It’s just not fair
I’m sure you have heard the old saying, “if I had a nickel for every time (insert witty, sometimes arrogant remark here)”! Well, here it comes again.
If I had a nickel for every time someone said how lucky I am to be being able to retire at age 50!
I usually respond with a smile and patronize them with, “if you say so” or even better, ” your’re right, I’m one lucky dog”.
After that, I continue the conversation but fall into my own thoughts at the same time.
Initially my brain jumps right to “idiot” or “moron” or “did they really say that or are they just being an asshole?”
This all happens within a matter of seconds.
As I walk away, my own self doubt creeps into the logical side of my brain and wonders.
Am I lucky to retire at such an early age? Do I deserve to retire at an age well before most are allowed to get their gold watch?
These thoughts quickly vanish as I contemplate the absurdity of these questions.
Here are just 4 reasons why cops get to retire “so young”.
You would think that this one would be a no brainer. There are people out there that think they have stressful jobs.
Unless you are a front line combat grunt, air traffic controller or a sky-diving instructor.
Everyone else, please sit down.
“But you don’t know man, I’ve got deadlines and a lot of pressure on me at my job, why do cops retire before I get to?”
And I get that. I really do.
But C’MON man.
See Also: “3 Leadership Traits to Avoid With Street Cops”
I will spare everyone the same ole we face armed felons and don’t know if we are going home at the end of our shift mantra.
It should be blatantly obvious to everyone.
Oh, and I’m quite sure if you screw up, or have a perceived screw up at work, it won’t cause the city you work in to riot or change your industries culture on a global level.
I’m not talking about the Mothershippers (Cops who work at Police Headquarters).
I’m talking about Cops.
The grunts of police work.
It absolutely kills me when citizens ask, and I’m not making this up, if we are open on Sunday’s.
This is why I know that there will always be a fantastically wide disconnect between us and your average Joe.
I have worked days and nights, holidays, birthdays, elections, hurricanes, blizzards, ice storms, and high school football games. I have worked 30 hours without sleep and have come back to work 20 more with only 2 hours of sleep in between.
Oh, and then I go to court on my days off.
3. The uniform
I distinctly remember getting into my car and driving to work in full uniform one day.
I had been a detective for several years prior to this day and had decided that I wanted to go back to uniform patrol.
I was beginning to doubt my decision with every passing second during my drive in that morning.
I had forgotten how ridiculously uncomfortable it was wearing a bullet proof vest and 30 pounds of police gear. I remember being sore for a week until my body became used to wearing all of it again.
It is nice to see that police departments are now going to outer vests and suspenders. Hopefully this will alleviate all of the back problems that all of us suffer from over decades of wearing the uniform.
My chiropractor would have to agree with this reason why cops retire early.
4. The exposure to unspeakable suffering
Back in the day (Que the rookie eye roll) when I was a field training instructor, one the first things I would ask my new guy was if they had ever seen a dead body.
Other than their grandma at her funeral, most had not.
There are things in this world that humans are not meant to see.
Bottom line, cops see bad shit.
As mentioned from reason #1, law enforcement is a highly stressful and dangerous occupation. New cops arrive in this profession with an eagerness that is almost unrivaled in any other job.
“I’m going to change the world, one arrest at a time”.
Until they see their first dead baby.
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The seduction of becoming a cop and serving the greater good enables the rookie patrolman to overlook the inherent dangers and traumatic scenes that he or she may face or see.
As they become fully immersed in the police culture, the old life they had prior to becoming a police officer begins to fade away.
They are forever changed by the things they experience as a cop.
A couple of days ago, an old photo of me popped up on my Facebook feed from a group I belong to. In the photo I had been a cop for about three years.
Other than looking ridiculously young, I noticed something else.
I had the biggest smile.
And I’m quite certain this may be the last photo taken of me with a smile that big..
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You got that right. I Did 40+ years and would probably still be at it but my body said it’s time for you to pull the pin!
AGREE ON THE WARE AND TEAR ON THE BODY WHEN YOU REALLY DO THE JOB, THOSE WHO BECOME HOUSECATS LATER IN THERE CAREERS NEVER EXPERIENCE THE DECADES OF SPRAINS, FRACTURES, SUTURES ETC. ETC AND WHEN YOU ARE PAST FIFTY YOU HEAL VERY SLOWLY AND EVENTUALLY ,IF YOU ARE HONEST WITH YOURSELF, YOU RECOGNIZE ITS TIME FOR THE PUPS TO TAKE OVER.
