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!

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Are You Killing Your Cop Stories?

The writer, a lovely woman who writes as Esther Neveredits and who shares her office with seven cats of various sizes and personalities, opened the first chapter of her first book with the following passage. "Detective Barney Catchemall followed…
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A Cop's Nighttime Melody: Sounds of the Graveyard Shift

Many writers have never, not once, set foot inside a police car, nor have they climbed out of bed at 11 p.m. to swap pajamas for a police uniform, Kevlar vest, gun belt, sidearm, and spit-shined shoes. And they've not headed out into the night…

Avoiding an Ambush Situation: Don't be a Target!

"Shots fired! Officer down! We're taking rounds from somewhere but we don't know where! It's a set up. Send help. Now!" Ambush. It's a nightmare scenario for police officers, and it's a nightmare that's difficult to predict. It's also a nightmare…
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Working the Graveyard Shift: Feral Dogs, Mannequins, and Lula Mae

It's four in the morning and fatigue is tugging hard on your eyelids. It's a subtle move, like grasping the string on one of your grandmother's window shades, slowly pulling it down. The move, so gracefully executed by the Sand Man, is such…
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Five Questions: A Thursday Cop and Crime-Scene Quiz for Writers

Okay, today is quiz day here at The Graveyard Shift. So sharpen your pencils (we're not high tech), take a seat at your desks, and then you may begin. Miranda. Yes or No? Johnny I. Lawbreaker was arrested at the scene of a burglary. A…

The Bare Minimum: Police Academy Basic Firearms Training

Police academy training can be extremely intense at times. And, in most training academies the major source of a recruit's stress stems from  knowing they must successfully complete the program to remain employed with their departments. Anything…

Crime Rate is Down, Up, or Unchanged: The "Fudge Factor"

We've all seen, heard, or read about crime stats and their comparisons to previous years, such as the number of homicides committed in 2018 as opposed to those committed in 2017. These are the numbers used by elected officials, and others,…

It's Hammer Time! - Weapons Most Often Used to Kill

Last year in the U.S., according to FBI stats, over 14,000 people were murdered. That's more than the total number of residents who live in the wonderful city of Half Moon Bay, California, one of my favorite places. The seaside there is absolutely…
I Found Rocky (Roxanne) Raccoon on Talahi Island, Georgia

Weekend Road Trip: I Found Rocky (Roxanne) Raccoon on Talahi Island, Georgia

There's certainly no shortage of beauty around Savannah---the waterfront, ghost tours, spectacular architecture, ships, and, well, I could go on and on. But there are a few hidden treasures you won't see unless you travel a bit off the beaten…

Pigs in a Blanket and Other Short and Twisted Cop Tales

Pigs in a blanket. Winter night, toasty and warm. Hot cocoa, donuts. Sirens and blue lights. Miles of blacktop pass beneath. Robber, on the run.   Canine, growls and snarls. Teeth, pointed, sharp, menacing. Bad…
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First to Break the Barriers: Brave Women Who Wore the Sheriff's Star

It was just over 100 years ago---Sunday May 4th, 1919---when Lafayette County, Missouri Sheriff Joseph Caldwell Talbott, Deputy John McDonald, and Deputy Constable James Stapleton were shot and killed while transporting three auto theft suspects…

The Party Crashers: Demise and the Mortis Triplets - Algor, Livor, and Rigor

You're in the prime of your life and you love to throw those crazy parties, the kind guests rave about for months afterward. They love that your backyard is a giant Slip-n-Slide hosed down by a fountain of beer. That you hire the best DJs with…

Brain Injury and Crime

The basics of home electrical wiring are fairly straightforward--- the hot (“live”) wire delivers power (120 volts) to lights, receptacles, etc. and is easily identified by its covering of black sheathing; the white-colored wire is the neutral…

A Burglar's Helper: Yes, It's You!

Sure, your brand new TV was expensive. So was your kid's Xbox and your husband's collection of solid gold and diamond-studded Three Stooges bobble-heads. I know, you locked all your doors and every window latch was tightly secured before you…
Discovering who killed Kenny

Discovering Who Killed Kenny Leads to a Perfect Setting

Ah, the mind of a mystery writer. Always contemplating the simpler things in life, like car chases, explosions, and murder. For me, there's nothing better than to open a book and instantly feel as if I've been transported to another world,…

Follow Me To The Grave

"I'm stopping a vehicle on Highway 68 northbound, just past exit 142. Black Dodge Charger, Virginia registration T-Tango, X-X-ray, P-Paul, 444. Two occupants." "10-4, 2122. Do you want a 10-28, 29 on that vehicle?" "10-4." "Stand-by.…
cops and guns. are you using the right terminology

Cops and Guns: Are You Using "Selective Research?"

Writers are hard workers. It's not an easy task to reach into the brain to pull out and assemble just enough details from the swirling mass of ideas located there in order to create an entire world along with a bunch of individual characters…

NCIC: What It Is and How it's Used

The National Crime Information Center (NCIC) is one of the most vital tools available to law enforcement officers. Sure, they need the basics---firearms, pepper spray, handcuffs, patrol cars, vests, good shoes, exercise programs, eating well,…