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Post Retirement Job As A Small Town Police Chief

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  • Post Retirement Job As A Small Town Police Chief

    Alright guys, here goes. While I might be having a lapse in judgement, I am actually giving some thought to applying for a job as a Police Chief in a city of under 5,000. Here is my deal. I was a suburban city cop 10 + years and then did 17 + as a deputy sheriff. I retired at the end of 2010. Then, I did 6 + for a uniformed quasi-federal agency and retired again. I have taken a crack at "normal" work a couple of times this year. I hated it!

    So, a few days ago I see an ad for a small town police chief. It is in a neighboring state, so I will/would have to jump the hoops for reciprocity, but it looks doable. I would probably work another quick 5 years and then retire again.

    Here are my questions:

    -Has anybody here ever done this? If so, how was it? Was it a good move or a bad move?

    -Would you ever attend a City Council meeting during the process jsut to see what is going on in the city?

    -Would you do a ride along with patrol? If so, at what point would you do it? Before you apply, after you apply, before an interview, etc.?

    -How would you/did you research the city? While I know everybody thinks everything is on the internet, it isn't. Would you stop by the local library and read the local newspaper? Would you stop into the local Chamber of Commerce?

    -What about residency? My wife, sons and I have a 5 acre hobby farm. Picking up stakes and "moving to town" really isn't an option for us right now. Not to mention that me wife has a job/career of her own. I guess one of the ways I would "sell this" is to tell them just that. I try to not be an autocrat in my family and maybe I could sell it that way.

    -I want to know why there is an opening. Did the previous Chief retire, move elsewhere, get fired, etc.?

    -Do they already have an internal, or other, "ringer" for the job? That can be more of a challenge to determine.

    -Are they looking for a "change agent" or more of a "keep the status quo" guy? I can be something of a chameleon, but at the end of the day, if I see something that seriously needs to be changed, it would be hard for me to remain silent.

    -They do have a Police Commission. I need to determine if this is a commission that simply "rubber stamps" everything that someone else recommends or if they truly are independent.

    Help me out guys and gals, what other things should I be doing or thinking about here?

  • #2
    Why? You have a pension, a good life out in the country and your wife has her career. Enjoy retirement. It’s an adjustment at first, but then it becomes absolutely wonderful.
    Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. - Ronald Reagan

    I don't think It'll happen in the US because we don't trust our government. We are a country of skeptics, raised by skeptics, founded by skeptics. - Amaroq

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Jim1648 View Post
      Alright guys, here goes. While I might be having a lapse in judgement, I am actually giving some thought to applying for a job as a Police Chief in a city of under 5,000. Here is my deal. I was a suburban city cop 10 + years and then did 17 + as a deputy sheriff. I retired at the end of 2010. Then, I did 6 + for a uniformed quasi-federal agency and retired again. I have taken a crack at "normal" work a couple of times this year. I hated it!

      So, a few days ago I see an ad for a small town police chief. It is in a neighboring state, so I will/would have to jump the hoops for reciprocity, but it looks doable. I would probably work another quick 5 years and then retire again.

      Here are my questions:

      -Has anybody here ever done this? If so, how was it? Was it a good move or a bad move?

      -Would you ever attend a City Council meeting during the process jsut to see what is going on in the city?

      -Would you do a ride along with patrol? If so, at what point would you do it? Before you apply, after you apply, before an interview, etc.?

      -How would you/did you research the city? While I know everybody thinks everything is on the internet, it isn't. Would you stop by the local library and read the local newspaper? Would you stop into the local Chamber of Commerce?

      -What about residency? My wife, sons and I have a 5 acre hobby farm. Picking up stakes and "moving to town" really isn't an option for us right now. Not to mention that me wife has a job/career of her own. I guess one of the ways I would "sell this" is to tell them just that. I try to not be an autocrat in my family and maybe I could sell it that way.

      -I want to know why there is an opening. Did the previous Chief retire, move elsewhere, get fired, etc.?