Totally agree, I was going to go for 27-30. The body said no way
There is life after LEO! U will never have enough money but money isn’t anything if u have limited time! Enjoy it now before u can’t! 32.5 years here and I just retired at age 52 and love it! Probably need to go back to patrol to get some rest I’m staying so busy!
Good luck to u
Looking to retire next year with 32.5. All but 3 yrs in uniform. 2 gigs teaching at the academy. Never promoted. Never wanted to. Worried about retirement.. Managed to hide complex PTSD as it’s cause for dismissal in my Dept. as is any disability. Love my brothers and sisters I work with. Despise management and politicians. Health surprisingly good despite now being on meds for depression. Happily married for 29 years and madly in love with my wife. Was not blessed with children was my only regret.. Lost too many friends and comrades, mostly to suicide(5). Lost a buddy on a call. Could not save him- he broke my heart for 10 years after.. Shootings and dead kids not the worst. Stress caused by corrupt bosses was worse. Actually figured I have met angels and have a strong faith in he Lord. People see me as angry. I want to learn how to smile again like I did in the 80s. God Bless and keep you all. I am proud to have served with you very special breed of humans.l
Both my sons are LEO both with 20+ years 1 has gone from Detective to Sargent back on patrol after 10 years. The other is back as a detective after undercover DEA the stress, strain have taken a toll on both of them and their families. I can’t wait until they both retire!
I am one Happy mother to have a retired son who was a Camden, N. J. Police Officer. Bless all of the Brave men.
I did almost31 years with Dallas PD. All in uniform and on the street as Officer/Sgt.
I retired after 35 years of service and agree 100%• PTSD. not trusting anyone and still trying to unsee, unsmell and get over the sense of frustration. After retiring 6 years ago some people still call or stop by wanting advice. Can’t watch police shows.
Mark Click I’m still working and on year 26. I’m experiencing the identical things you have written. I so wish I could get out, but I wouldn’t have health insurance for me and my wife. I’m not sure how I’m gonna make 5 more years it’s really a toll on your mind and body.
I did 20 as a part time officer. Loved it. Did 17 full time later in life like many. Loved it! I was a Sgt at two different depts. I served on five in my life like many. Loved it. I hired in full time for the last time at age 49 in 2005. My last day was Nov 30, 2015. I nearly ran to my POV to go home on that day. Our society does not care for us anymore and you can get killed gassing a cruiser up by a sniper. Since 2014 it has rapidly declined as a profession. I miss it, I still love it, but the job sucks now. Get out if you can. Discourage kids and relatives from joining. The city fathers and politicians are liberal and scared. No support. God bless those left behind.
28 years and counting with Philly PD. Im exhausted! Couple more to go but the eyes never unsee what it has seen!
I hit the 30 year mark this year worked Corrections, Patrol, Detective, Special operations back to Patrol as a Sgt., 4 yrs later put in Admin., for the past 2 years, I no longer miss the 12 hr Patrol shifts or Mids. Yes I’ve seen a lot and done even more. Met some great people and not so great, got physical scars that can been seen and some scars that are not visible. Been to hell and back, its not just a job but a way of life to me. I’m still proud to put on that badge and blue shirt. I was 22 when I came on do the math 30 yrs later still goin I’m proud of that but sad too, cause its all I know 3/4 of my adult life I’ve been a Cop. With each passing year it gets harder to remember what life was like before becoming an Officer. The physical part yep that too has been getting harder with each year, back, neck, shoulders left hip I feel the aches and pains. Stress hell yeah had a widow maker (blown heart artery) in 2003. Cracked me open fixed it returned to full duty-crazy right-yeah but its all I know and still the only thing I want to do. But I know I’m on the down slide-borrowed time, don’t want to face itbut like anything else I’ve been through I’ll manage. From one Sarge to another – thanks.
After thirty years,(Lt., SDPD) I actually miss (yes, miss) it. I’m amazed at some of things I scraped through but I can honestly say…I would do it all over again in a heartbeat!
