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!

An Officer’s Christmas Eve

Candies and cakes. Eggnog too. Turkey, ham, and stuffing. Pumpkin pie. Gingerbread and chocolate fudge.   Family and friends. A warm fire. Dancing flames. Sizzling cedar logs. Stockings hanging from above.   Family…
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The Christmas Orange

It was a Dark and Stormy Night ... I know the general rule of thumb is to not begin a tale with the weather, and I humbly apologize for violating protocol. It's just that the elements are such a crucial part of this story and, well, please…

Christmas For Jimmy Lee Bailey: A Child in Need of Love

The call---a child in need of services. What I found was a child in need of love. His house sat at the end of a hard-packed red clay path. It was a shabby structure---a notch below "shack" status--- that was clad in random lengths of mismatched…

The Twelve Nights Of Christmas Graveyard Shift

The Twelve Nights Of Graveyard Shift On the first night of graveyard my sergeant gave to me, a car-tri-idge and a cuff key. On the second night of graveyard my sergeant gave to me, two ghetto whores and a car-tri-idge and a cuff key. On…
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Serial Killers: Are You Murdering Your Stories?

Okay, you've written your first, or maybe your thirty-first, shoot-'em-up, cut-'em-up cereal serial killer novel. You're proud of the book and of all your hard work. After all, your sister's husband's best friend's mother's uncle who used to…

Writers’ Police Academy’s 2022 Guest of Honor and Special Guest Presenters

The Writers' Police Academy is pleased and excited to announce the 2022 Guest of Honor - International Bestselling author Robert Dugoni! Robert Dugoni is the critically acclaimed New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post…

Please, Don’t Shoot My Daddy!

"Help me! Please, help me." "He's got my kids ... and ... Oh, God ... He's got a gun! Hel ..." BOOM!   Silence.   "All units. Hostage situation. 212 Shady Lane. Weapons involved. Shots fired. Repeat,…
What Homicide Investigators should do

Homicide Investigators Should Do … What?

There are nearly as many different ways to approach and investigate a crime scene as there are officers standing in line each morning at coffee and/or donut establishments. I suspect their orders---chocolate-covered, glazed, bear claw, etc.---are…

10 Things A Police Officer Should Never Do

No doubt about it, police officers have a dangerous job. Sure, their training teaches them many ways to stay safe, but time passes and officers develop their own routines. Unfortunately, the "it won't happen to me" mindset often tags along with…
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Dr. Denene Lofland: Microscopic Murder

What's so interesting about microbiology? Microorganisms were here before man walked the Earth, and they'll be here after we're gone. Actually, you would find it difficult to survive without them. Some bacteria, called commensals, live in and…
Drunk Drivers at the 2013 Writers' Police Academy

Velcro, A Shiny Badge, And … Elephant Poop?

Graveyard Shift---those long and often mind-numbing hours between midnight and the time your relief signs on to take over your beat. It's boring. It's exciting. It's sleep-depriving. It's eye-opening. It's getting dressed while your significant…

From Hot Breath to Big Toes … More Cop Terminology

ASCLD - American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors. AFIS - Automated Fingerprint Identification System. Palmprint storage and search capabilities are also in place. ALPS - Automated Latent Print System. ASCLD/LAB - American Society…
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What is Buckshot?

Simply put, buckshot are projectiles. Unlike a single bullet fired from a handgun or rifle, shotgun shells contain a group of small balls (pellets) made of lead, steel, or a combination of other metals. When the shell is fired the individual…

A Cop’s Thanksgiving: Save a Drumstick for Me

Morning parade. Smiling faces. Squealing children. Marching bands.   Turkey. Pumpkin pie. Eggnog. Football.   Pistol. Badge. Vest. Kiss the kids, please. And save a drumstick for me. I'm almost…

Thanksgiving Eve: Lights in the Abandoned Warehouse

Graveyard Shift ... 0246 hours Thanksgiving Eve. Weather ... clear/full moon Location ... Abandoned factory Hwy 666 Victim ... Unknown/TBD Suspect ... Unknown/TBD "Caller reports seeing light, possibly flashlights, inside…
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Writing Shooting Scenes: How Hollow are Your Points?

"Hollow point bullets are designed to hit the animal they're being shot at, let's say a deer for example, and explode inside that body, correct?" - Prosecutor Thomas Binger, during questioning of defendant Kyle Rittenhouse in a Kenosha County,…
Gun shot wounds
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Gunshot Wounds: Are Your Stories Riddled with Hollow Points?

Experts are often asked what kind of entrance and exit wounds are produced by various types of ammunition. The rounds (bullets) in the photograph below are hollow point rounds similar in design to those fired from the pistol pictured above. This…

How to Write Killer Tales, and Music

Writing a realistic murder scene can and should be a bit difficult for most authors since they haven't killed anyone, I hope. So, if realism is the goal, as it should be at times, then research is of the utmost importance. I'm not in any…