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 Soldier: A Tale of Determination, Survival, and Imagination

Standing ankle deep in black, slimy swamp muck, Sgt. William “Billy” Franks paused to catch his breath and to look over his shoulder, for the umpteenth time. Nothing moving, not even a leaf. Good. The humid jungle was silent. Even…
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Cow-9 Units: Using Bovines to Track and Capture Fleeing Criminals

"Stop, or I'll release the cow!" Officer Harold "Moo" Collins, the department Cow-9 handler, yelled as the burglary suspect headed toward a wooded area after breaking free from the two patrol cops who'd apprehended the thief. The man could've…
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Using Light to Stop Mass Shooters

Short of stationing armed guards at each entrance and surrounding properties with moats stocked with aggressive crocodiles, protecting public buildings, such as shopping malls, schools, and churches, against attackers and mass shooters has become…
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Twenty-Nine Years Ago, I Looked Into the Eyes of a Serial Killer and Watched Him Die

Have you ever sat in a room designed especially for killing people, looking into the eyes of a serial murderer, watching and waiting for some sign of remorse for his crimes, wondering if he would take back what he'd done, if he could? Have…
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The New Undercover Narcotics Agent … SEWAGE?

Sewage. Now there’s a topic that typically wouldn’t pop up during intimate dinner tête-à-têtes, nor would we expect to hear grandparents, cousins, and aunts and uncles discussing it at a family holiday party. And it is not a subject that’s…
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New Writers’ Police Academy Online Class – Digital Publishing Academy

Are you interested in entering the world of digital publishing but don't know where or how to begin? Well, I'm pleased to announce and offer an exciting Writers' Police Academy Online course---Digital Publishing Academy. This class is a unique…

Read the Newsletter – 2023 Writers’ Police Academy, the FINAL Year

With the final Writers' Police Academy event rapidly approaching (June 8-11), the reality of "the end" is replaying images and clips in my mind of the past fifteen years. Much has happened during that decade and a half and those memories will…

THE END: Writers’ Police Academy’s FINAL Event – Two Registrations for the Price of One!

Yes, the time has come for us to drop the mic. It's the end. The Grand Finale. After 15 years of delivering heart pounding, hands-on excitement and helping writers learn and experience behind the scenes details about law enforcement, forensics,…
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I Found Jesus, and He Likes Chocolate Milkshakes

I found Jesus many years ago. To be precise, it was the Thursday before Easter when our face-to-face meeting took place, but our coming together did not occur in a typical place of worship or during a moment of prayer. Not even close. Instead,…

Fictional and Real-Life Officers – The Challenges of Policing in the Rain

The challenges of policing in the rain are many, but 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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Gunshot Wounds: The “Hole” Story

Shots fired from close range often leave tell-tale marks called stippling, or tattooing. Evidence of contact with hot gunpowder can be seen just above and to the sides of the "V" opening of the shirt (the soot-blackened area) in the photograph…

Furloughs: Everyone Needs A Vacation, Even Prison Inmates

Thursday nights were for doing laundry, letter writing, and shoe-shining. However, the Thursday night of this particular week was a bit different because the next day was the first of a three-day furlough for inmate I. Dunnit, 43546-045. Dunnit…

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious … BANG, You’re Dead!

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious There it is, the word sung by Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke in the movie "Mary Poppins". Now, say it out loud. Or, if you prefer, say it in reverse - dociousaliexpilisticfragicalirupes. Either way,…

2023 Writers’ Police Academy Registration Opens February 1, 2023 – Event Sponsors NEEDED!

Registration for the 2023 Writers' Police Academy (WPA) is scheduled to open February 1, 2023, at noon EST. Space is limited so please be ready to register on February 1 at noon EST. You do not want to miss this event! This, our 15th year…
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New Writers’ Police Academy Online Class – “Bring Your Narrative Problems to Lisa Unger”

This live, dynamic session is a rare and unique opportunity to present your questions to one of today’s most skilled practitioners of the psychological thriller.   New York Times and internationally bestselling author Lisa Unger offers…
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40 Police Terms, Acronyms, and Slang

Cops and bad guys often speak in unique language, and without a translator citizens sometimes feel left out of the conversation. To help you understand and to incorporate that special language into works of fiction, here are a few terms worth…

2023 Writers’ Police Academy Guest of Honor, Special Guest Presenters, Instructors, and Classes

Registration for the 2023 Writers' Police Academy (WPA) is scheduled to open February 1, 2023, at noon EST. This, our 15th year of delivering hands-on training classes and sessions taught by leading law enforcement and forensics experts, scientists,…
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Would Sir Isaac Newton Reject Your Shooting Scene?

Experts are often asked what kinds of entrance and exit wounds are produced by various types of ammunition. The answers to those questions are simple ... it depends. The rounds in the photograph below feature hollow point bullets similar…