Moderation is for cowards- Lone Survivor
Did 31 years Job stress for sure but most stress from upper command staff that didnt care about you as a person or as an officer.They didnt care if you were replaced by a rookie.Your experience, knowledge, and overall skills were never utilized nor appreciated.
Nice list… but the truth is, everyone has different reasons and agendas that come on the job. I worked with plenty of scam artists that used the system to their advantage while on the job, and did the same when ultimately getting out, and some of those reasons for retiring on a disability pension or just leaving early had nothing to do with the four you’ve listed. I had plenty of legitimate opportunities to retire early, from almost being killed by friendly fire as a rookie, to having a major MVA as a motor officer 10 years into the job that screwed me up good, to developing PTSD, and on and on…but I always found a way to continue in the job. I did 31+ years before I finally pulled the plug as a Sergeant, and it was one of the hardest decisions I had to make in my lifetime. The one thing that kept me sane over my career was this one word…”Balance” by keeping different elements in your life equal or in a correct proportion you have stability and this makes all the other crap you’ve gotta deal with on the job manageable. I’m a little over three years out now and still have mixed feelings about my decision, but when I look back at the big picture of life in general I’m much healthier and happier now than I was the last day I was a cop, and enjoy every day I get to wake up and do whatever I want without thinking about when I gotta get ready to put on the costume and go to the show and entertain the folks…and for those who just don’t want to give up the cash and bennies, or be cognizant of the fact that no matter what rank, the day after you leave the job, you were just another swinging ding dong that got to wear a badge, remember this, you can’t buy your life back.
Hired at twenty retire at 40. Work in places called East NY Brownsville, the South Bronx and handle 600 calls for service a month . You wonder why guys retire in 20. It pays more to be retired than showing up to work. But you have idiots that don’t like the idea of being called mister and will stay on the job.
My Dad patrolled one of the roughest districts in Indianapolis. He spent the last 10 years of his career on Paddy Wagon because his body wouldn’t allow him to do what he liked and that was to chase the bad guys. He retired at 50 with a pension. Lucky huh? Not really. He had a difficult time adjusting back into normal life. He had become cynical and non trusting of most people. He had an unfavorable view of people from other races. He had become an alcoholic, but by the grace of God, found sobriety soon after retirement. As he laid dying, he broke down and started to sob. That’s right, this big, tough guy they called Big John was blubbering like a baby. He said son, I have decided that hate is not a good Christian Virtue. He went on to explain that he never hated or distrusted people. He was afraid of them. He created this Big Bad persona because that way, they wouldn’t challenge him. He went onto say that what most people don’t understand about Police Officers is that most of the contacts they have with other people and not good. Even when you think you’re helping someone, it can quickly turn violent towards you. Especially Domestic Disturbances. When I was a teenager, my Dad let me ride with him. I would go to every type of call except one. A domestic disturbance. He would drop me off and then come back to get me because these calls often turned ugly and were unpredictable. My point is that you have to have a serving heart to be a Police Officer. If you do it for praise, you’ll never make it to retirement
I did 32 in some capacity or another, retiring as a sergeant with 25 years on my last department. I have seen the car crashes, the dead kids, the criminals with holes all over their bodies, and been to more than my share of domestics. All this being said, my toughest, and yet most rewarding job assignment was in the sex crimes unit. Mentally challenged women taken advantage of by “caretakers.” Home invasion rape robbery cases. Young drunk women raped in parking lots. I also saw a lot of false complaints made against people, including police officers. I had acase of a grandpa who molested his granddaughter, which led to information that he had also molested at least two of his daughters. When I arrested him for the molest of his granddaughter, the daughters got up in arms because I arrested their daddy. Sex crimes was very stressful, mostly because of supervisors. Stress eating and smoking (COPD) took their toll and I retired 2 years ago. Would I do it again. Hell yes! But today’s climate makes for a very difficult future for the NEW BREED.
41 total…32 City…9 state. Majority 35+ as Detective/Agent. Worked all units…road to Homicide. After seeing those things wyse don’t talk about etc retired with two good pensions and SOC. After reading comments from other brothers/sisters in BLUE, they all left out the most telling and chilling memories that we are most unfortunate to witness. The press covers these events and everybody is outraged when one occurs. We go there and look into each others eyes and acknowledge each others pain. GO TO ONE POLICE FUNERAL AND YOU WILL SEE. God watch over us please. We just wanted to help.
