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Fighting the good fight
Picture of RogueJSK
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Originally posted by honestlou:
Lastly, as I near 63, a full retirement at 52 is not something to take lightly (I know you’re not).


Similar to the OP, I just hit 17 years into our 28 year retirement. 11 more to go. Single digits are so close I can taste them, and it'll all be downhill from there.

During a previous dark time in my work life, when I was seriously considering jumping ship and starting over in a whole new career, the prospect of being fully retired at age 49 - and only ever having to work if I wanted to after that - was one of the primary motivating factors for me just sucking it up and driving on.

I'm glad I did. The eventual result was worth the temporary pain.

And it'll get even better in just 11 more years.

Granted, it's not the only factor, and if things had gotten bad enough I would have bailed regardless, but it's certainly a big factor. At least for me.
Posts: 32719 | Location: Northwest Arkansas | Registered: January 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The advice to ride out the remaining 12 years certainly has merit. But... Where will your PD and pension plan be during those years? For example, a few years into my retirement my pension plan bailed on retiree health care. That hit me hard. And everyone else enrolled too. Are more woke policy decisions going to affect you? How about staffing? Police recruiting now is pretty much crisis level. Could you find yourself back in a patrol car at 50? And God forbid your department gets saddled with a Federal Consent Degree. If it hasnt already. Of course, things could improve but only time will tell.

End of Earth: 2 Miles
Upper Peninsula: 4 Miles
Posts: 16256 | Location: Marquette MI | Registered: July 08, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of abnmacv
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Not LEO but represented them and watched many leave to a variety of circumstances. Most common was to leave for a different agency with a far lower crime rate that coincidentally had a population that was pro-law enforcement.

U.S. Army 11F4P Vietnam 69-70 NRA Life Member
Posts: 1589 | Registered: June 11, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Do No Harm,
Do Know Harm
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The retirement at 52 is the only real known part to me that makes me hesitant.

Our state’s retirement is solid. No concern there. It’s good money, too.

I will not have retirement healthcare, so I will still have to do something to deal with that post-retirement.

I could very well get stuck at my current rank until I retire. But I won’t end up back in a car answering radio calls.

Question is really—if you made the switch, was the work culture better? Job demands more reasonable? Work/life balance better? I’ve worked 50-80 hours a week for most of my life since I was 20. Nights, weekends, holidays…I’m over it.

Knowing what one is talking about is widely admired but not strictly required here.

Although sometimes distracting, there is often a certain entertainment value to this easy standard.

"All I need is a WAR ON DRUGS reference and I got myself a police thread BINGO." -jljones
Posts: 11460 | Location: NC | Registered: August 16, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by chongosuerte:
Question is really—if you made the switch, was the work culture better? Job demands more reasonable? Work/life balance better? I’ve worked 50-80 hours a week for most of my life since I was 20. Nights, weekends, holidays…I’m over it.
Not an LEO, but have a little private sector experience. Work culture/work-life balance/etc runs the gamut. There are places that are good and places that suck. In my experience, it is generally a transactional relationship. Employees tend to move more or less frequently as a company will pay more to hire you back than they will to keep you. You’re generally looking at a 401k. In almost every instance companies have erased the word pension from their vocabulary. To a much greater extent than government agencies, companies fortunes rise and fall. If the company no longer needs you or can no longer afford you, they won’t hesitate to show you the door. Not saying the private sector is bad, I loved it, but it is definitely different.
Posts: 6976 | Location: Lost, but making time. | Registered: February 23, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
His Royal Hiney
Picture of Rey HRH
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I know cops who did side gigs.

"It did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life – daily and hourly. Our answer must consist not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual." Viktor Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning, 1946.
Posts: 19841 | Location: The Free State of Arizona - Ditat Deus | Registered: March 24, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
semi-reformed sailor
Picture of MikeinNC
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Chongo, you could check and see if the courts there have an investigator. A friend became the 8DAI last year when they opened up two positions. Both guys opted to not be sworn LEOs, one’s a former hose dragger and the other was one of the best detectives I’ve ever met.

It’s a state retirement and all your policing years count.

"Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor.” Robert A. Heinlein

“You may beat me, but you will never win.” sigmonkey-2020

“A single round of buckshot to the torso almost always results in an immediate change of behavior.” Chris Baker
Posts: 11386 | Location: Temple, Texas! | Registered: October 07, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
7.62mm Crusader
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Starting your own small business might just work out good for you. Maybe get a FFL and build a small shop into a money making business. Some FFLs do loads of weekend Gun Shows and it can pay off big time, especially the used firearms. Or maybe buy a franchise, Chick fi lay. People in N. Carolina lubs chicken. Even if you retire from your job at 52, you will have too much time on your hands. Call it, Chongos 357 Magnum Cheese Burger.. Big Grin. Your own business.
Posts: 17950 | Location: The Bluegrass State! | Registered: December 23, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Green grass and
high tides
Picture of old rugged cross
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12 Years is a half a life time of work. No way I would spend that much of my life doing something that I hated and was only going to get worse.
Don't fall into that retirement is too good to leave trap either.

Find another job in your field that you can enjoy and have a life.

Not working for the gov. will free you more than you will ever know until you don't.

Good luck.

"Practice like you want to play in the game"
Posts: 19465 | Registered: September 21, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of Lt CHEG
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I made the switch, and am ultimately so unhappy with the switch that I’m running for Sheriff. If I had left when I could actually retire it would have been a different story I think, but knowing that I’m still working makes me feel like I’ve got unfinished business. And yes the job has changed considerably since guys like you and I were rookies, but I’m still good at what I did and know that if I came back I’d be at the top of my game. If I had it to do all over again, I think I still would have left ATF because they really are THAT broke, but I wish I had just gone into another law enforcement agency.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
Posts: 5598 | Location: Upstate NY | Registered: February 28, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of ftttu
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I retired from LE, but went back after being retired for over 5 years. I never worked anywhere during my absence. For officers who’ve left intentionally or forced out, some I know have become teachers, realtors, nurses, and self employed/small businesses owners. This is your one life, as said above, so seize the day! Good luck!

I will retire again from LE in a couple of months, but as of the typing of this response, I will not re-enter the work force. It will be fin for me.

Retired Texas Lawman
Posts: 1207 | Location: Texas | Registered: March 03, 2016Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of RR
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Going back to my old position is not a realistic option. If I were to get a voluntary demotion I’m sure they put me on third shift somewhere as retribution. However that’s not an option I’m taking off the table yet.

This resonated with me. Unless I had a solid answer, this is where I would be. Get used to nights for a while if need be.
Posts: 463 | Location: Upstate NY | Registered: October 09, 2018Reply With QuoteReport This Post
hello darkness
my old friend
Picture of gw3971
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Chongo, I retired from law enforcement after 26 years back in 2020. I never tried to promote as I still enjoyed making cases and investigating.

I left L.E. because I was tired of subpoena's on my days off and a leftist D.A. that I wasn't willing to try my hand with if things went bad. I found a busy work kind of job with good benefits working for the power company. I do physical security at our power plant which mean I run off the homeless and try and stop them from killing themselves by stealing copper from our powerplant/grid.

There are jobs in the private sector where you can find work as an investigator. Most revolve around fraud. I have friends who left and now they work for workers comp agency here in Utah, several work for various credit unions and banks doing physical security and not necessarily fraud. Our local cable company also has investigators and they help build cases on thieves stealing cable and turn it over to cops for prosecution.

Some of the Ultility companies do have investigators as well so you might look there. I promise the work isn't exciting but the people are nice and the pay can be comparable and the benefits tend to be better than being an LEO.

Many large companies also have security officers working to insure safety on site and investigate employee theft/fraud.

I have a friend who left LE to investigate property damage claims for a large trucking company. He collects reports on accidents and works hand and hand with their insurance company to fight or pay claims.

I have a friend working for the dark side(defense attorneys). They are always looking for cops who can explain our thought process and use that info to help their guilty clients. I always ask him how we sleeps at night and he always say "Great, its easy to sleep with all that money in the bank, and never having to work weekends or holidays." Check the bigger firms.

A couple of my friends are working at the larger cities where they have exposition centers for trade shows doing safety and security for those facilities. Most are making around $70k or but you will be working every weekend.

Court security is contracted out here in the west to a couple of security companies. Even the federal courts use them and generally only use ex LEO's. Sounded boring as hell to me. Pay was around $30 an hour here in Utah IIRC>

Some of the same security companies as the courts did security for the FAA. Guard shack kind of stuff but its easy and pretty boring.

All big companies have security needs so check the fortune 500 companies.

