Pass this on to any other retiree you know that I may have skipped over.
I think we can all relate in one way or another to this ... especially the last paragraph!
Thoughts from a Suffolk PD officer who retired in '89.
Just before retiring, some young puppy was busting my chops about how law enforcement has changed, and the system is improving for the best. I just smiled and gave him a little laugh.
He asked what was so funny. I told him that I felt sorry for him. When asked why, I told him, "Because in about 15 years, THIS is going to be your good old days."
We all saw the change in our jobs. I came on in 1970. I used to tell the rookies that our academy lasted 3 months. They gave us a stick, a gun, a dime, and kicked us out into the street. They told us: If you need help, use the dime. If you can't get to a phone, use the stick. If using the stick pisses him off, use the gun.
And the first order we received when we were assigned to a precinct was from our field sergeant. His order was "Don't you EVER bother me, kid."
Law enforcement then, was much different than the current mission. We delivered babies, got rough in the alley when we needed to, made "Solomon-like" decisions at least once a tour, and often wound up being big brother to the kid we roughed up in that alley a year or so ago. And, for some reason, none of that managed to get on a report. And the department didn't really want to know. All they wanted was numbers, and no ripples in the pond.
Because of the changing times, and the evolution of law enforcement, the modern young officers will never see that form of policing, and of course this is best. The current way is the right way... now. But it was different then (ergo, the Dinosaur Syndrome).
When it's time to go, we wonder if we're going to miss the job. After all, other than our kids and a few marriages, it was the most important thing in our lives. Actually, it was the other way around. The job was first, but only another cop could understand how I mean that.
But have faith, brother! After a short time of feeling completely impudent,(after all, you're just John Q. now), reality hits like a lead weight.
It's not the job we miss after all. It's what we, as individuals, had accomplished while in this profession that we miss. The challenge of life and death, good and bad, right and wrong, or even simply easing the pain of some poor bastard for a while, someone we will never see again.