Preparing Police Officers for Retirement: Financial and Emotional Wellness




Washburn, Russel

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Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT)



Retirement is often a stressful transition from the security of an everyday routine to the peril of the unknown. Those facing retirement think they are prepared because of a fund they set up in the beginning or elated because of the amount of time they will have on their hands. Unfortunately, for some, that is not the case. Especially for those, such as police officers, that have careers that are exasperating. Police officers spend the majority of their career handling the negative aspects of today’s society. By the end, they have spent a preponderance of time witnessing and controlling the aftermath of destruction, abuse, betrayal, and even death. They are expected to deal with these disparities yet remain emotionally detached. Police agencies have procedures in play for the mental well-being of officers when it comes to initial hiring and on the job incidents or trauma, but nothing is aligned for those faced to deal with the years following retirement and the emotional distress that may follow. Likewise, even though pensions are set from the start, officers are not equipped to handle financial planning after retirement. The average salary earned after retirement is only a fraction of what they are accustomed to which makes just the basic necessities a struggle for some. As they age, health care costs, along with cost of living expenses will only continue to rise, yet their income will remain the same. Officers need guidance for preparation of this stage and departments should offer financial planning to help them adjust. Agencies should prepare police officers to understand common emotional consequences and plan financially from the beginning for the end.


Police--retirement, Retirement benefits