I retired at 51 (30 year street cop) after being involved in three shootings and seeing other cops gunned down in front of me. It’s been 20 years since I pulled the pin and when I meet new people I still have to hear about an undeserved ticket or how they could have done it better. TV & Hollywood have set the bar yet when I try to educate someone they just glaze over b/c they already know everything.
Well said. I just smile and say ” yes I am lucky.”
Retired Sgt., PInellas County Sheriff’s Office
30 years all operational
From one salt to another. Salud!
After 23 years I am eligible to retire. I am hanging on for another 45 months and I am checking out with 27.5 years. I would go now, but still have 2 more kids to send off to college. I am a Correctional Sergeant at Pelican Bay. The horrors of man that I have witnessed and been involved in are insurmountable. I watch on a daily basis what “humans” (if you want to call them that) are capable of doing to other humans. It’s all I have known for this many years. In corrections every non-uniformed person I have contact with has performed some pretty heinous shit, and continue to. Do we deserve our “early retirement”? ABSOFUKINLUTELY we do.
Vince, I have two words for you buddy. G.I. Bill. Carry on.
Absolutely agree. There is no glory in a police officers job. That being said, retire as a police dispatcher and you will know exactly how little respect you have in the public’s eye. It is believed that you have no stress and anyone can do your job, and you will not be compensated for the wear and tear on your body, nor given stress years in your retirement.
I have no ides how I got to this page/site but I’m glad I did. I served a total of 26 year. Six on the street in Hampton Va. as a Patrol Officer then 4 years as a K-9 Officer and 1 year as a Detective. In addition, I served double duty for 5 years as a member of the SWAT team. Fortunately, I was vested at the 5 year point. So, for surviving multiple shooting incidents and barricade incidents Worked every Christmas’ New Years Eves, kids birthdays and more and more and more. I’m certain each of you have similar or exact or even worse situations. I don.t like to talk about money, but for my participation in these listed events, I receive $30. dollars a month. Hell I’m happy. (like hell I am). I then went to what is now known as NCIS. I gave them 19 years. Three of my assignments were on Air Craft Carriers. By then I was in my late 40’s and early 50’s. Not the greatest conditions for a rapidly aging man. One of my last cases was to assist my partner (who was my Sgt. in the Detective Bureau at HPD) A number of sailors jumped 2 chain link fences at the weapons station and were digging up Revolutionary War relics. We had a 28 acre crime scene. While searching for dig sites I picked up a tick. As a result I contracted Lyme Disease, Babiciosis and Erlickiosis. Literally damn near died. Not sure of the spelling of the last 2 diseases. They kept me on workman’s comp. but forced my retirement. I still had cases that needed working. I felt incomplete, robbed. When they took my Sig. and my shield, I felt like they took my manhood from me. I always believed that the last thing I would see before I died would be a muzzle flash. Being a cop or Special Agent was not what I did, it was who I was. I lived the life. I’m not whining I know there are others in much worse shape. We’ve all seen the most horrific scenes there are to see. And, each of you are spot on, we don’t have an erase button that makes us un-see or un-hear all of our experiences. I still have nightmares from a particular homicide case from 20+years ago. Now that I brought it up she will visit me for the next few days. At least the son of a bitch got the injection. Wish I could have done to him exactly what he did to her. If any of us were to write a book about our exact experiences it would be rated XXX or not published at all. I’ve heard the job described as 95% of sheer boredom and 5% unimaginable abject horror. I also heard the job referred to as “The Greatest Show on earth”.That description is damn close. This may be true but we learn to cope with it in our own ways. Nothing compares to the pain we feel when a Brother or Sister is killed in the line of duty. I can’t hide from that. A lot of the time we turn to alcohol. Fortunately, with the help of a Brother or Sister we beat it. I’m out 32 years this past February. Again I’m not bragging I just want the members of our family to know that help is out there. We backed each other on the street, we will back each other off the job. One way you can help is to get a ministers license (through mail order, match book cover or your church). That way you can talk openly with each other and your conversations will be covered under priest penitent