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Do most police officers retire when they hit their minimum retirement requirements?


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  • Do most police officers retire when they hit their minimum retirement requirements?

    • Also, I know that some police officers retire, only to get another job. I am guessing that most jobs that police officers get after retirement don't pay as much as their law enforcement job, so why don't they just keep their jobs if they still have a few years left?

  • #2
    It all depends on how your retirement system is structured and where you are money wise when you hit minimum age.

    When I was working, minimum retirement age was 50 and your pension increased by 3% for every additional year of service after that. You had to look at how much you would make in 3% enhancements for every year you stayed, combined with how much your average salary and benefit cost of living increases would further boost your pension. Then you had to weigh that gain in the long run against how much you would lose in retirement by failing to retire early.

    A better way to put it is, a person retiring at $8,000 a month might go out at $9,800 per month if they stayed an extra three years when you factor in three years of cost of living increases and extra service credit that would enhance their retirement. However, they would be giving up 3 years of pension (no work) to get that increase. Would that extra $1,800, spread out over their retirement lifetime be worth it?

    Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere


    • #3
      Originally posted by Crossroads King View Post
      • Also, I know that some police officers retire, only to get another job. I am guessing that most jobs that police officers get after retirement don't pay as much as their law enforcement job, so why don't they just keep their jobs if they still have a few years left?
      Because they are smart

      The job is hard on a person. Hard on the body, hard on the mind, hard on the family .

      Like L-1 stated it depends on the retirement system but in my case I left at 27.5 yrs on the first day I could get a pension check (age 55). At that point I was able to receive about 67% of my salary PLUS a stipend that equaled what my future Social Security payment. Had I continued to work for the next 2.5 yrs.............I would be making about 10% of my full salary If I took into account the money the state would pay me to stay home for that same time.

      The year I retired I took home about $100 a month less than I did when I was working full time.............It's not rocket science when you figure that the amount of retirement pay over the time minus the amount they would pay me if I kept work keep working. I RAN into retirement . My figures at the time noted that I will "break even" and start loosing money when I turn 73 yrs of age.

      Now you have to understand that most cops are Type A personalities who can't just retire at 50 or 55 and sit on the couch watching TV. There are usually only so many projects to get done, so many Honey Do lists to fulfill. So most former officers find a job of some kind to keep them busy.

      My pension plus Social Security -----along with the fact that I had my home paid off before retirement .--- lets me live VERY comfortably. I do NOT have to work if I don't want to. HOWEVER I am pretty sure the better half would shoot me if I was under foot all the time.

      So I found a job .............................I personally work part time, pretty much only when I want to work. I am able to schedule my work around projects I have to be present for , babysitting the grand kids, or time I want to goof off, The salary I get gives me some extras.........

      I also don't have to worry about the job being hard on my body, on my mind, or on the family .....................NOR do I have to worry about the climate against Law Enforcement today

      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


      • #4
        It was rare for officers I knew to retire when they could. The money was good, and it only got better the longer you stayed. I knew guys who always complained for one reason or another about leaving when they could, but they remained a few years after when they considered just how good we had it, especially with health insurance. Personally, I could have done the 20 year retirement thing, but my goal was 30. However, I just couldn't make with physically and mentally so 26.5 years was IT.


        • #5
          My agency you can do your 20 and get your pension as soon as you retire. Most stay to max their pension at 32 years. Some stay a couple years more just for the extra checks ( longevity, holiday etc) and the OT if they are putting their kids thru college and need the cash. I will probably stay for 35 years. That is because my kids are in college, I have no real retirement plans and I'm not pushing a sector car anymore.


          • #6
            If I have learned one lesson over the years it is that cops are people, and people can't be arbitrarily arranged in groups with easily applied common traits. Each individual makes his own decisions at every stage of life.

            I've known cops who were really great investigators, then got promoted into administrative positions that they hated. I've known cops who loved working the streets, then found themselves in other assignments that they didn't particularly enjoy. I've known cops who took early retirement to step in on family needs (take care of aging parents, assist with a family business, raise their grandchildren, and other life events).

            Personally, I started out with a mid-size city police department and did reasonably well for a decade, even becoming somewhat well known for investigating financial crimes. I was offered a supervisory investigator position in a state agency, requiring more than 50% travel (in and out of state), which created a lot of stress on the home front. Looked around and found a position as a small town police chief, allowing me to be home nearly all the time (even though on-call 24/7). Nationally, the average tenure of a police chief is about 2.5 years; I made it nearly 7 years before I was sick and tired of the budget worries and political pressures every day. Took early retirement, vested my retirement funds, started a business, worked another 20 years doing other things. Full social security benefit provides a decent monthly check. Sale of the business paid for the retirement home and funded my first 4 years of retirement. Now I am facing the IRS "minimum distribution" requirements on my retirement accounts and investments, so I have to give myself a raise every year! My income is more than double what I ever earned while working, and I only have 9 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren to help me figure out how to spend it.

            Every individual is different. Every department is different. Every experience is different. Two people working side by side for decades, one can't wait to retire and the other one can't stand the idea of not going to work every day.


          • #7
            Because unless you get into a cush management position, spending 25 plus years on the bottom tier of an organization (which is the case for most of us) frickin' blows.

            Because no one wants old people doing this work.

