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Old 09-30-2012, 12:21   #1
Rex G
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Considering retirement...

1. My nest eggs are starting to reach a comfortable level, or at least, I think so. I plan to consult a financial advisor in November, to help me confirm this. It is best, of course, to let the election pass, to see who will likely be in charge of things, and monitor the Euro-zone situation, but fortunately, my nest eggs are in low-risk categories.

2. Physically, I am not what I was 29 years ago, when I started. The last few years have seen some scary changes. I cannot see as well in low-light situations, and glare has a much worse effect, with recovery from a bright light in a dark environment being much slower. My reflexes are slower, which is most noticeable when trying to catch up to a speeding vehicle, but obviously would also be a factor during a fight. My bad knee is starting to get worse, and my right hand/wrist have two things
wrong with them, with the resulting weakness making me
wonder whether I have any business getting into physical
situations. Thankfully, I am a natural lefty, but police work is best done with two strong hands.

3. Related to #2, it now hurts to qual with my P229 duty pistol.
We are all-.40 now, with primary duty pistols. The chief can
make exceptions, but asking for an orthopedic exception can
result in an officer going before a medical review committee, to
consider medical separation. A recent proposal to allow 9mm as
an alternate duty pistol cartridge was set aside indefinitely. I can switch to a Glock or S&W M&P40, either of which should recoil a bit less, in spite of their lighter weight, due to the cushioning
effect of polymer frames, and the Glock, at least, has a lower
bore axis.

4. Folks at my seniority level are really starting to retire now, though quite a few of them started at an older age; I entered the academy at 22.

5. I hate the idea of being seen as a slacker, and I am my worst critic in that regard. Is 29-30 years, almost all street duty,
enough?

6. A desk job is an option, but we are becoming an older agency, due to a big hiring push in the early 1980s. There are not nearly enough desk jobs for everyone, and many of them have been taken by officers who are very comfortable, and will not retire anytime soon. It is not unusual for desk-job officers to retire in their sixties; they sit and watch their DROP accounts grow into the million-plus level. (Not that I can blame them...)

7. Back to the bad knee; this is the one reason I am thinking about retirement. If I let a doc cut/scope my knee, and I cannot return to full duty within six months, I can expect to see that medical review committee, trying to convince them to give me another six months. Therefore, I need to be prepared to retire when I get my knee checked.

Thanks for listening, er, reading, if any of y'all are still awake. I would appreciate any thoughts or advice. Thanks.
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Old 09-30-2012, 12:35   #2
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I can only reaffirm your suspicions. After nearly a quarter century of street policing, I saw the aging process take hold and I swore to leave when my edge was ebbing. Between that and a corrupt chief, it was the perfect time to leave.

It isn't going to get any better physically. You can go have eye surgery to alleviate the vision problems. Truly bad knees usually require a replacement and that is not a guaranteed solution. If all you need is a arthroscopic treatment, get it done now while you have insurance and time to burn.

I hate to say it, but even the long term desk hogs have to qualify with their sidearms and if you have problems there, it is another sign it is time to leave.

29 years is a very long time to be a street cop. Most never make it. You are the exception. Take months off and get as much medically fixed as you can, then leave. You earned your time and your retirement. Retirement is not something to be avoided and feared - it is your reward for all the suffering you have seen and endured.
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Old 09-30-2012, 12:43   #3
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There is another consideration. While it sounds like your body is falling apart due to age, it also sounds like it is suffering the effects of continuous trauma, stress and strain from the job. In other words, 29 years of on the job altercations, running, jumping, falls, range practice, etc. has taken a cumulative orthopedic toll on your knees, wrists, back etc.

You speak of medical review and separation. In California it would be the same thing but it would also qualify you for a disability retirement. You might inquire if the same is available to you in Texas. Here, with 29 years on and if you were over age 50, the amount of money would be the same as if you took a regular service retirement, however, 50% of your pension would be tax free. It is definitely worth looking into if you are thinking of going out anyway.

