stops

 During a traffic stop, officers go through almost every emotion imaginable, from the moment they activate their blue lights until the stop has reached its end. They never know what to expect. Is the driver wanted for a crime? Is he…
Police Dogs and How they Operate

Police Dogs

Dogs used by police agencies are trained for specific purposes, and the breed of the dog normally determines the duty assigned to it. Strong, aggressive breeds such as German Shepherds and Rottweilers are normally chosen as patrol dogs.…
Jail Cell

Holding cell

 Yesterday, the handcuff topic led to some new questions. Beth asked, "How do you safely remove the handcuffs?"My answer to her was, "Officers have the suspect step inside a holding cell and then close and lock the door behind…
Handcuffs

Handcuffs

 Each day I receive many interesting questions and comments about police procedure, CSI, and forensics. I thought it would be fun to share my answers and experience on a Q&A blog.  I welcome your questions and comments.Question:…