By Hal Collier, LAPD, Retired
Hal is a thirty-five year veteran of LAPD. We are pleased he is sharing his stories with us.
I’ve been retired for almost nine years now and I’ve learned a few things, That surprises you, huh? Some I’ll describe in one sentence, others will require a few more. These are things that retirement has taught me.
I don’t watch cop shows or the news with my wife or non-cop friends. I once watched an episode of Hawaii 50. A guy was shot by a sniper on the beach. McGarrett stuck a pencil in the palm tree where a bullet had missed. He figured out which room from a thirty-story hotel the shot came from. I almost puked. Who writes this crap?
I pick apart the tactics, how they collect evidence and don’t even get me started on courtroom testimony. I laugh whenever a defense attorney serves a notice to dismiss and the prosecuting attorney says, “Well there goes our case.” I don’t think I ever had a case go to trial where the defense attorney didn’t file some kind of a motion to dismiss or suppress evidence. Almost all were denied.
How come TV lawyers are allowed to ramble on without actually asking the witness a question. I’m not a lawyer but I know enough law to ask who was the technical adviser for that show?
Retired cops don’t have to be politically correct anymore and if someone asks your honest opinion, you give it. They might not like your opinion but they asked for it.
If the news calls him a person of interest, hello: “He’s a damn suspect!!!”
While watching breaking news, retired cops will have figured out who the suspect is and the motive. That’s two days before an arrest confirms your suspicions. It’s usually the husband or wife.
Retired cops can’t let go of their department or its politics. Watch a retired cop get upset when he sees a new police department policy. His blood pressure medicine will work overtime while he shouts, “That’s not the way we use to do it.”
You get sick to your stomach when you see who the department has promoted. You can tell no less than six screw up incidents they have starred in and now you’re not afraid to tell those stories. The funny thing is they tried to stay out of patrol to avoid a screw up and they even failed at that.
Sleeping in? Who are you kidding? At your age, you’re just glad to wake up! You sleep in and wake up with your wife holding a mirror under your nose to see if you’re still breathing.
Of course the dog is glad to see you get up. You’re the only one who feeds or plays with her and we know that special scratch spot on the dog. We never could find that spot on our spouse.
Retired cops remember that they forgot to teach their wife how to change the paper towel holder.
You go out to eat dinner shortly after they are clearing the lunch dishes at the restaurant. You haven’t watched the Tonight Show live in years.
Retired cops are now subject to Jury Duty. I spent half my career cursing at juries who let my arrestee go free. After jury duty a few times, I discovered I was right, most jurors shouldn’t be driving, voting or reproducing!
You’ve been retired for years and suddenly some dirt bag you arrested and sent to prison wins an appeal and gets a new trial. You get a subpoena and have to testify again but this time you don’t get paid or get free parking. By the way carrying a gun into the courthouse is a whole new experience.
Retired cops attend more retirement parties and everyone seems to have aged but you. Some still have hair but lost their wits and vice versa and where the hell did their waist go? By the way, that’s not the wife you had when we worked together!
Retired cops still dream police dreams, you know the ones where you can’t run, or your gun won’t fire. I’m not naked as much as I was in kindergarten but I still wake up sweating. My wife thinks I should put in for overtime for all the police work I do in my sleep!
Retired cops see more partners and classmates in the death and funeral section of the police newsletter.
Retired cops get to see their grandkids a lot more and actually enjoy their company and are sad when they leave. They will listen to your stories over and over again and pretend it’s the first time they heard them. After playing with them on the floor, it’s harder to get up. You can’t wear out the dog or the grandkids anymore!
I’ve done more household chores, cooking, laundry, vacuuming, and driving my wife around without complaint.
Retired cops, if you’re bored or you have ten minutes before the game starts, you actually listen to the telemarketer’s spiel before telling him/her to go to hell. However, you don’t have time for door-to-door salesmen; you can’t just hang up on them.
The LA Times still pisses you off. You read the editorial section just so you can see if your blood pressure medication is working. Bill O’Reilly and Fox News is your new hero!
There’s still nothing on TV during the day unless it’s Sat/Sun. Even soccer in Spanish beats Jerry Springer. Where are my John Wayne videos?
You actually want to know how your spouse’s day was, because you didn’t speak to an adult for hours. Talking to an old dog doesn’t count!
Shopping at Wal-Mart some weeks is your high point. Did you notice the price of a canned corn? Can you believe you shaved to go shopping here!
Naps are not a waste of time anymore. Why did I fight my mother about naps when I was four?
You open old partners’ e-mails first, save them and reread them a week later.
You had to shave and trim your hair for thirty-five years. Now we want to grow beards, outrageous mustaches, or long hair. Why? Because we can (and we discover that our wives don’t ask us to go out as much). By the way, why does my wife want to throw out my old clothes just because I haven’t worn them since Regan was president?
Oh yea you don’t shave everyday unless you want sex or you have an appointment for long-term health care insurance.
Speaking of sex, you spend more time talking about it than actually doing it. Sometimes it’s over before the commercial is.
Get a group of cops together and they can exchange stories for hours, most subject to memory. Cops bond for life.
Retirement has also taught me to enjoy the past but live in the present. Regardless of your time on the job, you made a difference and someone appreciates the sacrifices you made.
If you have something retirement has taught you, send them to me and I’ll add them to the list. This is my list. I’d love to hear from the females on their retirement.
YOU WRITE E-MAILS AND WONDER WHY NO ONE RETURNS COMMENTS! THEN YOU REALIZE YOU HIT DELETE INSTEAD OF SEND.