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 Know You're a Crime Writer If ...

What is it that sets writers of crime fiction apart from, well, everyone else in the entire world? Well ... 1. The worst murder scene in the world pales in comparison with the thoughts roaming through your mind at any given moment of the…
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Reading Between the Blue Lines: Racism

It's been over a dozen years ago since I wrote the first word on this blog, and before I did I made the decision to avoid the really hot and controversial issues, such as gun control, politics, and racial issues. However, today I'm making what…

Piling On: The Death and Autopsy 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…
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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…
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George Floyd's Death: Did Officers Cross the Line?

George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American man, died Monday night---Memorial Day---after being handcuffed and held to the ground by Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin. Officer Chauvin, who is white, knelt on Floyd's neck, apparently…
Firearms Evidence
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Firearms Evidence: A Top Six "How-To" List

Much of the violence that occurs in the world today involves a firearm of some type. How and what type of evidence recovered from those weapons can have a huge impact on the subsequent criminal cases. Proper evidence collection procedures ...…

The Oak Ridge Boys: "Sacrifice for Me," a Memorial Day Tribute

Today we honor and pay tribute to the men and women who who gave their lives to preserve our freedoms. I can't think of anyone who's more dedicated to supporting our military than Joe Bonsall and his fellow members of the legendary, Grammy…
obstruction of justice

Obstruction Of Justice: No, No, No, Don't Tell Me No Lies

Obstruction of Justice (aka perverting the course of justice) is a broad term that simply boils down to charging an individual for knowingly lying to law enforcement in order to change to course/outcome of a case, or lying to protect another…

You've Committed a Federal Offense: How Much Time Will You Serve?

Changing their pleas from not guilty to guilty in the college admissions scandal case, Lori Loughlin and husband Mossimo Giannulli sent the internet into a buzz of chatter. Why, many asked, did, after such a long battle, would the couple suddenly…

Halt! I'm a Patrol Officer, Detective, Animal Control Officer, and Water Meter Reader

In large cities law enforcement officers typically become highly specialized in their areas of expertise. Patrol officers there are often assigned to specific sections of the city---precincts---and they know their assigned areas like the backs…
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Location, Location, Location: Are You Writing it Wrong?

Did you know that not all sheriff's deputies are police officers? How about that some sheriffs in the U.S., and their deputies, do not have any arrest authority? Is it possible that you, as writers, haven written scenes incorrectly based on…
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Mt. St. Helens: The Muse of All Muses

It was 40 years ago today when the north slope of Mt. St. Helens exploded, sending a plume of ash 15 miles high, ash that would soon enter the jet stream and travel around the world. The top 1,300 feet of the mountain was gone in a flash. Miles…

6 Methods of Tracking Crooks ... and Grandma's Settee

Working as a deputy sheriff in a rural county often presents its own set of special and sometimes unusual challenges, especially during the days before the existence of GPS, cellphones, and radio repeaters. In other words, it was pretty darned…
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Crime Scene Investigation Taboos: The Dirty Dozen

Detective I. Will Gitterdone had a spotless attendance record, never missing a day for sickness in his entire thirty-three years with the department. In fact, in all of his years of wearing a badge and toting a sidearm he refused to soil that…

MOM is the Key To a Criminal Investigation ... What?

What does MOM have to do with catching bad guys? We all know our moms have super powers. They can see through walls, hear a whisper at 100 paces, and they have the unique ability to silence us with a mere glance. But could those unique qualities…

Plainclothes Officer Survival Tips: How To Stay Alive Without Really Trying

Police officers are trained to protect lives and property. They're skilled drivers, shooters, and fighters. They know how to arrest, how to testify in court, and how to collect evidence. They're calm and cool when facing danger, and they're…
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6 "No Bull" Facts About Cops

Writers, you conduct an incredible amount of research about cops, forensics, and more, and your readers deeply appreciate your efforts. Therefore, to assist with your hard work, here are six tidbits to add to your gatherings of vital information. 1.…

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. Sure, I remember working a murder case…