Happy 5th Anniversary Graveyard Shift…And A Post About Handcuffs

Happy 5th Anniversary

Next week marks the fifth year The Graveyard Shift has been online. We’ve been through a lot together, you and I—from murder, B&E’s, and cordite, to weddings, funerals, and two U.S presidents. We’ve seen happy days, and we’ve experienced some that were, well, downright tear-jerkers. But, as a team (there are thousands of you, by the way), we’ve prevailed to begin the next five years. To celebrate, we”ll feature some of my earlier blog posts, starting with the writer’s question that set this blog in motion.

At some point between now and next Monday, the actual 5th year mark, there’ll be a fun contest where the winner will receive a free ticket for FATS training at the 2013 Writers’ Police Academy. Monday is also the day when I’ll announce the names of the 2013 WPA keynote and special guest speakers. By the way, the 2013 WPA is the largest and best we’ve ever produced.

So, I thank you all for stopping by throughout the years. I hope you’ve enjoyed The Graveyard Shift, and that you’ve found at least one article that has helped with your writing. Also, I’d like to send a special thanks to all the guest bloggers who’ve contributed to the site over the years. And, as always, I appreciate those who took the time to post comments and questions. After all, without comments I sometimes feel as if I’m at the microphone speaking to an empty room.

Oh, and here’s an extra special thank you to everyone who’s supported me by purchasing a copy of my book on police procedure. I simply cannot thank you enough.

Anyway, here’s my very first blog post.

*Remember, I never edit or proofread. What you see is always a first draft. The mistakes, well, they’re part of the fun. Perhaps one day I’ll post a “blooper” edition.

January 2008 -Blog Post #1



Each day I receive many interesting questions and comments about police procedure, CSI, and forensics. So I thought it would be fun to share my answers and experience on a Q&A blog. I welcome your questions and comments. Here’s a question I received yesterday.

Question: Do all cops use the same type of handcuffs?

Answer – The two main types of handcuffs used by law enforcement are pictured above. The top image is of a pair of chain-linked handcuffs. Most police officers prefer to carry and use chain-linked cuffs because the chain between the bracelets swivels, making the cuffs flexible and easier to apply to the wrists of combative suspects.

The lower image is of a pair of hinged cuffs. These are more commonly used when transporting prison or jail inmates. Hinged cuffs are not flexible (the hinge between the two bracelets does not swivel) which greatly reduces wrist and hand movement. This type cuff is somewhat difficult to apply to the wrists during a scuffle.

Both style cuffs operate using a ratchet and pawl locking system. Both are equipped with a second lock (double-locking) to prevent any further tightening of the ratchet which can injure the wrists of the cuffed suspect. The second lock also prevents prisoners from picking the lock.

22 replies
  1. Kathy
    Kathy says:

    Hey Lee, great post on the handcuffs. I love your blog and explanations on things. Happy 5th Anniversary to you. 🙂

  2. SZ
    SZ says:

    Congratulations ! Wow five years ? I think I was at Honda at the time in 2008 when I found your blog and have been following it since !

  3. Patti Phillips
    Patti Phillips says:

    Three years ago, I happened upon your blog while doing research for a story. I found terrific information about the tools a cop uses, as well as the life he/she leads. I was hooked. Ever since then, I have referred other writers to GYS. Great resource every single week.

    I missed that year’s WPA, but was able to get to 2011 and 2012. An event NOT to be missed by anyone serious about keeping crime fiction real.

    Bravo and thank you!

  4. Linda C. McCabe
    Linda C. McCabe says:


    Five years? Wow. It does not seem that long at all.

    Congratulations on this milestone and in creating a great community with your helpful blog. It has become a wonderful resource for writers, as are you.



  5. Terry Odell
    Terry Odell says:

    NO way. No. Friggin’ Way. Five Years? I’m not a day older than when GS started, and it can’t be five years. You have found a way to mess with time. Get out the rubber hoses and bright lights, but that’s my answer, and I’m sticking to it.

    Terry’s Place

  6. Sally Carpenter
    Sally Carpenter says:

    I also want to thank you and Melanie for the great “Castle” reviews as well, which at times are as much or more entertaining than the shows. I don’t follow many blogs, but I always enjoy reading yours. Thanks, Lee!

  7. Dave Swords
    Dave Swords says:

    Congratulations on the anniversary, Lee. It’s hard to believe it’s been five years. There are probably less than 10 days in that time that I’ve missed the GYS.

    It’s been a great success, and I know how hard you work to make it interesting every day, in addition to everything else you do.

    Keep at it, for our sake.

  8. Mel Parish
    Mel Parish says:

    I’m a relative newcomer to your blog – since the WPA in Sept – but I’d like to thank you for providing such a valuable resource to writers. And as for thanking us for buying your book on police procedure, I think we owe you far more thanks for producing such a informative and enjoyable read – I can’t remember the last time I read a non-fiction book which I would describe as a page-turner!

  9. Wil A. Emerson
    Wil A. Emerson says:

    A pure joy….each and everyone, even the boo hoos because they are full of real life stuff–without the ups and downs, we’d all be flatlined! So thanks, Lee, for sharing your time, experience and wisdom…five or ten more will be fine with me!
    Cheers, Wil

  10. Rick M
    Rick M says:

    Wow! Five years. Congrats Lee. A lot of great info for writers and writing (and of course the ever memorable CASTLE reviews).

  11. Jodie
    Jodie says:

    Here’s to another five years. I work close to a police station, and I noticed that the officers and detectives typically carry a duffle bag. I also noticed the uniformed officers do not arrive in their uniforms. So, Lee, can you tell us what’s in those duffle bags and why they don’t wear their uniforms?

  12. Sandra Orchard
    Sandra Orchard says:

    Happy Anniversary, Lee. This is such an awesome blog and I really appreciate all you’ve shared with us over the past 5 years–makes me look smart when I rattle off some little known thing (at least to non-law-enforcement people) to someone else, LOL. I look forward to many more interesting posts to come. 🙂

  13. Holly McClure
    Holly McClure says:

    Happy anniversary, and thanks for a very valuable resource to writers. Some times it’s informative, sometimes it makes me cry, but it’s always good. And your first drafts are more polished than many edited manuscripts I see. Keep up the good work.

  14. Janis Patterson
    Janis Patterson says:

    Hinged cuffs are also incredibly heavy. I wanted a pair to use as a belt buckle, but they were just too much weight, so I had to settle for the chain-type. Unfortunately, the resulting belt is now reserved solely for my MWA meetings as out in the world it drew too many unusual looks and comments!

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