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!

Forensic Psychiatry, Murder, LAPD Lipstick, and Memorable Characters  

As always, it is the goal of all Writers' Police Academy events---WPA, MurderCon, and the all new Writers' Police Academy Online courses---to deliver exceptional programs designed to help authors achieve their goals. We're able to do so because…

Killers on the Block: James Ruppert and Timothy Bradford

Hamilton, Ohio - Easter Sunday, March 30, 1975---probably sometime near the time of day you're reading this article, James Ruppert was in the process of killing his entire family. James was an excellent marksman so there was no better way…
Search Warrants - The Other Side of the Door

Search Warrants: The World “Behind The Door”

Ah, the search warrant. Many rookie officers can't wait to go on their first door-kicking, battering-ram-bashing, and flash-bang-tossing raid. Beats writing traffic tickets, right? After all, what good is that training and equipment if you…

An Aluminum Shampoo and a Shocking Experience … OUCH!

Times sure are a-changin'. Why, I remember the days when we cops carried only our sidearms, handcuffs, a portable radio that only worked when you were near civilization, and a leather SAP or blackjack to help fight off people who wanted to do…
,

You Know You’re Officially a Crime Writer When …

What is it that sets writers of crime fiction apart from, well, everyone else in the entire world? Could it be that ... 1. The worst murder scene in the world pales in comparison with the thoughts roaming through your mind at any given moment…

Piling On, Restraint Asphyxia, and Excited Delirium: The Death of George Floyd

Superhuman strength, aggression, violence, paranoia, yelling, bizarre behavior, and hyperthermia. Those are some of the symptoms of a person in a state of Excited Delirium, a condition that can, especially when combined with drug use, result…

The FBI is for the Birds!

Did you know ... The FBI maintains an Anonymous Letter File. The file is searchable and contains images of anonymous and threatening letters. Letters may be examined and compared to those from other cases. Original documents are preserved…
,

The Exclusionary Rule & Fruit of the Poisonous Tree

The Exclusionary Rule keeps police officers in check while conducting searches. It prevents prosecutors from presenting illegally obtained evidence. The rule states that any evidence siezed during an improper search cannot be used, no matter…

Secrets of the Graveyard Shift: The Experts Behind the Scenes

Today I'd like to take a moment to recognize some of the people who work tirelessly behind the scenes of this blog. Yes, this site has tons of moving parts that require many creative minds and many hands to turn the dials, push the buttons,…

You Can’t Arrest Me ‘Cause I’m a Woman, and Here’s Your Chicken

Crooks say the darndest things, especially when operating their mouth parts while under the influence of alcohol, coke, and/or meth. Here are some (only a few) of the things the little darlings said to me over the years. Use your imaginations…

The Language of Cops & Crime Scene Investigators

The language of cops and crime scene investigators is certainly something that can be incorporated into works of fiction for an added layer of realism. Of course, the writer's work shouldn't read like a law enforcement dictionary, but the use…

Miranda and Lying Cops: Do As I Say, Not As I Do

Those of you who've visited this site over the years know that cordite is a big NO and that cops are NOT required to spout off Miranda rights the second they apply handcuffs to the wrists of an offender. You do remember those two points, right? For…

MurderCon 2021: The Fabulous Lineup of Classes and Presenters

From the start of the Writers' Police Academy over a dozen years ago, we've taken writers inside the typically closed world of law enforcement, forensics, EMS, and firefighting. We've introduced you to world-renowned experts. We've helped establish…
,

Qualified Immunity: A Get Out of Jail Free Card for Police?

“Qualified immunity balances two important interests—the need to hold public officials accountable when they exercise power irresponsibly and the need to shield officials from harassment, distraction, and liability when they perform their…

The Complacency Monkey Shares Street Survival Tips for Officers

Law Enforcement. The job is dangerous, no doubt about it. Driving at high speeds. Guns. Bullets. Knives. Fights. Bombs. Well, you get the idea. So what can officers, fictional or real, do to stay safe in a world where bad guys have no problem…

An 18-Step Guide to Homicide Investigations, and Virtual MurderCon 2021

You're working patrol on the west side, the crime hub of your area, with thirty minutes to go on your last graveyard shift of the month. And, as your typical run of bad luck would have it, the only type of luck you've ever known, you catch the…

Don’t Pet the Peeve: 8 Facts About Police Detectives You’re Probably Not Getting Right

Have you ever wondered what real-life investigators think about your detective characters? Well... 1. On their days off, fictional detectives enjoy ... wait, those guys never have any down time. None. I remember working a murder case where…

Miss Evelyn, R.D. (Root Doctor) and the Grave Robbers

An assignment working homicide cases is, without a doubt, a first class ticket to the bizarre and all things macabre. Cops who investigate murders for a living see it all, from poisonings to gunshot wounds to decapitation by sword. The list…