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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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…

The Day Bugs Bunny Helped Me Crack a Case

1030 hours. Radio transmission - "Theft from jewelry store. Items taken - two diamond rings with value exceeding $10,000." Traffic stop. Weather - Sunny. 84 degrees. Reason for stop - Vehicle matched description provided by jewelry…

Lisa Black: Scambaiting 101

My next book, due out in August, deals with the people we all love to hate—scammers. Phone scammers, email scammers, Facebook message scammers. I’ve been collecting stories and facts about them for years and have tried to become what’s…

12 Reasons Why Cops Do This …

Here are answers to a few of the most often asked questions about police work. How do I become an FBI homicide investigator so I can help solve the murder cases my town? Easy answer. You can't. The FBI doesn't work local homicide cases,…

You Asked For It, and We’re Making It Happen!

The process has begun. A new website is under construction. Courses and classes are in the design stages. The first group of instructors are scheduled and, by the way, the lineup for the first daylong live and interactive seminar is absolutely…

A Writer’s Guide: Step Off the “Edge” and “Waive” Goodbye!

Do you ever find yourself searching for the perfect word(s) to help paint a scene with a bit more color and dazzle? Do your characters mumble and grumble about wanting to appear as if they know what they're doing and saying, instead of sounding…

A Writer’s Guide To Dirt Bags, Crop Dusting, and Bucket Heads

Writers often find themselves stuck, searching for just the right police terminology or phrase. Unfortunately, the answers to their questions aren't always available at a glance. You know the questions ... Are kidnapping and abduction one…
20 things bad guys

A List of 20 Last Words Before I Applied Cuffs to Their Wrists

Bad guys say the darndest things, especially when operating their mouth parts while under the influence of alcohol, coke, or meth. Here are some of the things the little darlings said to me over the years. Use your imagination to determine my…

De-Friend the Police: You and I

I wrote this back in October of 2016, long before I knew of today's turbulent times. Who knew ... You and I We grew up together, you and I. I attended kindergarten with you and your friends. I played football and freeze tag and hide…
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Paint Your Protagonist With a Realistic Brush

Good action scenes---car chases, gunfights, and exploding cars and buildings---are great at keeping readers busy turning pages. But, how does your hero survive the barrage of bullets, flames, and KABOOMS? Are you giving the star of your book…

A Detective, a Pistol, and a Car: BFFs Forever … Almost

A cop's gun. His/her sidearm. An extension of their dominate arm. It's always there for them when or if they need it, without fail. A pistol is an extremely low-maintenance friend, never asking for much in return for its dedication---a modest…
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Evelyn (“Ev”) E. Dense: A Guide To Crime Scene Investigation

Officer Willie Findem was hot on the trail of two armed robbers, running s fast as his flat feet could carry him, when he heard a woman screaming for help as he raced past a row of shotgun houses in a section of town the locals call Murder Alley. Despite…
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You. Will. Survive: Three Words That Could and Should Impact Your Writing

You. Will. Survive. Three of the most important words I heard during my entire time attending the basic police academy. Several years later it was I who was drilling the phrase into the minds of hundreds of recruits. After all, thoughts of…
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How “Stuff” Helps Detectives Solve Crimes

Much like a writer's intricately plotted tale of fictional murder and the macabre, evidence discovered at actual crime scenes also tells a story. And, with these valuable clues safely collected, bagged, and tagged, detectives set out on their…

As Discussed at Virtual MurderCon: Suicide by “Final Exit”

Before I begin, please know that this post is not an op-ed article. I'm merely presenting facts surrounding suicide investigations involving the book "Final Exit." Those of you who attended homicide Detective Jeff Locklear's presentations…

6 Ways to Transform a Boring Crime Scene into Fascinating Factual Fiction

There's nothing more boring than to read a book where the author lists a bunch of facts without any means whatsoever for us, the readers, to visualize how the crime is solved. You know the ones of which I speak ... The cop, Detective Sergeant…