relationship. like all of you I have my bumps and bruises. But there comes a time when the body yells “hey Asshole enough is enough already”. I almost did not make it my first month. I went through a plate glass window while in foot pursuit. Almost lost my left hand. I’d only been on about 2 weeks. I didn’t go to the Academy for another 3 months. Since then I’ve been stabbed, suffered a broken neck in 2 places, ruptured discs, had the mussels pulled from my spine, had a toe amputated, had a three way by-pass. The by-pass went sideways, spent 6 months in the hospital with that, multiple hospital visits, mostly heart problems, COPD, liver failure, heart failure, kidney failure, (spent the better part of a year in the Veterans hospital, given 2 weeks to live. I told the Doc that I was just too damn mean to die. Again there are those in worse condition. The list goes on and on. Still, there are Brothers and Sisters in much worse condition. Once again I’m not complaining. I’m happy I’m still sucking air. I’ll stop my pissing and moaning.. On the bright side, us retirees get together for lunch at the Golden Coral once a month. The NCIS retirees get together every other month at a Golden Coral in Va. Beach. Listening to the stories, it becomes evident quickly, that the older we get the better we were. I have dragged this on way to long. Knowing what we know, seeing what we’ve seen and hearing what we have heard, we pray to God Almighty that our children never experience what we have. BUT. when they pick up the badge to carry it on we are proud as hell. To answer the Lady’s question, would I do it again, HELL YES, and I would do it for free. That’s about what they paid us anyway. Brothers and Sisters, BE SAFE. Even today, if necessary I would lay down my life for each of you. I’ve already lived a rewarding life, much more than I deserve. Always watch your six. When I die the only thing I want on my headstone is “It’s been one hell of a ride” Fraternally,
What’s up, I log on to your blogs like every week. Your story-telling style is witty, keep doing what you’re doing!
Thank you to all of the people out there doing (and who have done) this hard job to keep me and others safe. You are appreciated.
was in 8 shootings
15 Cru accidents
sued for over 21 Million Dollars /lost none/
retired 2-19-90 and boy am I glad, leave asap buy your academy and millitary time any way u can m ake it 1` day shorter. I wear a medal around my neck ” I wish my head could forget what my eyes have seen” I covewreds 12 Fatal & Multi Fatal accidents
I am always amazed at the level of envy when it comes to police pensions and “early retirement”. The public sector are fast to bash this “unfair” gift tax payers bestow upon officers. After over 23 years on the force, I’ve finally come up with my best response to the often fielded question “Must be great to be able to retire so young” (As if I won some undeserved lottery). My response is now “Well, how much do you invest into YOUR retirement plan?” Rarely do I find a private sector employee putting away more than half of my retirement deductions. Many private folk believe pensions are completely funded by taxes, meanwhile our city enjoys huge dividends from our pension contribution investments.
I put 35+ years in at the same department. 20 as a Detective. I’ve worked up to 40 hours straight without sleep. In fact, I’d have to take a nap in my office so I could at least drive home without falling asleep. Up until 1994 I smoked 3 packs of cigarettes a day, drank more coffee than Juan Perez could pick, worked one month 340 hours when I was scheduled for 160[only got paid for 160] . I retired at age 56 and one heart attack. I’ve been retired 8+years. I’d do it again if I was a young man. In 2001 I was burnt out and needing only 2 more years to retire. I took over a recently built Juvenile Detention Center and got it up and running. I did this for 7+ years until I retired. I got to see the grandkids of people that I arrested in the 70’s. Grandkids were doing the same things as the grandparents. Circle not broken.
I worked in dispatch for a year as a rookie Sgt. Most stressful assignment I ever had.
I did 31 years, mostly patrol but 3 1//2 years in a joint task force as Detective. We handled all the major crimes for all the PDs in the county. Also for major events. SExual abuse of infants and children, teen rape victims with multiple attackers, homicide victims dismembered. Gunshot victims, car accidents, the list goes on. If one isn’t enough, the cumulative effects are. OUrs is a great fraternity, show me the ID and glad to help someone. Even in different countries I have shown other Officers my ID and they were helpful and gave me the grand tour. Retired Sergeant. They gave even my duty badge, my retired badges and my pistol.