Don't forget the rail road police. Most rail roads have their own police forces and work alone in some pretty interesting places.

oh and don't forget insurance companies. They use investigators as well.

I looked at local trade schools as well. Found a couple that had exleo's working as campus security like an SRO. They did some theft, insurance reports.

I have a friend who left LE and found a job at a major university(USC) doing investigations and providing safety recommendations. She does what she calls "title 9 investigations." She basically interviewed assault and sexual assault victims and then recommended which cases went to the campus police or the local college disciplinary board. She said it was good money and she wasn't much of a cop.
Posts: 7728 | Location: West Jordan, Utah | Registered: June 19, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Weird question maybe but would you consider demoting back down to the job you liked that paid more? I know I get asked when I'm going to take the Sgt exam on each eval and I always answer "Hell no, I've never seen one of you happy"! At least in my agency it seems the baseline folks like their jobs and management hates theirs. And often tries to do ours. I wonder if dropping back down would let you find happiness and give you the cash with less stress and nonsense?
Posts: 3077 | Location: Pnw | Registered: March 21, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of V-Tail
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I have a friend who took early retirement from LE and is now happily flying jets for a charter company.

הרחפת שלי מלאה בצלופחים
Posts: 31063 | Location: Central Florida, Orlando area | Registered: January 03, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Prepared for the Worst, Providing the Best
Picture of 92fstech
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A buddy left about a year ago to go work for himself. He's now trying to get back in.

A different buddy left to go work at his family's business, and seems to be loving it, but we don't all have that to fall back on.

The one thing I'd suggest (and I don't know how NC's pension program works...if you can't transfer years between agencies then this may not be a solution) is maybe look at smaller localities to get away from the daily grind. In a small enough town, you might even have the qualifications to start out as the chief with your years and experience.

I work in what is basically modern-day Mayberry, and went to day shift about a year ago. I mostly spend my days helping the school crossing guard, tagging along with the chief for PR stuff, training, and make a few traffic stops here and there. I miss the fun and comraderie of night shift, but every now and then a situation still comes along where I get to do some real police work. I'm not falling asleep on my days off, my phone rarely rings, and if I have to go to court or work outside details, I'm already awake so it's a lot less painful.

I know the stress drives the desire for change, but don't let it force the decision, if that makes sense. Make sure you're looking at all the factors (which it sounds like you are). You shouldn't stay in a job where you're miserable or undervalued...but don't base everything on the money, either. I've left jobs before to move to a better environment for less pay, and have always been happy with the outcome.
Posts: 8934 | Location: In the Cornfields | Registered: May 25, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of JR78
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I took a break for a couple of years and worked in Risk Management for Nokia back in the day. It was an eye opener to say the least. However, the blue was a callin' and have never looked back.

Men who carry guns for a living do not seek reward outside of the guild. The most cherished gift is a nod from his peers.
Posts: 1973 | Location: DFW | Registered: December 17, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of Apphunter
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Have you consider sticking it out until the 25 year mark? You don't get the supplement but that puts you into single digits until retirement. from 12 to 7. 7 Seems a lot more bearable.
Posts: 918 | Registered: November 06, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Raised Hands Surround Us
Three Nails To Protect Us
Picture of Black92LX
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Can’t speak personally as I have not left yet and when I do it will be with a pension. But as you may have also I have seen a lot of folks leave and here is what I see.

For many people and employers there is a difference in how some/many people view FORMER law enforcement compared to RETIRED law enforcement.

You will likely get varying opinions on the matter based upon if someone left prior to retirement, went out on disability, or just retired in service.

Most of the folks I know that left and went to
the private sector before being eligible to retire and really prefer the private over their LE sector were really good folks but really weren’t the best officers.
Those that left LE prior to retirement missed it terribly and either returned or had really been gone too long for anyone to hire them, we’re on the upper end of quality officers.

Pretty much anyone that had to go out on disability and ended up in the private sector would do nearly anything to get back to LE.

Then comes the folks that actually retired on years of service. Prior to 5 years ago (about) most everyone I talked to that had retired had a bit of regret leaving and many had a lot of regret leaving.
However, in the last 5 years all of LE has seen a mass exodus especially those that retired. In the last 5 years everyone I have talked to that retired says they are so glad they did it, wish they would have done it sooner. They said it took some time to get used to it but all have told me to get out the day I can.