      -Do they already have an internal, or other, "ringer" for the job? That can be more of a challenge to determine.

      -Are they looking for a "change agent" or more of a "keep the status quo" guy? I can be something of a chameleon, but at the end of the day, if I see something that seriously needs to be changed, it would be hard for me to remain silent.

      -They do have a Police Commission. I need to determine if this is a commission that simply "rubber stamps" everything that someone else recommends or if they truly are independent.

      Help me out guys and gals, what other things should I be doing or thinking about here?

      In my opinion, after the many years of service you've put in all you should be doing is enjoying retirement...and all you should be thinking about is what to have for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

      That being said, if you really want to pursue this job I'd recommend

      1) Instead of just attending a town council meeting, try to get the minutes of all the meetings for the last few years. They should be public record and hopefully you can obtain them by simple request.
      2) Get a haircut in town. Whether you need one or not. Barber shops is where all the gossip happens. Casually mention you're a retired cop and steer the conversation towards local LE from there.
      3) Spend some time hanging around the local "hot spots". In a town that small it's probably a coffee shop or corner deli. Or liquor store. Talk to the town folks and get the scoop.

      Comment


      • #4
        You should watch the Jesse Stone series.
        I make my living on Irish welfare.

        Comment


        • #5
          I would not change a thing about your life right now, if I were you.

          I'm retiring in about 4.5 years and there is noooooooo way I'd jump back in, especially in this f'ed up time.

          Nope. I'm opening a brew pub.

          SUPPORT COP RUN BUSINESSES!!
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          In 2017, the sales of my LEO related decals allowed me to donate over $350. to LE/ Military related charities... THANK YOU!!! Check them out HERE...

          Comment


          • #6
            I worked small towns for several years; I would be shocked if you did not have to establish residency within six months of appointment. Sometimes they have a local or inside candidate lined up, sometimes they don't. I would spend some time driving around town, eat at a local diner, read the local paper. Find a patrolman and tell him you saw the opening and were checking out the town. You might get a lot of information that way

            Comment


            • #7
              I live in a small town now and have lived in other small towns in the last 30 years. I like the lifestyle and that people are mostly polite as you go about daily business, in contrast to big communities. For example, I recently tried to return a cell phone for credit at a cell phone store in a big city I was driving through. I arrived 10-15 minutes before the store opened, looked inside, and saw three employees standing around. I stood at the front door and they ignored me. I knocked and they ignored me. Eventually someone opened the door and I told him I was just dropping an old phone off. "Come back when we open", he said, and bolt locked the door. In my small town, that would not have been the response.

              BUT, there are downsides. My current town isn't too bad but I have lived in isolated places where everyone knows everyone's business. Where you have to drive three towns away if you want to go out for a burger and a beer and not have someone you once dealt with give you a ration of grief about it. Where there's a Dollar General, a feed store, a pharmacy, a bar, a couple of restaurants, and a small grocery but not much else.

              Small town politics are their own animal. Often times there are no real civil service protections and this can quickly lead to thin ice if things go sideways politically. I recently asked my small town chief why the homecoming parade route was so long (it starts in town and ends at the high school, which is a mile of empty cornfields away). He said the route was because the downtown business association wants the little extra business that comes with a crowd watching a parade go by, and to try and change the route would be the end of his tenure as chief.

              I would try to get some inside background on the local politics and what happened to predecessor chiefs. Did they enjoy long tenures or was it a constant turnstile of new chiefs? Did they leave on their own terms or were they fired? Were the justifications valid or flimsy excuses? Current employees may not be able to speak freely....



              People don't leave bad jobs, they leave bad bosses.

              Comment


              • #8
                Small towns usually come with small town politics. I have seen guys make it about a year and get booted while others make it the 5 year mark. Having already retired you wouldn’t be starting over as low man if it didn’t work but moving for a small town is out of the question. Enjoy retirement it isn’t getting any better out there.
                Where'd you learn that, Cheech? Drug school?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Most towns are going to REQUIRE residency for the chief.

