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!

There’s a Head in the Bucket, Dear Taylor, a Head

On February 23, 2022, Officer Alex Wanish of the Green Bay, WI police department, responded to a rather grisly call after a woman called to report the discovery of her son's severed head in a plastic bucket. During their investigation, law…
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A Beaver Tale: How NOT To Leave Fingerprints At Crime Scenes

"Hey, Sarge," said Officer Trevor "Curly" Barnes. "Would you do me a favor and see if you can get a clear set of prints from this guy? I've tried three times and all I get are smudges. I must be out of practice, or something." "You rookies…

Non-Fatal Shootings are Failed Homicides

In the film Dirty Harry, Clint Eastwood's character Inspector Harry Callahan engaged in a shootout with armed bank robbers. When the shooting stopped, and there was lots of it, Harry approached a wounded robber who locked eyes with Harry while…
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First it Was SpongeBob, Now it’s Satan: Mothers Murdering Their Kids

Last week I wrote about twenty-two-year-old Justine Johnson of Iosco County, Michigan, who told police investigators the fictional cartoon character SpongeBob ordered her to kill her daughter Sutton Mosser. Police did indeed find the…
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4 Rules of Factual Cop Fiction: Avoid Writing a Stinky Story!

Realism in fiction is important, when it's needed and when placed in the proper context. The ability to weave fact into fiction is a must. But writers must have a firm grasp of what's real and what's made-up before attempting to use reality…

2022 Writers’ Police Academy Registration is OPEN … again!

After several days of downtime for an unexpected website redo, the 2022 Writers' Police Academy registration is once again OPEN! We apologize for any inconvenience. We invite you to join us for THE most exciting writer event of the year. And…
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SpongeBob Orders Mother to Kill Her Child

If only the title of this blog piece were as ridiculous as it sounds. Unfortunately, it is not. Twenty-two-year-old Justine Johnson of Iosco County, Michigan told police investigators she had received and carried out orders from the fictional…

Meet the 2022 Writers’ Police Academy Instructors

It is with great pleasure that I introduce you to an esteemed group of experts, the instructors and presenters of the 2022 Writers' Police Academy. Detective Nichole Crocker Nichole is presently assigned as a detective with the Oconto…
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A Preview of the Exciting 2022 Writers’ Police Academy Classes

A well-written book engages a reader's emotions, as well as each of their five senses---touch, sight, hearing, smell, and taste. To do so, writers must call upon their own experiences to breathe life into their characters, setting, and actions. Crime…

Writers’ Police Academy: A Deep and Heartfelt “Thank You” to Our Generous Supporters

To Our Treasured Sponsors On behalf of the Writers' Police Academy, I'd like to take a moment to personally extend a deep and heartfelt “Thank You” to the generous supporters who make it possible to produce this one of a kind, thrilling…
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Shopping at a SuperMax Prison: USP Florence ADMAX

With grocery list in hand and coupons arranged by order of item location in store aisles, it's time to go Shopping at a Federal SuperMax Prison: USP Florence ADMAX. As you pass by the deli counter you  remember back to just a few weeks ago,…
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Use of Passive Voice in Law Enforcement is a Bad Idea

Writers understand that active voice is when the subject of a sentence performs the action represented by the verb. The bank robber counted the loot. In the sentence above, the robber is the subject who performed the action (counted). Passive…
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Firefights and a Massacre: Real-World Horror

Today, I'm featuring three podcasts that will take you behind the scenes of real-world law enforcement. Each session is a goldmine of information for crime fiction writers---dialog, slang, emotions, first-hand accountings of life or death situations,…

Writers’ Police Academy Announces Winners of the 2021 Golden Donut Short Story Contest

The contest rules were simple, write a complete story about the photo pictured above. The twist? Each story must be written using exactly 200 words. No more, no less. "Don't" is two words. "OMG" is three words. "Smith-Jones" is two words. And…
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The 2022 Writers’ Police Academy Website is LIVE!

The much-anticipated day has arrived. Yes, The 2022 Writers' Police Academy Website is LIVE, and it's your first look at the exciting lineup of hands-on training classes available at the 2022 Writers' Police Academy. As always, we've assembled…

Rain is Not a Cop’s Friend

The challenges of policing in the rain are many and 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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Meth, Murder, and a Good Day To Pick Cotton

Over forty years ago I'd made the entry in my notebook. I found my handwriting to be a bit difficult to read on some of the yellowing pages---the result of quickly-written memos then, and failing eyesight today. But I was able to make out the…
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Burglary: It’s Not Robbery

Before we dive headfirst into the real meat of this article, let's first begin with a bit of background regarding the crimes of burglary and robbery. Otherwise, those of you who use social media sites and/or watching TV news and crime dramas…