The last 5 years have been very hard on LE and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

I don’t envy your situation one bit. I can go anytime if I choose to buy out the time I have left (about the same cost of a very very nice car) or I can work 2 more years and have a pension that is a few hundred bucks shy of what I am brining home now, or I can work about 6 more years and my pension take home will be equal to my working take home. Anything past that 6 year mark my pension take home will be home than my working take home so there is not a chance in the world I am going past that 6 year mark. I will be 46 then. Thankfully our pay scale has drastically changed over our last two contracts. In the past contracts if you did not promote you needed to get a full time job to live decently. That has now changed and unless one has to split their pension amongst a few exes and illegitimate children and you live within decent means you do not have to work. You won’t have a Porsche or a condo on the beach but one would be fine.

One MAJOR thing really really stood out in one of your post aside from being miserable. Is that you feared RETRIBUTION if you would ask for a voluntary demotion. If you honestly went to your department/agency and told them it was really not the position for you and you were miserable and they hold that against you I would not really want to work for such an agency.

That being said, I am 40 and been doing this for just over 18 years and there is not a chance in the world I would be doing this job for another 12 years.
I am 40 and still work a beat and that is where I will stay till the end because that is me.
I had a very specialized, plain clothes gig for about 6 years. I got to travel the world, had very little supervision (because I did good work and did not do stupid crap with that little supervision), I made some awesome cases and arrests, I got to go shoot lots of free ammo with Jljones and DocSteve one weekend and got paid A LOT of money to do it. But I had to travel A LOT, no week was under 50 hours, on call 24/7, had to be on planes in under 5 hours a couple times.
And while it was a blast I was missing out on a lot of time with my first son. I left that to go back to the street. That was 7 years ago and I lost $1,000-$1,500 a month at the time. With our pay scale changes over the years and if I was still in that position I would be out closer to $3,000 a month.
At this stage in the game I would not go back. I have not worked over 40 hours in the last 7 years, I have no case load, I don’t check email or take calls from work after shift.
I work 4 days a week and take 3 straight weeks off in the summer and another 3 off scattered through the rest of the year.
I am one of the most senior folks still on the street, supervisors leave me alone, lots of the younger folks and a few supervisors are always coming to me to help with stuff.
Sure I have some crappy days (yesterday was up there) but most of my days are still very enjoyable but there is not a chance in the world I would be doing this for 13 more years and I still highly enjoy it.
If I absolutely hated it, which it sounds like you do, there is now way I would stay.

And yes I have some irons in the fire of the private sector which is where I will go when I leave. No more LE here.

The world's not perfect, but it's not that bad.
If we got each other, and that's all we have.
I will be your brother, and I'll hold your hand.
You should know I'll be there for you!
Posts: 25567 | Registered: September 06, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Hop head
Picture of lyman
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not LEO but did do 35 yrs in retail grocery, then another 5 in sporting goods retail (corporate type company) before working for myself,

don't do it, as in don't go the retail route,

years ago, maybe, the Division LP I knew at Winn Dixie was retired FBI, he was a great guy, but worked a lot of long days either doing surveillance himself, or traveling, h
cheap company, not a lot of help for him or anyone back then, but he enjoyed what he did and was not in anyways a dick about any of it,

switched to Kroger, Corporate LP, Division LP, district LP and piles of minions (one for a store or 3)

all under their own umbrella, and all would say out of one side of their mouth how they were there to help the Store Managers and teams, and then go tell the boss something different,
the minions made mall cops look good, and the district and divisional staff were know it all ex cops (that left for various reasons, or were forced out) and miserable,

nothing but self serving dicks,

with the exception of one guy that was regional (over several divisions) that did ORC work, who enjoyed his work and interactions with both Store Management and local Police, every single LP was miserable,
and would do all they could to do the same to you,

ditto the other big box but small box LP crew at my last employer,
in retail theft is a given, and most folks know that most loss or shrink is paper driven, as in errors, or employee,
factor in corporate decisions to limit interactions with suspected shoplifters, as in don't stop or confront, ignore basically and call the law, maybe,
all the LP bozo's did as another member stated, watched cameras and ran cash register logs, looking to fire employees

each and every day,
and each of those fukkers I met were miserable bastards too,

ymmv, and just my (jaded) opinion,

Posts: 10472 | Location: Beach VA,not VA Beach | Registered: July 17, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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