I’m 49, with 27 years in. I have worked most positions, been an instructor for various specialties, worked SWAT, and task forces. But have also had spine surgery, and 6 knee surgeries. I’m very close to hanging it up because my body just can’t do it anymore. Plus it’s been really hard on my sweet wife.
Jay, I didn’t know your dad, but I am from Indy. I was Marion County Sheriff’s Department prior to the HOSTILE TAKEOVER (merger of MCSD and IPD in 2007) Alcoholism was a major factor with IPD starting in the 50s. I know a lot of retired IPD guys who became alcoholics and it cost some of them their jobs. I retired from Indianapolis Metropolitan PD, 2 years ago, in 2015, after a total of 32 years as a LEO in some form or fashion. I went the opposite direction and did not drink. My downfall was smoking. I was up to three packs a day when I finally quit, 20 years ago. Alas, it was too late. I have severe emphysema and COPD. I smoked because I thought it was a release, a calming effect. Now I am paying for it. In my last few years I was a street sergeant and then a supervisor in community relations. When I got to the point that I could no longer run and felt I was more of a detriment than a help, I retired. It took me about a year to get over being “the police.”
I get the college thing, for sure. Kept me in well past the eligible retirement age. The good thing is I got promoted and have a significantly better retirement now. I miss it, but the body just couldn’t handle any more. I made it well past 50, figure I did pretty well.
Agreed. Between the lost sleep, backaches, and age, it was time to go.
33 total years, I only miss some of the good friends in the department and the community. Yes I agree, let the young pups take over. I was one who thought I had all the answers to fix the department. Then you get the chance and you can’t wait to retire because managing the troops is just as stressful! Be safe young pups!
Well written. Understand that each of these points are just synopses, and could be expanded to probably a blog each. I just hit level 60 (sounds better than sixty years old), with almost 39 years on the job, in one iteration or another. I chose this profession, but like with most cops I know it has become more than just “what I do.” It is partly “who I am.” The shared experiences, the things I have seen, has shaped me, yes, but has also given me brothers and sisters with whom I have a bond that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world. To those than have pulled the pin, God bless you! You made it. To those that have yet to hang up your badge and gun, hang in, keep your chin up and your head down. You are the tip of the spear, the front line, the best of the best. And I am proud to be one of you.
30 years, can’t stand long for back pain, don’t sleep, bad dreams and can’t remember how to smile
I was an SFPD dispatcher/911 “robot” for 18 years. I came from a police family. My father was a beat cop out of the old “Southeast’ and walked a beat on 3rd Street. His friends were cops. My late brother was a retired cop. My oldest son is a cop. I didn’t follow that route for a reason. I takes a special kind of person to do that job, and I KNEW I didn’t have the required temperment for it. I knew early on in life that I was “hot headed.” Half of who I arrested would have probably never made it back to the station for booking. I would have dispensed my own particular brand of “justice.” It wouldn’t have been fair to any partner, and it wouldn’t have been fair to any department. Make no mistake about it: Communications is a real ball buster. It’s a meat grinder. But for whatever reasons, I felt I fit better there. I’m definately not that “special” kind of person the job requires. And I’m fine with that.
I have hit my 37th year as an operational Police Officer in Australia with 5 more yrs to go before I have to mandatory retire as a uniform cop. I hope to be in a position to instill some knowledge into our junior officers starting out as I strongly believe I still have a lot of knowledge to offer. At least if I can’t lock up the bad guys on the street, I hope to teach our young ones how to do it – without getting into trouble and going home at the end of their duty shift!
Hey, Ben! Sloan, here. Ski therapy, buddy. 🙂
I did my whole tour in uniform, and on the streets, too.
My body is broken, and my eyes saw too much stuff….but I’m survivin’.
Get some help, Chris. You really can’t do all of it by yourself. You and people who love you deserve your smile again.
I did four years in the Military and twenty years nine days in Hartford CT as an officer, detective and sergeant… I miss the person I was before I started all this… You lose so much of you… I am glad I am out, but I would do it all over again though.
PTSD can never be fixed, we just deal with it and head to the next call that’s waiting. No help for us with PTSD, suck it up and get to the next call.
