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!

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…
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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…
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The Johnson Vandyke Grigsbys of the World are Never Free

Depending upon which source is believed to be correct---Social Security or the census---Johnson Vandyke "Van" Grigsby was born in either February of 1888 or February of 1886, respectively. Grigsby, the son of freed slaves, however, said March…
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6 Ways to Help Your Make-Believe Evidence Collection More Believable

Proper evidence collection is a must if your protagonists have any shred of hope of winning a murder case in the fictional courtrooms you've fabricated solely from ink and paper. In fact, the only chance your DNA DA has is to present fact…
7 ways cops spot drunk drivers

8 Ways Cops Spot Drunk Drivers

The driver who turns up a fifth of Jack Black while singing Sweet Home Alabama at the top of his little redneck lungs is obviously driving while under the influence of alcohol. But what about the driver who chugs only three or four drinks before…

12 Tips To Help Your Detective Become A Real Crime-Solving Pro

Are you searching for ways to prevent the hero of your tales from becoming the bumbling, inept investigators seen on many television shows? Well, look no further. Here are a dozen tips that'll turn any fictional schmuck into a perceptive Sherlock. 1.…

Bail, Bond, or Get Out of Jail Free

When a person is arrested the court may release them under conditions commonly known as “bail.” Bail typically includes a sum of money paid to the court, a fee that's typically given back at the end of the case if the defendant follows…

A Behind the Scenes Peek at a Taboo Topic (About Cops and Romance)

Police officers face many difficult challenges during the course of their careers, challenges most people would avoid at all costs. For example, exchanging a few rounds of live ammunition with a doped-up bad guy. Or how about working really…
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Search Dogs, Search Warrants, a Search for Words, and Lies

   Writers' Police Academy Online is Pleased to Present:   "Search Dogs, Search Warrants, a Search for Words, and Lies"   When: February 27, 2021   This daylong live and interactive seminar features three renowned professionals…
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The Dark Triad: Psychopathy, Narcissism, and Machiavellianism

The “Dark Triad” refers to a group of three of negative personality traits---Psychopathy, Narcissism, and Machiavellianism. People with these traits are often cold-bloodied and insensitive, devious and manipulative. Their actions are often…
Footprints in the snow
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Making a Good First Impression: Preserving Footprints In Snow and Mud

"Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds." The familiar phrase above is actually from an ancient Greek work of Herodotus describing the Persian system of mounted…

A Riderless Horse and Bagpipes: Police Funeral Traditions

America first heard the soulful sound of bagpipes over one hundred and fifty years ago when Scottish immigrants brought their instruments to America. It was the time when the great potato famine caused a massive arrival of immigrants to the…