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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The 2022 Writers’ Police Academy Website is LIVE!

The much-anticipated day has arrived. Yes, The 2022 Writers' Police Academy Website is LIVE, and it's your first look at the exciting lineup of hands-on training classes available at the 2022 Writers' Police Academy. As always, we've assembled…

Rain is Not a Cop’s Friend

The challenges of policing in the rain are many and before I introduce you to them, there's this ... Rain and Mud Rain Mud Muck Delightful, they are not.   When it's you, who Must roll and fight In slop and goo To…
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Meth, Murder, and a Good Day To Pick Cotton

Over forty years ago I'd made the entry in my notebook. I found my handwriting to be a bit difficult to read on some of the yellowing pages---the result of quickly-written memos then, and failing eyesight today. But I was able to make out the…
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Burglary: It’s Not Robbery

Before we dive headfirst into the real meat of this article, let's first begin with a bit of background regarding the crimes of burglary and robbery. Otherwise, those of you who use social media sites and/or watching TV news and crime dramas…

Madam Zelda’s Predictions for 2022, the CDC Edition

Each year, as the final days of December reach their end, I travel to a secret location where I meet with my friend Madam Zelda to learn her predictions for the coming year. The mysterious clairvoyant is so good at what she does that she’s…

An Officer’s Christmas Eve

Candies and cakes. Eggnog too. Turkey, ham, and stuffing. Pumpkin pie. Gingerbread and chocolate fudge.   Family and friends. A warm fire. Dancing flames. Sizzling cedar logs. Stockings hanging from above.   Family…
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The Christmas Orange

It was a Dark and Stormy Night ... I know the general rule of thumb is to not begin a tale with the weather, and I humbly apologize for violating protocol. It's just that the elements are such a crucial part of this story and, well, please…

Christmas For Jimmy Lee Bailey: A Child in Need of Love

The call---a child in need of services. What I found was a child in need of love. His house sat at the end of a hard-packed red clay path. It was a shabby structure---a notch below "shack" status--- that was clad in random lengths of mismatched…

The Twelve Nights Of Christmas Graveyard Shift

The Twelve Nights Of Graveyard Shift On the first night of graveyard my sergeant gave to me, a car-tri-idge and a cuff key. On the second night of graveyard my sergeant gave to me, two ghetto whores and a car-tri-idge and a cuff key. On…
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Serial Killers: Are You Murdering Your Stories?

Okay, you've written your first, or maybe your thirty-first, shoot-'em-up, cut-'em-up cereal serial killer novel. You're proud of the book and of all your hard work. After all, your sister's husband's best friend's mother's uncle who used to…

Writers’ Police Academy’s 2022 Guest of Honor and Special Guest Presenters

The Writers' Police Academy is pleased and excited to announce the 2022 Guest of Honor - International Bestselling author Robert Dugoni! Robert Dugoni is the critically acclaimed New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post…

Please, Don’t Shoot My Daddy!

"Help me! Please, help me." "He's got my kids ... and ... Oh, God ... He's got a gun! Hel ..." BOOM!   Silence.   "All units. Hostage situation. 212 Shady Lane. Weapons involved. Shots fired. Repeat,…
What Homicide Investigators should do

Homicide Investigators Should Do … What?

There are nearly as many different ways to approach and investigate a crime scene as there are officers standing in line each morning at coffee and/or donut establishments. I suspect their orders---chocolate-covered, glazed, bear claw, etc.---are…

10 Things A Police Officer Should Never Do

No doubt about it, police officers have a dangerous job. Sure, their training teaches them many ways to stay safe, but time passes and officers develop their own routines. Unfortunately, the "it won't happen to me" mindset often tags along with…
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Dr. Denene Lofland: Microscopic Murder

What's so interesting about microbiology? Microorganisms were here before man walked the Earth, and they'll be here after we're gone. Actually, you would find it difficult to survive without them. Some bacteria, called commensals, live in and…
Drunk Drivers at the 2013 Writers' Police Academy

Velcro, A Shiny Badge, And … Elephant Poop?

Graveyard Shift---those long and often mind-numbing hours between midnight and the time your relief signs on to take over your beat. It's boring. It's exciting. It's sleep-depriving. It's eye-opening. It's getting dressed while your significant…

From Hot Breath to Big Toes … More Cop Terminology

ASCLD - American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors. AFIS - Automated Fingerprint Identification System. Palmprint storage and search capabilities are also in place. ALPS - Automated Latent Print System. ASCLD/LAB - American Society…
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What is Buckshot?

Simply put, buckshot are projectiles. Unlike a single bullet fired from a handgun or rifle, shotgun shells contain a group of small balls (pellets) made of lead, steel, or a combination of other metals. When the shell is fired the individual…