When I Knew It Was OK To RetirePosted: September 27, 2013
My retirement from the police department becomes official on Tuesday.
I’ve been on leave for the better part of this month. I’ve spent the time doing important things like exercising, watching football, growing a beard and growing a beard while watching football. I guess you could say that I’ve been retired for a month, but the official date is Tuesday.
As it got closer to time for me to go, I thought a lot about leaving the career that I loved.
Was it really time to go? Everything about leaving made sense, given the course of my life. But I still got a lot out of the job and was able to get it done. I did have to admit that when I got it done it was a lot slower and much craftier than when I was in my twenties. Still, crafty is at least as effective as being swift. Often it’s more effective. But the question was still there, was I done?
I needed something. I needed a sign. A sign that said, “it’s time to go.”
Twenty-eight years of policing changed me. A lot of those changes were good; there are a few that I will fix.
The biggest change is that certain things just didn’t sound odd to me anymore. Sure, shady people in suspicious circumstances still got my attention. But some other stuff that really should have made me scratch my head, didn’t. I got my sign a little over a year ago.
This Actually Made Sense, To Them And To Me…
On a particularly busy Saturday afternoon, I was on the way to two calls – a robbery and a stabbing. As a sergeant, I was expected to show up at “major” calls like those to make sure we were getting the investigation off to a good start. As I drove, a third major call came out – a kidnapping.
The stabbing was the biggest problem, so I elected to go there first. I listened to the radio for information on the robbery and the kidnapping. While I got involved in the stabbing call, I heard that the robbery was a false alarm. That left the kidnapping.
A few minutes later, I heard my number called on the radio. I answered and an officer told me I wasn’t needed for the kidnapping call. “It was just a baby shower” was the only explanation I received. I acknowledged what he’d said then went back to work at the scene I was on.
As I went off to sleep that night, I started thinking.
At that moment, ten hours after it happened, it finally occurred to me to wonder how a baby shower could result in someone believing there was a kidnapping going on. And it hit me – I was so used to weird that it wasn’t even weird anymore.
…And THAT Was My Sign
The next morning, I spoke with the officer who’d handled the baby shower/non-kidnapping. He wasn’t really sure what happened either. All he could tell me that everyone was calm and happy when he arrived. The people who made the 911 call told him “we thought it was a kidnapping but it was a baby shower.”
I’ve been to kidnappings and I’ve been to a baby shower. The only thing that the two events have in common are that people are present for both sorts of events. There was no danger to anyone at the baby shower I went to. Gifts and silly games were not involved in any of the kidnappings I worked.
When I realized that I’d spent twenty-eight years in a world where people said stuff like “we thought it was a kidnapping, but it was a baby shower” every day and truly meant it, I also realized that I’d seen and given enough.
I can let go now. I’m at peace and ready for a new adventure.
My best wishes, respect and love to those who remain on the job. I miss you and The Rock already. I’d swap places with any and all of you if they’d let me get even one of you to safety sooner. Blessings upon all of you for getting me here.
Y’all be careful.