                  I have NEVER seen a small town that doesn't have the city council butting into the business of the police, (or any other city dept)

                  You really don't want the ulcer,..................



                  I understand about not being comfortable out of uniform..............I got back into it being non sworn in court / transport.

                  I LOVE IT.................no real responsibilities, work when I want, still get to be around cops......
                  Last edited by Iowa #1603; 09-27-2018, 10:08 PM.
                  Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

                  My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Burger King has uniforms...just sayin’





                    Now go home and get your shine box!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Well, let's just say that it was a VERY interesting day today. I drove there and my first stop was the Chamber of Commerce. The woman there was very knowledge and helpful. While I didn't find out much about the PD, I did find out a lot about the city.

                      Eventually, I made it to the library and started reading the local, weekly newspaper. I found out that the last permanent Chief died of cancer in his early 50s. They have had TWO internal interim Chiefs. Both have been sergeants that were appointed to fill in.

                      Right now, the sheriff's office has given them an investigator to serve as the Acting Chief.

                      They have had two sworn and one civilian fired a number of months ago. There have been law suits, but I think they are settled right now.

                      My gut tells me to not walk, but RUN away from this. And yet another part of me is somewhat interested in helping straighten this out.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        So my dreams include playing the lotto and escaping CA or by researching small town Chief jobs on the Texas Municipal League Site. So I find this post interesting as it is something I might like to do in retirement. When I research the jobs a lot of them are problem cities where the chief left under odd circumstances, in some the pay is dramatically low like 30k a year no benefits, in others the people you supervise are probably second chance hires from larger agencies (Sometimes I look at the officers/last chief's social media, which can tell you a lot). Then there are the small squared away places with decent pay and a tax base but the requirements are pretty high- FBINA, Master's Degree, 10 years as a Captain, etc etc. And most of the places, even with ads, are already tells from Interim Chiefs or local guys.

                        If you do something like this, make sure you have a back up plan, and when you get hired on as an at will employee pay a lawyer to draft a contract for you with some severance and conditions of employment. Don't trust the city at all.

                        You didn't mentioning having any supervisor experience at all. It's a much different job from being a worker to a supervisor/manager. In a small town you are going to have to know A LOT of admin stuff that is compartmentalized in big agencies. In a small town like that where you're a working chief I'm thinking it's like a 50-60 hour a week job until you get up to speed, and always on call.
                        Last edited by nobodyjr; 09-28-2018, 06:17 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Jim1648 View Post
                          Alright guys, here goes. While I might be having a lapse in judgement, I am actually giving some thought to applying for a job as a Police Chief in a city of under 5,000. Here is my deal. I was a suburban city cop 10 + years and then did 17 + as a deputy sheriff. I retired at the end of 2010. Then, I did 6 + for a uniformed quasi-federal agency and retired again. I have taken a crack at "normal" work a couple of times this year. I hated it!

                          So, a few days ago I see an ad for a small town police chief. It is in a neighboring state, so I will/would have to jump the hoops for reciprocity, but it looks doable. I would probably work another quick 5 years and then retire again.

                          Here are my questions:

                          -Has anybody here ever done this? If so, how was it? Was it a good move or a bad move?

                          -Would you ever attend a City Council meeting during the process jsut to see what is going on in the city?

                          -Would you do a ride along with patrol? If so, at what point would you do it? Before you apply, after you apply, before an interview, etc.?

                          -How would you/did you research the city? While I know everybody thinks everything is on the internet, it isn't. Would you stop by the local library and read the local newspaper? Would you stop into the local Chamber of Commerce?

                          -What about residency? My wife, sons and I have a 5 acre hobby farm. Picking up stakes and "moving to town" really isn't an option for us right now. Not to mention that me wife has a job/career of her own. I guess one of the ways I would "sell this" is to tell them just that. I try to not be an autocrat in my family and maybe I could sell it that way.

                          -I want to know why there is an opening. Did the previous Chief retire, move elsewhere, get fired, etc.?

