Friday, June 12, 2015

Retirement

Well, that's it. I've retired.

I am by far (more than 10 years) the oldest guy on my department - and it's time for me to go.

After many years in another profession, I became a police officer at an age when many other guys are thinking about retiring. A lot of people thought I was crazy. But it was something I really wanted to do.

I loved it, and it showed. I was as proactive as I possibly could be - looking for crooks every minute of every day - and finding quite a few in the process. I ran up numbers no one else on my department could touch. I took a lot of grief for that. Somebody once said, "You're always into something; you're a total shit magnet". He was correct. Some guys are happy to take as few calls as possible, and hide in their squads the rest of the shift. I would've gone crazy doing that. I stayed busy all the time. I never even considered applying for promotion. The street was where I belonged and where I wanted to stay.

I got to see and do things most people never get to. You know how, when you're looking at some taped-off crime scene or huge auto accident, and you think to yourself: wow, I wonder what's going on over there? Well, I got to be "over there". I was one of the ones in the middle of it. It was fun. It was exciting. It was the very best time of my life.

And the friendships. Oh, boy. I've been a lot of places and done a lot of things in my life. But I've never had friendships like those I've had with some of my fellow officers. Guys I would do absolutely anything for - and who I could count on for absolutely anything. Guys I backed up on calls and who backed me up, fought bad guys with, drank with, laughed and cried with. The most wonderful guys in the world. I don't know how I'll go on without them. Yeats said it exactly right.

But when you do the job the way I've done it, you eventually get hurt. And stuff doesn't heal the way it used to. I'm told I likely will never heal from nerve damage I sustained in a fall during a foot pursuit over a year ago (yes, I caught him). I have chronic tendonitis in one elbow from a fight with a drunk. My back is screwed up and "goes out" regularly. I'm looking at shoulder replacement surgery, once the cortisone injections stop working, from decades of pushing too much weight in the gym. To continue would put me at risk of really hurting myself, or, God forbid, getting someone else hurt. I can't and won't let that happen. It's time for me to go.

Plus, I'm just not political enough. So much of police work has become show. I think that's due to the backlash against a few bad cops who've made bad decisions that became national news, and against good decisions by good cops that have been spun to the dark side before all the facts were known. Whatever, I just don't fit in what's become such a politically charged environment. I'm genuinely willing to help those in need, but I don't get all touchy-feely about it. I'm not politically correct or semantically paranoid. I call a spade a spade. I'm sarcastic and cynical most the time, and pissed off a lot. It's time for me to go.

Then there's the bullshit calls. I'm both blessed and cursed to work in a fairly low crime city. The likelihood of me getting killed at work is substantially lower than in a place like Chicago or St. Louis or Baltimore. But the flip side of that is we take calls that cops in other agencies would never get dispatched to. Animal calls. Civil matters. Parking lot fender benders. Snow complaints. Lawn complaints. Parents wanting us to discipline their kids. Calls from people that simply cannot run their own lives and want cops to do it for them. This stuff eventually just bleeds the life out of you. It's time for me to go

So, that's it. I'm going to continue this blog until I run out of things to write. I don't know how long that will be. I'll keep you posted.

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

As long as Strunk White is delivering "the weather", you should have plenty of fodder for the blog.

Seriously though, I can only imagine that your retirement is also your community's loss. Best wishes as you transition to a new stage in life. And, thanks for the sacrifices you made to keep your community safe. In an era where everyone wants to blame and point fingers, you were actually someone who stood up and made a difference I'm sure.

Steph B said...

Thank you for all your years of service. I only recently found your blog, courtesy of Dr. Grumpy, and have enjoyed it. Enjoy your well deserved retirement.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your years of service. They are losing a good one. Enjoy retirement!

Matt M said...

Congratulations, and thanks for putting up with it all. Please keep posting the interesting stuff you encounter and remember.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your retirement! You deserve it. Thank you for your service. God speed.

Carolyn said...

Congratulations on your retirement! You spent more than 10 years doing something many people couldn't do for 10 minutes - it has been well earned. Your own time on the job is coming to a close but I am sure that you inspired others and served as a good example of running toward trouble and helping people through scary and troubling things. It is a comfort to know you are out there, but when you aren't, it will be a comfort to know that the officers you inspired will be.

Beth said...

Thank you for all you've done and for sharing with us. Hope you find something even more rewarding to do next! Hope to be able to keep reading about it.

Mrs. Higrens said...

Thank you, both for your service, and for sharing the moments which it encompassed. And, of course, the idiocy of Strunk White, weatherman not-so-extraordinaire.

David said...

Congratulations on your retirement and thank you for your service.

Ms. Donna said...

Thank you (seems such a small pair of words) for your service.

Randy H said...

congrats

lbparker said...

Thanks for your service, OC. You deserve a rest and some healing. Now you'll have the time to spend with your family, and maybe find somewhere else where you can be a great role model. Ever thought of working with kids?

Jono said...

A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do, but what will you do now? Your not the kind of guy to spend your days vegetating in front of the TV swearing at Strunk White. There is plenty to do and you can still write about your adventures.

Harmon said...

I have considered your request for permission to retire, and it is denied. Keep writing!

Pam Lee said...

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! Thank you for sharing parts of your career with us.

Anonymous said...

*internet hugs* (Sorry, I just really wanted to give you a hug after reading that).

Please don't read too much news. The police are the Big Bad today, but someone else will be the Big Bad tomorrow. Please don't let it negate the good work that you do.

Best wishes to you, and the best of luck in the future.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations and hopefully you will find new things to keep you busy. :)

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! Thank you for helping to keep our streets safe! I'm incredibly grateful for the women & men in your line of work; especially as someone who spent 17 years as an educator! If I didn't have to leave due to several concerning medical conditions I'd still be going strong w/ plans of retiring the year I turned 55!

Did you do much work in the schools (DARE, etc.)?

Do you and Mrs. Cynical have any special retirement plans?

Have a great weekend!

Dr Bob said...

Enjoy your retirement.

Hllbillygirl G said...

Congratulations! Alas, the good things go away as soon as I find them - I only recently became acquainted with your blog via Dr Grumpy. Please keep writing!

awesomesauciness said...

Little late to the party, but enjoy the retirement and thank you for your service Officer. :-)

Struck by a Turtle said...

I agree with Ibparker: Have you ever thought of working with kids?

You'd be great and doing that would be GREAT fodder for the blog :)

Jay said...

I am late checking in this week and the first thing I see is your retirement message. I just want to wish you the very best and add my thanks for all you have seen and done. Guys like you are my Heroes for I know our communities would be lost without people like your good self. It is said with complete sincerity so thank you again for being there.
Take care of yourself and enjoy. I will always look forward to dropping by to read your "war" stories. I only hope you have buckets full of them and that the day never comes when you stop posting.
The very best to you and yours and thanks.

warmsocks said...

Congratulations. Hope you enjoy your retirement.

Anonymous said...

I am REALLY late in seeing this. Congratulations on retirement. Thanks for your service. Your community is suffering a loss. There are other good officers, but you will be missed.