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!

Stop and Frisk - A Legal Practice, Yes or No?

Stop and Frisk has once again worked its way into the news by way of politics, with a former presidential candidate apologizing for the use of the practice in a city where he once served as mayor. Those stops, he once vehemently argued, were…

Seizing the Dope and Then Setting It On FIRE!

Some crime scenes, such as labs used for manufacturing methamphetamine, contain hazardous materials---flammable and toxic chemicals and fumes. When searching those dangerous crime scenes investigators must wear protective gear and clothing.…

An Ax Murder and the Q-Tips: A True Story From My Files

Working as a sheriff's deputy in the patrol division often presents a few unique challenges as opposed to patrolling city streets, such as having lots of miles to cover when responding to various emergencies. Other issues faced by law enforcement…
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Writing Small Town Police Departments: Are You Ill? Do You Have the Following Symptoms?

Since the topic today is "small town departments" and the officers who work there ... well, hold on to your hats because I'm about to make an earth shattering announcement! Ready? Here goes. Sure you're ready? Are you sitting down? Have…

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.  If you or anyone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Hotline…

Shop With Cops For All Your Household Needs: Part Two

Police officers require certain tools and equipment to carry out their day-to-day duties, such as the obvious—patrol vehicles, uniforms, badges, bullet resistant vests, and firearms. But there are other things that make their jobs go more…
Courtroom Security

Courtroom Security: The Hidden Side of The Criminal Trial

You've all seen the deputies and other officers who guard courtrooms. Yes, they're highly visible and they're there to protect everyone from harm. However, courtroom security is far more than just watching prisoners inside the actual room where…

Creating Believable Villains: A Tasty Recipe

Villains. They're the bad guys of our stories who are devoted to wickedness. They have specific goals and will stop at nothing to reach them. Are you as driven to write them as compelling characters? Before we dive into the dark, murky…
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The Golden Donut Short Story Contest, and the Book

Each year, the Writers' Police Academy hosts a wildly popular hands-on training event for writers, readers, fans, and anyone else with an interest in police procedure and the forensics used to solve crimes. If you've attended you know the…
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People Are Strange: The Book, and a Short Story Contest

The Writers’ Police Academy is pleased and excited to announce the coming release of our second anthology, “People Are Strange: Tales From the Graveyard Shift.” We’re equally excited to announce that THREE lucky writers could see…
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A Tiger By the 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…

Helpful Tips: MurderCon Registration Opens Sunday February 23, 2020 at Noon EST

MurderCon registration opens Sunday, February 23, 2020, at noon EST. Therefore, to help the process go smoothly, I thought I'd post a few tips and helpful information. Please hover your cursor above the bottom left of the graphic below,…
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MurderCon Registration opens SUNDAY, 2-23-2020!

The day to signup to attend MurderCon is now only three short days away! For those of you who aren't familiar with the wildly popular event, MurderCon is the ultimate hands-on training event where attendees---writers, readers, fans, law…
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From U-Boat to Yankee 9ers and Zip Guns: More Cop Speak

You've all heard police officers chattering away on their police radios, on news reports, and while arresting Ray Buck Jenkins, the town drunk. And when they do they use their own special form of communication, the sometimes brain-jarring language…
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Police Scanners: Legal or Not?

I recently saw a couple of questions about police scanners posted to the wonderful Q&A site crimescenewriter. The questions there were some I've seen often enough that I thought I'd also share and respond to them here as well.   The…
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The Old Man and the Wheel: Page Two of My Spiral Notebooks

My career in law enforcement started in the prison system working as a corrections officer in a maximum security facility. The aged institution was a series of old, weathered and worn brick buildings that were probably ten years past the demolition…
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Serial Killers: Where, How, and Why They Do What They Do

Serial killers may attack anywhere at any time. However, depending upon whether or not the murderer is organized or disorganized, those two factors can affect location and timing. The set up, or initial place(s) where the killer(s) first…
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Serial Killers and Bull Castrators

When looking at murder cases, detectives occasionally find that some charactistics and aspects of the crimes and killers are similar to those of others. Then, as time and investigations move forward, patterns sometimes begin to emerge, such…