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!

Tami Hoag to Headline Writers’ Police Academy’s December Online Seminar

As many of you know, the launch of the Writers' Police Academy's Online program was previously scheduled for October 24, 2020. However, due to a death in our family and my unexpected emergency surgery just hours after my beloved mother-in-law…
old shed

A Suicide That Wasn’t Meant To Be: Page Three of My Spiral Notebooks

Front door askew. Hanging by a single rusted hinge. Open slightly. Sunlight painted a narrow wedge of yellow on dusty plank flooring. "I heard a shot but I was too scared to look," she said. "Is Daddy in there?" "Stay back, please." Standing…

Red Alert! Writers Need Assistance

It's time to reach for the emergency switch that's hidden beneath my desk, the switch that sends out a high-voltage shock to the writers who refuse to listen to the experts. You know who you are. You sit on your couches eating popcorn while…
Using common sense when writing about cops
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10 Ways to Stop Embarrassing the Hero of Your Story

Detective I. M. Manly here, and I've stopped by today to tell you about a serious situation concerning today's protagonists. We, the heroes of your stories, have attended numerous meetings in secret, trying to figure out ways to put an end…
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No, Transient Evidence is Not Evidence Left Behind by Homeless Criminals

Research is the name of the game if a crime writer’s goal is accuracy about a particular aspect of their story, such as murder, cops, and investigations of crimes. Unfortunately, some writers avoid any and all cop-type research, believing…

Button-Zinging At The Piggly Wiggly

You've had a long night answering call after call---he-saids, she-saids, chasing a Peeping Tom through back yards and alleys, a couple of drunks arguing over a near-empty bottle of Ripple, kids spray-painting stop signs, and the guy who insisted…
Firearms malfunctions: Squibs, stovepipes

Firearm Malfunctions: Squibs, Stovepipes, and Limp-Wristing

Officer Dewey Shootornot found himself in a real pickle when he heard that all too familiar muffled "pop" at the precise moment when a pair of armed robbers chose to send a volley of bullets his way. No matter which way he turned the gun,…

Breonna Taylor: The Search Warrant – Part One

Before I begin with the content of today's article about search warrants, I'd like to take a brief moment to thank everyone for their kind words, well-wishes, support, and generous donations to the fundraiser for our daughter Ellen. She's in…
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Writers’ Police Academy’s 2020 Golden Donut Short Story Contest: The Winners

The rules were simple---write a story about the photograph above using exactly 200 words, including the title, and the image must be the main subject of the story. Shortly after the contest was announced stories then began arriving from…
Using common sense when writing about cops

Lee Child, and Using Common Sense When Writing About Cops

Today, when your keystrokes guide your police officer/detective/protagonist through the perils that go hand-in-hand with saving the world from total devastation, pause for just a moment and consider the lives of real-life officers. Do your characters…

Shift Change: The Calm Before Calamity

1140 Hours - September 18, 2020 "Slow night?" "Pretty much," Sergeant Collins said, as he leaned to the passenger seat to retrieve his hat and what was probably once a full thermos of coffee. "Same old crap over on Elm Street---" "They…
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Tami Hoag to Headline Writers’ Police Academy Online Seminar

For over a dozen years the Writers' Police Academy has delivered sensational hands-on training, as well as the extremely popular Virtual MurderCon event that took place in August, 2020. During those twelve-plus years, many writers, fans,…
Mike Roche: The positives of 911

Mike Roche: The Positive Lessons From 9/11 and Ground Zero

I was in high school when I watched the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center, open to the public. I like many others, admired the strength and dominance of the structures. They were the skyline of an eclectic city. Their absence leaves a void…

I Remember 9/11: Standing in a Spot Between Good and Evil

Where were you on September 11, 2001? That's a question I often see and hear on this day, and often in the same breath I'm told to "Never Forget." Honestly, that day is one I'll always remember. Forgetting is not an option. Not for me, anyway. I…

Cops See the Darnedest Things

Cops truly see and experience the odd, weird, and often dark side of society, and this experience is not limited to dealing with criminals and all the lovely things bad guys offer their communities. For example: The preacher who killed…
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Terms Not So Endearing: The Language of Cops, Attorneys, and Crooks

A&B: Assault and battery AKA: Also known as. Aikido: Police defensive-tactics techniques developed from this particular style of Japanese martial arts.  Abscond: To secretly leave the jurisdiction of a court or to conceal one’s…

Do Children Who Abuse Animals Grow Up To Be Serial Killers?

Let's all imagine, just for a moment, that an animal court exists where dogs and cats have the oppotunity to present evidence against their abusers. What would the Great Dane judge and mostly dachshund and corgi jury hear about the defendants?…

Citizens on Patrol: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Domestic and neighbor disputes, and traffic stops are only three circumstances where officers often face extreme danger and sometimes death. Even seemingly nonviolent situations, such as loud music complaints, serving civil process (summons…