Preparing for Life After a Police Career




Spraggins, Nate

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Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT)



While surviving the political and physical dangers that police officers encounter during the span of a career, many officers look forward to retirement until that time actually arrives. Police officers nearing retirement have a number of challenges to overcome in order to truly enjoy their life after policing. In order to overcome these challenges, officers need to be informed of them early in their career. Once informed, officers and their agencies can begin planning strategies for overcoming these issues. Some issues that officers facing retirement may encounter are known and predictable. Officers can expect to encounter a feeling of loss. This includes loss of identity once they turn in the active duty badge in addition to the loss of comradery and status (Perin, 2015). Officers can also expect to face some significant health issues (both mental and physical) related to the years of stress and shift work (Wirtz & Nachreiner, 2012). In addition to these challenges many officers are not financially prepared to actually retire, due in large part to the relatively early retirement ages that are afforded to them. Since these issues are known and can be anticipated, agencies have a responsibility to prepare their officers for their eventual retirement. In order to meet this responsibility, agencies should establish robust career long retirement planning for their officers. These plans should encompass physical and mental wellness, financial planning, and pre-retirement activity options. This approach will benefit the agencies, their officers, and their communities by fielding healthy well rounded individuals, who are optimistic about their future.