As of 1330 this afternoon I am retired. I got the badge that says so right at the top. They gave me mementos, plaques and my active duty badge encased in Lucite. My friends got together and bought me my duty pistol. I will someday pass it along to my grandson. The uniforms are put away. The locker is cleared out. As tradition dictates, I have passed on my 25 year old handcuffs to the young officer I admire most. I know she'll keep the rust off them. The Chief and Deputy Chief took me out to breakfast and said nice things.
Ed, Nanc, The Sarge, The DO, Lu and many of my friends have given me the benefit of their wisdom and support. Thank you all.
The question of the day is "How do you feel?" The short answer is "All things considered, pretty good."
I don't intend to be one of those old geezers who can't do anything but sit around, talking about the good old days. 24 years 2 months in law enforcement. Add in 8 years 8 months of military time and I've been in one uniform or another for 2 months shy of 33 years. That's enough for anyone. It's time to move on and I intend to do exactly that.
I'll keep on shooting and trying to keep my martial skills sharp. I'm going to stay fit. Actually I intend to see just how fit A 50 something guy can get. Call it FiftyFit. I still lift and re-discovered my love for bicycles last year. A century is in my immediate future.
I'm going to spend all the time with my family I can. Especially the grand kids. Lu deserves to see me more often than just days off. We're going to travel. I'm going on some epic motorcycle rides with my best friend.
We have 2 houses in need of work or re-model. My honey do list is the size of a fair book.
I'm going to consult a little and maybe teach at the Academy. I've been approached by a couple of attorneys so I may even go private for a bit. Nothing serious though. I have 33 years of goofing off to catch up on.
It's been a good career. I regret nothing. I got through it alive and only a little crippled. I've had a chance to investigate everything from petty theft to murder. I've handled most any kind of call you can name. Met the strangest people, gaping assholes and felons of every stripe. Mostly though, people are just that. People. Folks just trying to get by and who do their best day in and day out, never asking for anything but a fair chance and to be left alone. I love them dearly.
I got to do a lot of very cool things. Motors. Bicycles. Even being an admin puke. The FBI trained me to be a SWAT officer and firearms instructor. John Plaster trained me to be a sniper. The smartest man I've ever actually met trained me to be an accident investigator. A stewardess taught me interrogation techniques(seriously!). Along the way I managed to attend hundreds of hours of formal training on everything from defensive tactics to domestic violence investigation to instructor development. My training record runs to 6 typed pages. I was indeed fortunate.
I've chased bad guys and fought for my life hand to hand with an armed felon determined to kill me. I've picked up kids off the street and returned them home and told other parents theirs wasn't coming home again. Ever.
I've seen more naked people than a porn director. Each one crazier than the last.
I've seen more death than anyone short of a morgue or a combat zone. I've comforted the elderly as I arranged for transport of their just deceased spouse. I've seen what 2 ton vehicles, alcohol and speed does to the human body. I've seen the trauma a tiny projectile can do. I've literally had an elderly man breathe his last breath into my mouth as I gave him unprotected CPR in front of his crying wife, desperate to save his life but knowing I was doomed to failure. I helped save the life of a drowning victim, only to see the paramedic kill her through heroin induced incompetence. I've seen the body of my friend, a man I convinced to join the police department, as he lay cooling on the operating table at the E.R., after eating his gun.
I've laughed at things, sometimes because they were funny and sometimes because I had to do so to remain sane.
I've met the finest people on this planet. People who would do anything to help someone else. The truly selfless. They saved me because they gave me hope that my efforts were not in vain.
I've handed out stickers and cards to wide eyed kids and taken others, fucked up beyond my ability to fix, to juvenile hall. Lost causes and I never knew why. I've investigated crimes against children I still can't talk about. Not because it's not allowed but because they're too horrible to remember. I once got a pedophile convicted and incarcerated. After his sentence was up I helped get him deported back to France (where he no doubt is as celebrated as that other child raping scumbag). Job satisfaction.
I've arrested more drunk drivers than I can count. I've even been thanked by a few.
I've seen officers come and go. Some went on to careers at other departments. Some couldn't handle the training or the pressure. A few were bad. Some just disappeared.
I've seen the good ones too though. The ones who are or will be fine, even great officers. Some I trained, some I just befriended but I revel in the knowledge that I have had some influence on all of them. Without shame or reservation I say that I love them. My spiritual Brothers and Sisters.
No, I have no regrets but I will not dwell on that which was. I will tell the occasional joke or story from those days but I will look forward. I cannot say whether I was a good cop or not. That judgement is for others to make. I will say that I did my duty as best I could, as conscientiously as I could every single day. In the end, that's all anyone can say.
Good, bad or indifferent, I have reached that stage which comes to all of us if we are so fortunate as to survive the pitfalls of this thing we call life.
I wrote in my final message to the department that everyone has some kind of good luck. Mine has always been the people in my life. It was the supreme honor of my life to have served with some of the finest.
I am content.