Retired Law Enforcement: 32 Years

by Paul
(Los Angeles, CA, USA)

My story is like many others here, but it does have one significant difference.


I was in law enforcement for the past 32 years, a career I truly loved. For those that don't know, law enforcement isn't just a job, but a lifestyle and you're never off duty.

A number of factors contributed to my decision to retire, but the end result was I did retire. I've been retired now for all of three weeks and it's just beginning to hit me that I'm no longer a police officer. This isn't a job that you can just walk away from, it's ingrained in my soul. I can hang up my uniform, but I can never stop being a cop.

The day I turned in my badge and signed my retirement papers, I felt like my entire identity was taken away from me. Of course, I will stay in touch with my friends, but I know the connection won't be the same.

I'm sure I'll eventually get used to retirement, but right now, it's not what everyone says it is and I'm not terribly ecstatic about it.

If there are any other retired cops on this site, I'd love to hear how you handled your retirement.

Comments for Retired Law Enforcement: 32 Years

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It’s hard.
by: Kim Ohio

I worked in the addiction/drug court field all my professional life. Many people do not understand the life of law enforcement/criminal justice officers.

It’s hard to find your identity after retirement because this is s job that becomes your life.

I was forced to return to Ohio to care for my elderly mother. At 56 I was not ready to retire. I know, at least to some extent, how you are feeling. My job was my identity and now it’s gone.

Take one day at a time and know that you are more than the profession. Try looking for organization that reach out to help others. I’m sure there are many that would welcome your experience.

Good luck to you!!

Feeling for you
by: Sandy

Many of us have felt like you, but it certainly must be much more difficult given your profession. Being a police officer has made you a part of a very strong organization so it is no surprise that you feel so disconnected from your identity. I am sorry you are feeling so poorly. Given you left a dangerous and stressful job, it would be nice if you could enjoy yourself now.

Have you looked into local police retiree organizations or benevolent societies? I would think that may give you the bridge to your former police career, while you explore and discover your new self. And I would think there are so many organizations that would value your skills in volunteer roles. Also, perhaps you can find a part-time position that takes advantage of your previous skillset. There have to be opportunities out there that will give you the purpose you seek in your comfort zone. Of course, you can't recreate your previous police officer career, but could you not find transferable experiences that offer you something similar.

It will take you some time to get out of this funk - maybe a long time. But during that time, you can be looking forward, too. And a good therapist is a Godsend!

Thank you for putting your life on the line every day. I wish you peace and happiness in this next chapter of life. You will find it.

Law Enforcement is Different...
by: Wendy

I really think it is. Cops are so tight, this is a job where the partners MUST have your back (or you might not BE any more). Right?

I've written this before -- but I often watched new hires complete paperwork. Normal Men. Weeks later they'd come back to Human Resources for some reason -- and physically LOOKED different. I always said I'd love to be a mouse in the corner, watching training... what DO they DO to suddenly appear so cop-like? They take on the law enforcement persona suddenly. Is it just me?

Have you ever toured a prison? It's the scariest thing ever -- and yet they LIVE this day after day.

Sending prayers that you too find your way! You will...

p.s. I've asked complete strangers before: Are you law enforcement? Usually, I'm right! GRIN!

p.s.s. Schedule a free call with me... chat it out, it will feel better!

Not really that different
by: Patrick

No matter what job you had , retirement is the same for all of us. I worked in tech for 40 years, travelled 1st class a great deal, and was on call 24*7 for many years.

Retired 9 months ago and became invisible. From being a tech professional and world traveller , I became an old man overnight in everyone's eyes.

Not an easy adjustment for any of us. Five months into retirement , I was diagnosed with cancer but looks like I will beat it.

Still find retirement difficult. I would love to have all those problems which kept me up at night and which I complained about.

But it is getting easier, Really beginning to enjoy an unstructured day and just hanging out with my wife.

Once I beat this cancer ,we will start to travel and cruise. Children spread across the world so plenty of reason to travel but no longer 1st class. Hang in there, volunteer, keep busy and appreciate the freedom.

Retirement
by: LouiseWT

Paul, law enforcement isn't the only occupation that you become devoted to. I worked for 18 years in research and development and my heart was broken when I signed my severance package and walked out the door for the last time. Those people were my 'family' in a weird way!

For me it has been since 2005 since I lost that job and still miss it. So, I suspect that you will always miss your job too. On the other hand my Hub was never in love with any of his jobs and is glad to be retired and has not one minute of regret. Each of us are different!

Need suggestions.
by: San Diego

I'll be retiring September 2018 from 32 years of Law Enforcement. I am experiencing anxiety which is now leading to depression. As cops we don't share these feelings with other cops.

Retired RN
by: Donna, Augusta, Mo

I'm not a cop but, a retired RN of three years. I can't believe it's been that long.

I felt the same way after 37 years with the same hospital. We were family. We also shared what being in the medical field meant. I tried to convince myself the career had changed and I relinquished my reins slowly to the rest generation.

Keep in contact with your cronies as much as possible. For me one by one they each retired!. We help each other navigate post retirement.

Thanks for your service you were one of a special breed.
Good luck in your new assignment

Friend's comments from India
by: Your Name/Location

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