Retiring from the force can be difficult for many career officers, especially when they’ve formed tight bonds with their colleagues and the communities they serve. Many end up missing work after a few years but feel like they don’t have anything to offer. However, retired officers should know that their wealth of experience and expertise can make them very valuable assets and that they can still make a significant impact. Here are a few ways retired policers can still make a difference.
Further Your Education
One of the first things you should consider is if you could further your education and move into different roles. For instance, you could get a BA in policing and move into leadership positions. You could also use your new qualifications to work in advocacy or become a consultant. Here are some of the positions you could fill with a bachelor’s degree in policing:
- Staff Superintendent
- Chief of Police
- Deputy Chief
- Deputy Chief Constable
- Chief Constable
- Sergeant Major
- Staff Sergeant
The best part is that you don’t necessarily have to go back on a school bench; you can now get your degree completely online from institutions like Wilfrid Laurier University. They have a nice piece on the requirements needed to get in the program, and how you can use previous credits to accelerate the process. They also explain some of the benefits of their program, and who would be the best candidates for enrollment.
Become a Loss Prevention Specialist
If you still want to help prevent crime but want a change of pace, another option could be to work as a loss prevention specialist. As a loss prevention specialist, you might be able to work independently or work with major government agencies.
If you decide to work in the private sector, you might have to work with management to determine how to prevent loss from both shoplifting and theft from insiders. This could be by helping establish protocols or using surveillance technology and techniques. Some loss prevention experts end up working at the corporate level and help identify theft risks and things such as embezzlement for instance.
You could also diversify your skillset and try to get a formation in cybersecurity. You will then be able to work in data forensics and help companies reduce chances for cyber attacks.
Become a Crime Scene Investigator
This is a great option if you still want to be close to the action, but don’t feel like you can handle patrol work. As a crime scene investigator, you will be asked to:
- Analyze crime scenes
- Determine what should be collected as evidence
- Take the crime scene and evidence photographs
- Make crime scene sketches
- Record findings and observations, such as the position and location of evidence
- Preserve and catalog evidence for crime labs
- Reconstruct crime scenes
This is very intense work, and you need to have a certain disposition for it, but if you feel like this is something you can do, your years of expertise could help you provide further insight and help with investigations. As a former officer, you’ll have most of the skills needed, though you might have to take some forensic photography classes. Also know that former officers tend to be well paid as crime scene investigators, with some earning in the 6 figures.
Work as a Private Investigator
The great thing about being a private investigator is that you can still help solve cases but have much more independence. You’ll have no one to answer to and be able to pick your own clients. You might decide to work on one specific type of case, like finding missing persons, or people who might be committing insurance fraud.
However, while your job as a P.I. is still important, it’s not as hands-on as many imagine. “Your job is to help gather facts, that’s it,” said professional investigator Tony Quintana. “The facts will ultimately determine if the situation is actually true…it’s like you’re literally trying to put a puzzle together,” he added.
This is why retired officers are perfect for the job. They can use their experience and sense of observation to investigate potential suspects and provide insight without being as involved. You should also know that working as a private investigator demands a lot of patience. You might have to do surveillance for hours without getting anything of significance. You’ll also have to deal with a lot of paper and grunt work, so be prepared for that.
Become a Bodyguard or Start a Security Business
This one is a great option if you want to do something a bit different, but still, be able to use your skillset as an ex-police officer. Officers make great armed bodyguards and are great at identifying dangerous situations or potentially dangerous individuals. You might be called to work with people of interest, business owners, celebrities, or officials. You might also be called to perform security at special events.
This is also a great field if you want to start your own business. Starting a security business is not that complicated, and you can get started with a reasonably small budget. You can choose to start by working on small events and start building your client base.
One of the things that will make you a great security business owner is that you’ll know exactly what you can and cannot do. This will allow you to prevent issues like lawsuits, and make sure that you keep a good name. You could then transition to things like secured transport. You could also start your own VIP security service and start dispatching bodyguards. There are many opportunities in this field, and great demand, so it could be a great way to gain independence and generate your own income.
These are all great options if you want to repurpose yourself and help in your own way. Make sure that you consider all of these, and know exactly what will be expected of you so you don’t get up getting disillusioned.