When Will You Retire from Your Police Career?

As a working cop have you thought about when you are going to retire? Maybe you have a fixed police retirement date that’s not within your control or maybe you can plan your own date but haven’t even started to plan for it yet. Maybe you are like many other police officers in that you feel that you will never be able to retire and that they will find you withering away in your patrol car at age 95.

I’d like to ask you to consider another factor and that is how long can you stay successful in the job? How long can you tolerate the stress and demands of the job and still perform it at a level that you know is acceptable? I don’t think the financial planning aspect and the personal health planning aspect of this decision need to be or even should be separate.

I retired at age 45 because I knew it was the right time for me and because I could see what the effects of the stress of the job were doing to me and my health. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t in any particularly high stress part of the job but after twenty three years I had seen and done enough. I had my fun but I also had an ulcer, had caught myself drinking too much, had been divorced and had, honestly, seen too many kids die.

Being a cop is a tough job. For most of us it doesn’t have the constant high impact stress of a soldier in combat but rather it is usually a slow insipid, burning kind of stress that brews and percolates throughout your career. Each of sees and does different things and we each process and handle those things differently. What have you endured during your career?

So, when will you retire? What planning do you need to do to prepare yourself for retirement and what will be the signal that tells you it’s time to leave the job? Over the next couple of months CopsAlive will explore this question further and we will be asking you for your input and we will be identifying people who can help you answer these questions and who can help you with the planning process. Stay tuned!

About Editor

John Marx was a Police Officer for twenty-three years and served as a Hostage Negotiator for nineteen of those years. He worked as a patrol officer, media liaison officer, crime prevention officer and burglary detective. Also during his career he served as administrator of his city's Community Oriented Governance initiative through the police department's Community Policing project. Today John combines his skills to consult with businesses about improving both their security and their customer service programs. John retired from law enforcement in 2002. When one of his friends, also a former police officer, committed suicide at age 38, John was devastated and began researching the problems that stress creates for police officers. He decided he needed to do something to help change those problems and he wanted to give something back to the profession that gave him so much. He started a project that has evolved into CopsAlive.com. Put simply, the mission of CopsAlive is to save the lives of those who save lives! CopsAlive.com gathers information, strategies and tools to help law enforcement professionals plan for happy, healthy and successful careers, relationships and lives.
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