I retired from my police career in the fall of 2013. Twenty-eight years had passed since I showed up for my first day at the police academy. Those years took their toll on me, physically and emotionally. I’m proud of my career, yet I’m relieved that it is over.
And so I’ve settled into a life I never envisioned. I live quietly; cooking, exercising and writing fill my days. In the evening, I share dinner and laughs with my wife. I’ve got it good.
Now and again, someone will ask “if you could, would you go back to The Job?”. There are parts of my career that I miss, but the short answer is no.
But that doesn’t mean that I don’t have ambition.
I Dream Of Sushi
While I’ll never wear a police uniform again there is a job that I’d jump at – sushi chef. Read the rest of this entry »
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.
Last Saturday, the people I worked with at the police department held a party to celebrate my retirement.
It actually wasn’t that kind of party. No pitchforks and torches. There were a lot of laughs and a lot of stories told.
There was even a bubble wrap suit made for me to commemorate my resistance to everyone’s efforts to protect me over my last few months. Read the rest of this entry »
So, I’m getting older. I’m older, but I’m not ninety-one. Not yet. I’m just practicing being ninety-one.
My day-to-day job involves working with a partner. Together, we supervise a shift. I’ve been fortunate to have my two best partners as I approach the end of my first career.
Seeing The Line
My old partner retired at the end of 2011. He earned the reputation of being a no-nonsense guy, but the great secret that so many missed about him was that he cared about our work, those who did it, and the good folks in the neighborhoods we worked. Somehow, those he worked for never saw those qualities in him. The people who worked for him are wiser, they miss Curt. I do too.
Bill took Curt’s place on the job, but brought his own style. He is smart. Smart enough to be himself. He will earn the same respect his predecessor did.
Like I said, Curt had a no-nonsense reputation. He didn’t mind disagreeing with management when he decided it was important that they hear from him. But in his last year, something changed.
Hello, from the Omawarisan Compound in Key West.
I’ve taken a few days away from life to put my feet up and enjoy my best friends. They’ve asked me to put my feet back down, but whenever that happens, I walk. When I walk, I get interrupted by rum or beer. Then I sing and dance in the sun.
When I reach the sing and dance stage, pretty much the entire island agrees that I should be putting my feet up and writing. I’m showing them. I haven’t gone out to meet rum yet today, I’m writing first. That way, when I sing, they won’t be able to tell me to put my feet up and write. Read the rest of this entry »
About a week and a half ago, I told the people that I supervise about an appointment I had after work.
They were very happy for me.
I’ve been looking forward to this event. I’d leave the meeting knowing the day I would restart my life in a new direction.
As I left my office, something unexpected happened. I got emotional.
It was as if I was leaving for the last time. I had to do something to maintain my image. So I put my sunglasses on and snarled at a rookie who happened to be walking in the same door I was stepping out of.
Poor kid still doesn’t know what he did to earn that. Maybe I’ll tell him that he can pay it forward in thirty years. Read the rest of this entry »
They say she was there when the building went up. She moved over to the new one when they knocked the old one down. When our division moved from that new building to a satellite office, she moved in to that building. I guess that means that I have first hand knowledge that she was there when the last two buildings went up. I’m going to take it on faith that she was there when they constructed the one that got knocked down.
Let’s call her Gail, since that’s not her name. She’s the secretary for our little slice of the big operation. Read the rest of this entry »