            Because we're more attractive to private sector employers at 50 than at 60.

            Because there's a huge underground job network for former LEOs that's like Fight Club- and no one talks about Fight Club other than the people in Fight Club.

            Because at some point the BS meter goes into the red and it's just time to do something else.

            Those are the reasons why.
            What does not kill you will likely try again.


            • Ratatatat
              Ratatatat commented
              Editing a comment
              And because our life spans are several years shorter than everyone else.

            • Iowa #1603
              Iowa #1603 commented
              Editing a comment
              Absolutely ............totally ................the way it is for most OFFICERS

              At the time of my retirement from full time LE I had a total of 32 yrs on in uniform with 7 that didn't count for pension The last 15 in Administration. (It was not a cush management job, but a front line supervisory with additional admin responsibilities )

              I was tired, My mind was tired, my body was tired and so was my soul.

              Many officers worry about money for insurance, mortgages vacations and the like. I retired KNOWING I would be getting a job to help pay for those things. It was part of my plan

              But people who saw me even 6 months after retirement remarked about how younger I looked and how I seemed happier.............

            • Bing_Oh
              Bing_Oh commented
              Editing a comment
              Read this post, you must. Great wisdom it contains.
              Last edited by Bing_Oh; 07-07-2020, 09:43 AM.

            • Aidokea
              Aidokea commented
              Editing a comment
              And because in this current Orwellian climate, you're gambling your entire retirement and even your very freedom to live outside of a prison cell, every single time you encounter someone, on duty or off...until you retire...

          • #8
            Since I jumped, the following employment prospects have come my way:

            - Customer service manager for a manufacturer of a product used by military and civilians. I didn't get the job, was later told my starting salary request was higher than they were willing to pay. I'm cool with that.

            - Armed transport of dope and dope money. I said F No to this- not that I care much if people smoke dope; I just don't want to be part of the industry.

            - Contract event security. Company is a bunch of current and retired LEOs I've known for many years. I've said no so far, but might help in the future if the gig is right.

            - Courtroom security. Last fall, I applied for a part-time job. Got a call for an interview but had a conflict with the time and asked for another slot later in the day. Was then told sorry, no more interviews, thanks for applying. At first I was irritated but then the Rona hit and I was grateful I didn't get hired for an indoor job where inmates and other culls breath on you all day. Just saw they are announcing the position again... I won't be applying this time.

            - Contract firearms instructor. Am doing this a few days a month, or should I say I was doing this until March. Planning on going back to it soon. It's mostly for beer and boat gas money...

            - Cashed in my 401K and bought stock in Tesla, Netflix, Peleton, Stitchfix, Apple, and a few other companies which have just been rocking it the last few weeks. May never have to work another day in my life... or bubble will burst and I will be a WalMart greeter.

            Point I'm trying to make is whatever happens, happens on my terms. It's a beautiful thing.
            Last edited by Ratatatat; 07-07-2020, 10:10 AM.
            What does not kill you will likely try again.


            • Crossroads King
              Crossroads King commented
              Editing a comment
              If you don't mind me asking, what did the various jobs you applied for pay?

            • Ratatatat
              Ratatatat commented
              Editing a comment
              Customer service job was $60K. I knew this but still asked for a starting salary of $75K because that's how I roll. They hired someone who was fine with $60K. I shed no tears about it.

              Armed dope transport job was $20/hour. Probably get a discount on gummies and oils too but I'm not into THC.

              I don't know what contract security pays other than its a gig job.

              Courtroom security was $17 to start, $24 max.

              Firearms instructor pays $37/hour.
              Last edited by Ratatatat; 07-08-2020, 08:14 AM.

            • Ratatatat
              Ratatatat commented
              Editing a comment
              I also applied for CJ instructor at local community college but don't think I'll get it as they want a masters degree and I only have a bachelors. It's amazing how many cops are out there with masters degrees....

          • #9
            At my agency I haven't seen anyone so far leave right when they were eligible. I think people of that mindset leave prior either for the private sector which happens a lot or just lateral to other agencies. In my case I have less than 6 months from when I will be eligible to when I am mandatory so I don't think much about it. If I want to keep making good money I will be able to after I retire but timing is such that it will be about when my wife retires and my kid should be off on his own by then so in all likelihood I will retire and be done. I work part-time teaching and may continue with that but I can do that other places too. Not planning to stay in CA once retired.

            When I worked as a local, yes pretty much everyone left within a few months of being eligible because they were working for pennies on the dollar at that point. As a Fed the defined benefit pension is much less so it doesn't quite work out that way.


            • #10
              Originally posted by Crossroads King View Post
              • Also, I know that some police officers retire, only to get another job. I am guessing that most jobs that police officers get after retirement don't pay as much as their law enforcement job, so why don't they just keep their jobs if they still have a few years left?
              The joke is that after your minimum retirement date, you’re working for half pay.

              so. You can keep working for half pay, or you can retire, get your half pay and go work another job at full pay... effectively giving yourself a 50% pay raise.

              Which would you do: work for half pay, or work for time and a half?
              "I am a Soldier. I fight where I'm told and I win where I fight." -- GEN George S. Patton, Jr.

              "With a brother on my left and a sister on my right, we face…. We face what no one should face. We face, so no one else would face. We are in the face of Death." -- Holli Peet


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