Today marks the day my life was saved 7 years ago by my dispatcher in a shooting, dispatchers go through hell with us and the stress they have sending us to the bad calls knowing what’s going wrong before the send us into a shit storm of Hell and then have to keep their shit together when we call out shots fired
Retire at 50, we deserve it brothers
I’m retiring in 10 months, that will put me at 25 years on the job, on the streets dealing with everything you can imagine. 12 of those years I was on the swat team. Every LEO deserves to leave in or around 50 years of age.
It’s a tough job that only a select few unique individuals are able to do. We are the first and the last line of defense against total chaos and anarchy. Imagine what society would be like without law-enforcement. God bless all my brothers and sisters, never forget the fallen.
Great read!!! I get those comments frequently! I did 31 years & almost all of it on patrol!!! 10 years LAPD & 21 in MOdesto, CA….. once it set in that I’d get paid for not going to work-i LOVE it!!!! WIsh i would have retired sooner!!
Somebody has to do the job. Would I want my kids doing this job? Hell no. But I was made for this, and one day if my son says he wants to push a black and white I sure as hell will be proud of him. You’re right though, with attitudes like yours, morale sinks and nobody wants to answer the call. Here I am, send me. I will suit up. I will stand in the gap, shoulder to shoulder with my brothers and sisters.
I did 31 years. And retired at the age of 53. I remember my first dead body and all of them in between. I remember my first child drowning when I had to tell the parents of their 5 year old they dropped off at a friend’s birthday party he would not be coming home because he drowned in that friends pool. I remember giving CPR for what seemed like 30 minutes to a man mowing his lawn to prepare for his grand son’s birthday party when he sufferers a major heart attack. I was literally around tole corner when the call came out .The lawn mower was still running. He didn’t make it. So many memories that many people ever witness or understand. Even though they are not your relatives it still affects you. You want to be everything to everyone. That was in a time when Polices were looked up to and America was a better place. I could have done more years but in today’s society I have seen enough, missed too many family functions and events and realized I have been through and witnessed enough crime and destruction and people ruining their lives and so many others
Yes sir you hit it on the head. Sen too much. It does wear on you over time. But we made it out in one piece. Yes, things are not the same. Stay healthy my brother!
35yrs in, “pull the pin” is what my LT keeps saying. I cringe when I hear him say that because I secretly imagine him blowing up as he does.
I too served 32 years. Patrol then CID in General Crimes then Internal Affairs which was the most miserable years of my career. I guess that was my punishment for being a good detective. The only way I got out was to be promoted to Sgt and sent back to patrol. In our agency we worked rotating shifts a week at a time from days to evenings to miss then back to days. That shift schedule left us in a permanent state of jet lag and took a real toll on family. I succumbed to the saying that “Cops collect two things,…Guns and ex-wives.”
Before becoming a cop I worked as a paramedic. I figured it had to be better taking someone to jail than to the hospital, and I was right.
Anyway, I miss the brotherhood that I hear no longer exists with today’s officers. All us salty Sgts can attest to how tough our life style can be but, like so many have said on here, I’d do it again in a heartbeat. I loved every year and miss my friends but, being 7 years out I can say that there is life after the badge and since I retired, the department has survived and many folks don’t even remember me.
I encourage all men and women who enter this most honorable field to do so with great enthusiasm but with an eye to living a life outside of the badge and cultivate a few strong friendships with those who are not in the same field. I love my brothers and sisters in blue and was always willing to give my all, still I felt it important to have some separation. Officers need to have a strong tie with their families and I always recommended Church as a way to cultivate those supports needed for healthy service to their community.
I saw many more things in my years than I can forget and I dealt very well with them until two years ago. One writer spoke of PTSD and I never had the problem until I had a car crash that landed me in the hospital with a broken neck and other broken bones. The surgery left me unable to talk or swallow for seven months. Everything I ate came via a tube that the surgeon put thru my abdomen and I even had to go to the bathroom by remote control.
All of that was fine until the flashbacks continued to come. I could see the sights and smells and sounds of that moment while my Jeep was tumbling side over side. I had been the Sgt over the traffic unit and had seen my fair share of death and destruction and it never bothered me. I questioned why I wasn’t getting thru this event anymore than I was. Why wasn’t I healing and getting on with my life.
It was then that I found out about the cumulative affects of PTSD and started getting the treatment I needed.
