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!

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…

Protecting an Informant’s Identity: Who’s in Their Fireplace?

A Confidential Informant (CI) is a person who, while acting under the direction and control of a law enforcement handler(s), sometimes plays a participatory role in a criminal investigation. Since CIs are typically known to be involved…

What and Who are Confidential Informants, and What Do They Do?

Confidential Informant - a person who provides information to police about criminal activity. The FBI, of course, conducts undercover operations, as needed, and they do so when such operation appears to be an effective means of obtaining…

The Murder Case of Mollie Tibbetts – Then and Now: A Fox News Interview with Me

The murder trial for Cristhian Bahena Rivera, the man accused of murdering Iowa college student Mollie Tibbetts in July 2018, opened today. Prosecutors say blood found on the trunk of Rivera's car, and DNA recovered from trunk lining both…

Time to Process and Grieve

Due to the passing of our daughter, Ellen, I will be out of the office for another week. Denene and I need time to ourselves to process this heartbreaking and devastating loss. I cannot begin to express how much I miss her. Ellen was a Daddy's…
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Shoot ‘Em in the Arm or Leg?

Police officers are not trained to shoot to kill, nor do they shoot to wound. Again, officers are not taught to kill. I know, the recent death of George Floyd was extremely disturbing, but the actions of the officers involved are NOT the result…

Shoot to Kill or to Wound? The Answer May Surprise You

Police officers are not trained to shoot to kill, nor do they shoot to wound. That, my friends, is the answer to the question. And NO, police officers do not fire warning shots into the air. Why not? Because there's way of knowing where that…
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Where is Derek Chauvin?

The criminal trial is over but the story of George Floyd and Derek Chauvin will continue for many years to come. Chauvin was found guilty of all charges relating to Floyd's death, including 2nd degree murder, and after being led from the…

The Day Uneducated Men Fell From the Sky: A Writing Faux-Pas

It was five years ago when Emily, my second cousin and daughter of my first cousin Shelley, was assigned to write a paper about D-Day for history class. Wanting to do her absolute best, Emily set out on a fact-finding mission for the project…

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…
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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…
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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,…