Re the loss of low light vision, you might want to be checked for cataracts. I had the same problem and it kept getting worse every year. After simple, outpatient cataract surgery I can see great at night again.
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Old 09-30-2012, 12:56   #4
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Thanks, gentlemen!

My last eye exam was just over a year ago; no cataracts yet at that time, thankfully.

I do plan to get the knee fixed before retiring. I will bring up the subject during November, at a planned physical exam. I have hidden the problem long enough.

Last edited by Rex G; 09-30-2012 at 13:01..
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Old 09-30-2012, 13:27   #5
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A life of hard work and serving others should be rewarded with a retirement that can be enjoyed. It sounds like you are at/near that. There is nothing wrong with enjoying what you have earned.

However, if you do not have to retire, or still love what you do, I'd suggest trying the desk job. With nearly 30 years of experience this may be an opportunity for you to have a real impact on the next generation that is about to take over.
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Old 09-30-2012, 13:30   #6
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Does your employer guarantee you free health insurance after retirement? If not, you might want to consider shopping around for another employer who does, depending on how long it would take you to lock in to it with them.

I can't even fathom the wear and tear that would come with 29 years on the street. I will be doing well to stay that long in the slammer. Fortunately, I have already locked in to free health insurance for life after retirement. I suspect that will be worth a great deal in the future.

Thanks for all that you have done.
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Old 09-30-2012, 14:43   #7
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I agree that you might be able to qualify for a service connected disability pension. If you can't qualify/shoot, you can't work. If you can't walk/run without knee pain, you can't work. I'm surprised you haven't mentioned any back pain (most cops get it from the bat belt) or sciatica.

Seeing the medical review committee might not be a bad thing, but rather a blessing in disguise. A friend of mine retired after he broke his ankle in a foot chase. Since he got a disability retirement, the village pays for his health insurance and his wife's insurance for life. They also paid 70% of his kids' health insurance until they turned 21. He had the years of service to qualify for a full regular pension, but he would have had to pay for his own insurance. He has recovered for the most part and now works part-time security at a hotel. That in addition to his pension and savings and he is sitting pretty comfortable.

Don't feel like a slug, you've been a working cop all your adult life. You've done your time now enjoy yourself while you're still reasonably healthy. At my agency, we've had about 7 retirements within the last year or two. I've talked to several who are retired and they all wish they would have done it sooner. I don't know any of them who have said "Damn, I wish I would have worked more."
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Old 09-30-2012, 15:02   #8
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Keep in mind that just because RexG has worked nearly 30 years in LE, he must prove that the deficits he is now experiencing are directly work induced. Aging doesn't usually qualify one for a tax free medical/disability retirement in most States.

RexG, if you are having problems with your knees and are hiding the condition[s], I'd go talk to a disability attorney first. If you have a documented worker's injury past involving your knees, you have a foundation. If it is simply osteoarthritis, you likely will not get a medical retirement.

To the currently working cops: do not hide workplace injuries! If you are injured, go file the paperwork and get treated. You have no idea how the injury you sustained when you were 29 years old can ruin your life at 55 years of age.
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Old 09-30-2012, 15:11   #9
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Get out when you can brother...there's a reason we are able to retire earlier than others. This job isn't meant to be done for 30 freakin years! I hear stories all the time about cops dying in their 50's because they have been working up into the high 20's and thirties and eventually your body just won't put up with the stress and all that bullcrap.

Get your knee fixed up - you deserve that and they owe you that for your service - and then find a way to get out and enjoy life!
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Old 09-30-2012, 15:46   #10
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Better buy a harley and start growing your beard and hair out. That way you look like a retired cop as soon as possible.
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Old 09-30-2012, 15:49   #11
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Retire and enjoy life. Make it a combined service and medical retirement so you get paid-for doctors for your work injuries and more money for toys.
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Old 09-30-2012, 16:00   #12
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Better buy a harley and start growing your beard and hair out. That way you look like a retired cop as soon as possible.
Ugh.
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Old 09-30-2012, 16:10   #13
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I do plan to get the knee fixed before retiring. I will bring up the subject during November, at a planned physical exam. I have hidden the problem long enough.
Quote:
Originally Posted by blueiron View Post
Keep in mind that just because RexG has worked nearly 30 years in LE, he must prove that the deficits he is now experiencing are directly work induced. Aging doesn't usually qualify one for a tax free medical/disability retirement in most States.

