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!

A Writer’s Guide To Dirt Bags, Crop Dusting, and Bucket Heads

Writers often find themselves stuck, searching for just the right police terminology or phrase. Unfortunately, the answers to their questions aren't always available at a glance. You know the questions ... Are kidnapping and abduction one…
20 things bad guys

A List of 20 Last Words Before I Applied Cuffs to Their Wrists

Bad guys say the darndest things, especially when operating their mouth parts while under the influence of alcohol, coke, or meth. Here are some of the things the little darlings said to me over the years. Use your imagination to determine my…

De-Friend the Police: You and I

I wrote this back in October of 2016, long before I knew of today's turbulent times. Who knew ... You and I We grew up together, you and I. I attended kindergarten with you and your friends. I played football and freeze tag and hide…
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Paint Your Protagonist With a Realistic Brush

Good action scenes---car chases, gunfights, and exploding cars and buildings---are great at keeping readers busy turning pages. But, how does your hero survive the barrage of bullets, flames, and KABOOMS? Are you giving the star of your book…

A Detective, a Pistol, and a Car: BFFs Forever … Almost

A cop's gun. His/her sidearm. An extension of their dominate arm. It's always there for them when or if they need it, without fail. A pistol is an extremely low-maintenance friend, never asking for much in return for its dedication---a modest…
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Evelyn (“Ev”) E. Dense: A Guide To Crime Scene Investigation

Officer Willie Findem was hot on the trail of two armed robbers, running s fast as his flat feet could carry him, when he heard a woman screaming for help as he raced past a row of shotgun houses in a section of town the locals call Murder Alley. Despite…
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You. Will. Survive: Three Words That Could and Should Impact Your Writing

You. Will. Survive. Three of the most important words I heard during my entire time attending the basic police academy. Several years later it was I who was drilling the phrase into the minds of hundreds of recruits. After all, thoughts of…
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How “Stuff” Helps Detectives Solve Crimes

Much like a writer's intricately plotted tale of fictional murder and the macabre, evidence discovered at actual crime scenes also tells a story. And, with these valuable clues safely collected, bagged, and tagged, detectives set out on their…

As Discussed at Virtual MurderCon: Suicide by “Final Exit”

Before I begin, please know that this post is not an op-ed article. I'm merely presenting facts surrounding suicide investigations involving the book "Final Exit." Those of you who attended homicide Detective Jeff Locklear's presentations…

6 Ways to Transform a Boring Crime Scene into Fascinating Factual Fiction

There's nothing more boring than to read a book where the author lists a bunch of facts without any means whatsoever for us, the readers, to visualize how the crime is solved. You know the ones of which I speak ... The cop, Detective Sergeant…
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HURRY! Today is Your Last Chance to Sign Up to Attend Virtual MurderCon!!

TODAY is the LAST DAY to sign up for a "Seat" at Virtual MurderCon's interactive event, and only a few "seats" are available! I urge you to sign up asap to reserve your spot at this unique opportunity, one that may never again be available.…

Murder on a Hot Day: Weather is a Character … and Virtual MurderCon

It was a Saturday morning, a day when the temperature had already reached the mid 90s and the southern air with was tightly packed with enough humidity to make it appear as if a quick rain shower had passed through. The air was so thick, in…

Okay, I’m Going There: Bathroom Breaks – Where Do Officers Go?

Sure, duty calls, but so does nature. And sometimes nature calls quite loudly. In those times of great despair, it is imperative that an officer find the proper location to meet the need, especially in these dangerous times where ambushes…
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Life After Bill: Alone At 0200

0200 hrs. Wispy fog. Whirling, swirling. Streetlight. A lone bat, Looping, swooping. Night sounds. Frogs, crickets, Train whistle, far away. Radio crackles, Against still, night air. Prowler, Outside window. "I'll take it." "10-4." "Backup?" "Negative." Front…

Why I’ve Been a Bit AWOL Lately

Due to a a couple of serious illnesses in our family, I will be taking a break from the blog for a few days and maybe slightly longer. I've tried to write something for the past couple of days but my mind wanders back to our loved ones, Denene's…
Fighting Dinosaurs
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My First Night On The Job: Fighting Dinosaurs

Graduating from the police academy is an experience all its own. And, after many weeks of what some recruits equate to a brief period of time spent in hell on earth, receiving the paper that makes it official, that you are indeed a bona-fide…
Life after death

The Survivors: After The Death Notice

It was 9 p.m. when Detective Rudy Smith left the scene of a homicide where Carl Jackson, the father of two small children and husband of a loving wife, had gone to the store to pick up a gallon of milk for morning cereal when he was caught in…

They’re NOT Tanks!

“Why, oh why, do cops need tanks?” “I don’t want cops to have military equipment. A tank? They don’t NEED a tank!” “It’s ridiculous. No police department should have a tank.” “Tank, tank, tank, tank ... yada, yada,…