Trending Topics

Top 25 things cops do on graveyard shift

As one reader put it, the only thing out there is “cops, cabs and criminals”

Patrolling the streets while most of the world is in dreamland can be quite the endurance test.

By Police1 Staff

Graveyard. Dogwatch. Night shift. Vampire ops. Whatever you call it, patrolling the streets while most of the world is in dreamland can be quite the endurance test. We asked the brave, bored P1 readers who work zombie shift what they do to get through it, and we’ve gathered up the 25 best answers for your enjoyment. Submit your comments below.

1. I would park in front of the bars at 2 a.m. during last call. For fun I would turn on my take down lights and rear lights, then I would place cones on each side of my cruiser and I’d stand in front of it. No one would want to come out! Best 20 minutes of my life. – Carlosspicywiener Pagan

2. I end up in the strangest parts of the internet ... usually around 0300-0400. – Mike DesRosiers

3. I worked the midnight shift for over 15 years. The summer nights were the best and I made a lot of DUI arrests. The winter months were the worst. Some nights I’d get out of my car to scrape ice off windshields to check for city stickers just to stay awake. – John O’Sullivan

4. Pokemon Go. – Donut Operator

5. Sometimes I would get so bored that I would rattle the doors on local businesses just to make sure they were secure. Yes, I set off a couple of alarms. Oops. – Troy Smith

6. Forget what the sun looks like. – Evan Crisafulli

7. I worked it while pregnant. I would barf, brush my teeth, wash my face, fix my makeup, and go on with my shift. – Bobbi Diers

8. I would park in the sugarcane fields waiting for the drug planes to land or crash. Having 300 square miles for each of the four sheriff’s patrol cars made it difficult to pick which field. – Ken Cramer

9. Study the wildlife at Satan’s Playground (Walmart). – Jenny Vensel

10. Keep moving, the more times you drive by a place when all is normal, the more chance you will spot anything abnormal. Many times I would park between cars in a used car lot, just watching who and what went by on foot and in cars. Amazing what you see sometimes. – William Cronin

11. I have actually clocked a dog on radar! – Mark Greene

12. I’m in dispatch: Safety check officers (wake them up) every thirty minutes. – Monge Ibarra Swanson

13. When I was a reserve deputy I would often ride with the graveyard deputies. One of them in particular would have us go around to schools in the county and “break in” We would clear the buildings and then let the schools know the next day that we had been there and that they should be better about locking their doors, windows, etc. – Jason Spencer

14. Coast-to-coast radio and Dunkin’ Donuts. After 3 a.m.? Try not to go insane. – Bamie Junavicz

15. When the calls would stop there was nothing like a game of squad car spotlight tag! – Dan Adams

16. I learned to play guitar and write songs, finished the old handwritten reports, BSed with partners, drank coffee and ate ... a lot. – E E Greene III

17. More before midnight than day shift does all week. – Eric Johnson

18. I spent years as a patrolman for a security company on graveyard shift. We had a lots of apartment complexes we patrolled. By about 2 or 3 it would quiet down after the drunks passed out. By about 4 or 5 I’d be praying for a call just to break the boredom. Sometimes that would backfire. Oh, and no smart phones back then to pass the time or even an AM/FM radio in the cruiser. – James Miller

19. Play solitaire on the MDC. – Mike De La Cruz

20. Look for drunks on all the county roads. Look for drunks on the interstate. Look for drunks period! – Orlando Plow

21. Get sprayed by skunks. – Kerry Furniss

22. Played pranks on fellow officers - no brass around most of the time! This, of course, is after it gets slow. – Sandra Dee Stewart

23. Working a small town, the worst time was between 0300-0500; even the bad guys were asleep. Lots of foot patrols... – John Zaleski

24. Go sleep at the fire station and wait for a call. – Cory Green

25. Hate every second of it. – David Damato

Police1 readers respond

  • I used to write fantasy stories on the MDT until I forgot to take the disk out one morning. The next shift I got called into the captain’s office. Gotta love sharing a car with a rookie on opposite shift.
  • I was the K9 handler (RIP Jake), and I would sleep and my dog would wake me if someone got too close to my squad. Man, I slept a lot.
  • Hide a glow stick and create a riddle for fellow officers to find it.

  • Drive around a neighborhood and park with headlights on and see how long it took for dispatch to dispatch me to a call for a suspicious vehicle that was really me.