Young officers need to hear about this and not make the mistake of thinking they are invincible or when they discover that they aren’t bullet-proof, start to self medicate with alcohol or other drugs. They need a Salty Sarge who cares enough to tell it to them straight and help them survive better than we did.
I have been an ordained minister for nearly 10 years now and hope to be able to volunteer with a department who can use a chaplain that wants to work with the officers and their families. Every department has local pastors who can go out for death notifications but I have seat time and can truly relate to the trials of answering the calls and being away from family at important times. So do many of you. We can all help these officers survive the shifts and terror. I encourage all of us to give back as we are able.
In His Mighty Grip,
been on the job 30 years now. all in uniform patrol detail. some supervisory work. been offered detective jobs and said no thanks. ended up as a sniper in agencies who don’t want or need one. now i wish i could retire but not enough money in the account. got to wait till i can draw social security first. at least another 5 years. 57 years old going on 100…
I retired two years ago after 30 years. Twenty-five as an investigator including violent crimes and as a supervisor in violent crimes. A hip replacement and arthritis finally motivated me to leave, along with being called out 40 times a year. Add to that needless stress from the command staff and I had had enough. I can’t say I can recall every scene I responded to, but I still recall a number of the worst ones vividly. Thankfully, law enforcement and first responder PTSD is finally getting some recognition.
You nailed it on the head, Sarge… good work!
Spot on, you did however forget to mention how vicious we can be to eachother….
I worked 10 years in ER and 20 in healthcare total…may not have the fear of being shot but the seeing death and things you weren’t meant to is there.
Are you retired now, I’m 59 going on 38 years!! My question is pulling the trigger to retirement.
It wasn’t easy for me. It’s all I was my entire adult life. Started at 23, now 59. But I think I can get use to not being a cop. It’s been a big stress relief even after a just few days. Best of luck on deciding when.
LEO’s for the reasons listed above and so very many more, you have my eternal respect and gratitude for the job you do. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Where the hell do you guys work that you can retire or better yet afford to retire prior to 32years on the job? I’ve got 29 into retirement and i need To go another 8 to make the age (55) to collect my 80% which shit for cash. I still need to begin another career!
God Bless you and keep you safe. I’ll pray for you. 30+ years myself.
Thank you for your service and God bless you
From a Sister ?
5 years down, 20 to go lol
Just retired as a sergeant after 35 years in. Job isn’t what it was in 1983. That made it a little easier. I’ll miss what it use to be more than what it has become. It does wear you out and I wanted to salvage some health and peace of mind before I had none left.
Then there is that unseen reason to retire. Psychological danger. Your supervisors are now politicians not cops. They forget what its like when they patrolled. They only want more promotions which means your politically expendable if you get in the way of those promotions. Thats the real danger. Politicians, citizen review boards, the press, all goes with the territory, they never walked in a plcm. shoes. But your own supervisors, thats the real danger. They would throw you to the wolves to feather their own nest.
30 years with a Sheriffs Dept. 19 months in the jail division, 8+ in patrol and 20 of the years spent in Detective unit violent crime unit. Also, Sgt. In SWAT team. Then 2 years with a Police Dept. Had to pull the pin due to my body saying enough! I have had Ten (10) Operations since my retirement but I would not change a thing!
I appreciate and respect all my brothers and sisters in law enforcement.. please be safe and watch your six!!
I retired in December 2022 at age 50 after 28 years and a lower back fusion. Two tours as a motor. 5 years as a persons crimes detective and retired as a sergeant in charge of Motors and collision investigations. In my 28 years, I was involved in one fatal OIS and lost two friends in the line of duty while I was working, and a third to cancer. I was also working while two others were lost in the line of duty in our county.. I have no idea how many fatal scenes I handled, because I never kept track. Sadly I’m sure that number is high. I became “good” at giving the worst news anyone can get, which is a necessary talent I don’t wish upon anyone. I’m glad I retired when I did, but I do miss some aspects of the job. I might even go back part time to help around the office, but I’m pretty busy as a retiree, so I haven’t decided yet. My wife is also in the profession, but at a different department. I’m glad I chose the career I did and it worked out well for me, but sadly the job is not what it used to be and if i was 21 again, I’d choose differently (probably fire service). LE is not an easy profession, but it’s a worthy one.