                          -Do they already have an internal, or other, "ringer" for the job? That can be more of a challenge to determine.

                          -Are they looking for a "change agent" or more of a "keep the status quo" guy? I can be something of a chameleon, but at the end of the day, if I see something that seriously needs to be changed, it would be hard for me to remain silent.

                          -They do have a Police Commission. I need to determine if this is a commission that simply "rubber stamps" everything that someone else recommends or if they truly are independent.

                          Help me out guys and gals, what other things should I be doing or thinking about here?
                          I agree with all the points Not.In.My.Town's post.

                          I will add what I consider the important point: do you REALLY want to live apart from the boss, or try to talk her and the heirs out of their current happy-place?

                          Your interest in helping power-wash the place is admirable, but why not take your still-hard-charging and use it to help out some charity / non-profit, or find some non-law-enforcement paid gig and show the kids and other adults there how to help customers.

                          FYI, I tried running the front desk of my City PD after I retired from my Force, and I realized how boring it was. From there, I tried being a site supervisor for a BIG security company at a non-armed contract, but it meant living apart from the Commissioner, plus dealing with people who were not interested in improving themselves. Since then, I have worked at some local national chain stores, plus volunteer with Church, health, and amateur theatre organizations - the work is to pay for some home renos the boss and I hired pros to perform, and is basically like being paid to work out, but I would MUCH rather do my volunteer stuff.

                          Whatever you do, bud, make sure that you are happy - and you probably will only be happy if you keep the boss happy with you, so be smart, since she has yet to smarten up and leave you!
                          #32936 - Royal Canadian Mounted Police - 1975-10-27 / 2010-12-29
                          Proud Dad of #54266 - RCMP - 2007-02-12 to date
                          RCMP Veterans Association - Regina Division member
                          Mounted Police Professional Association of Canada - Associate (Retired) member
                          "Smile" - no!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by nobodyjr View Post
                            ...You didn't mentioning having any supervisor experience at all. It's a much different job from being a worker to a supervisor/manager. In a small town you are going to have to know A LOT of admin stuff that is compartmentalized in big agencies. In a small town like that where you're a working chief I'm thinking it's like a 50-60 hour a week job until you get up to speed, and always on call.
                            I really don't have any supervisory experience at all. Sure, I was a Corporal and Acting Patrol Sergeant years ago, but that is a LONG time ago. Frankly, that is probably going to be my biggest shortcoming. Sure, I have AS, BS and MS degrees, but not the management/supervisory experience to couple with it. I even attended my state's Police Management/Supervision series and received a nice certificate.

                            I even read an article recently that discussed how being a Field Training Officer (FTO) was supervisory experience. That same article made a case that being a Law Enforcement Explorer Advisor is also supervisory experience. Meh, I sort of got the author's point, but at the end of the day, people want to hear the title Sergeant or Captain. I remember some people years ago saying that the sergeant rank was the hardest one to get. Maybe they were right after all!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Jim1648 View Post

                              I really don't have any supervisory experience at all. Sure, I was a Corporal and Acting Patrol Sergeant years ago, but that is a LONG time ago. Frankly, that is probably going to be my biggest shortcoming. Sure, I have AS, BS and MS degrees, but not the management/supervisory experience to couple with it. I even attended my state's Police Management/Supervision series and received a nice certificate.

                              I even read an article recently that discussed how being a Field Training Officer (FTO) was supervisory experience. That same article made a case that being a Law Enforcement Explorer Advisor is also supervisory experience. Meh, I sort of got the author's point, but at the end of the day, people want to hear the title Sergeant or Captain. I remember some people years ago saying that the sergeant rank was the hardest one to get. Maybe they were right after all!
                              Without supervisory and admin experience I'm afraid you'd be biting off a heck of a lot more than you can chew. Don't do it!

                              If you're looking for a challenge, maybe add ostriches to your hobby farm? I hear they are major a-holes, but still more manageable than some people.

                              Seriously, your idea has BAD BAD BAD written all over it. It's not how you want to end your LE career.

                              Comment

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