RexG, if you are having problems with your knees and are hiding the condition[s], I'd go talk to a disability attorney first. If you have a documented worker's injury past involving your knees, you have a foundation. If it is simply osteoarthritis, you likely will not get a medical retirement.

To the currently working cops: do not hide workplace injuries! If you are injured, go file the paperwork and get treated. You have no idea how the injury you sustained when you were 29 years old can ruin your life at 55 years of age.
Absolutely document, document, document. You got injured while working. You're documenting it on job time. There are no excuses. Just do it!
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Old 09-30-2012, 16:26   #14
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Ugh.


Thats the trend in my area.
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Old 09-30-2012, 16:30   #15
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Thats the trend in my area.
You must be in a time warp. Everyone in Arizona LE has been doing that since the 1990s. When I retired, I dumped mine just to run counter to the trend.
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Old 09-30-2012, 17:53   #16
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29 years is more than enough. Take your life back. If you can get a disability check out of it, take it, but pull the pin either way.
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Old 09-30-2012, 20:33   #17
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Thanks for of the replies and support! The bad knee is not a workplace injury, just general gettin' old and worn out.

I'd better get a sidecar for the Harley! I had three Harleys, one at a time, back in the 1990s, then settled on a BMW R100R, before I stopped riding because, as a single dad, I wanted to minimize risk after my ex died in a car crash. I might ride on two wheels again, but only if the knee can be fixed.
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Old 09-30-2012, 20:54   #18
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When it's time to hang it up you know it. The aches and pains add up. It's not easy to step away ,but it does not have to be the end of your working life. There is still much to do..


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Old 09-30-2012, 21:14   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rex G View Post
Thanks for of the replies and support! The bad knee is not a workplace injury, just general gettin' old and worn out.

I'd better get a sidecar for the Harley! I had three Harleys, one at a time, back in the 1990s, then settled on a BMW R100R, before I stopped riding because, as a single dad, I wanted to minimize risk after my ex died in a car crash. I might ride on two wheels again, but only if the knee can be fixed.
I would suggest concerning the knee: it can be attributed to the work place. Under OWCP regulations, if you can get a doctor's support in validating that it is due to on the job physical stress, repeated minor injuries, and anything similar you can get coverage for that particular injury. True it is not a sudden injury, but it is something that happened over time while on duty. OWCP is the federal employee's version of Workers Comp, (Office of Workers Compensation Program under US Department of Labor). Perhaps your agency/department is covered under something similar. Do a little research and see if you can qualify for medical assistance under that. The same goes for your hands, and anything else that suffered wear and tear due to your employment. While you are doing that continue getting everything together that you need for permanent retirement.

Also under OWCP rules, if it is found that you need a TAD, (temporary administrative duty), for a light duty position, we are required to have that provided to us if it's available to us. If not available then they have to pay us for being off work. The salary we get under OWCP is tax free. It is something you could possibly ride out until retirement in our agency, and again they may have something similar in yours.

Best of luck to you, and may you have a long enjoyable retirement telling the kids to get off of your lawn.
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Last edited by Hack; 09-30-2012 at 21:16..
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Old 09-30-2012, 21:26   #20
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I would suggest concerning the knee: it can be attributed to the work place. Under OWCP regulations, if you can get a doctor's support in validating that it is due to on the job physical stress, repeated minor injuries, and anything similar you can get coverage for that particular injury. True it is not a sudden injury, but it is something that happened over time while on duty. OWCP is the federal employee's version of Workers Comp, (Office of Workers Compensation Program under US Department of Labor). Perhaps your agency/department is covered under something similar. Do a little research and see if you can qualify for medical assistance under that. The same goes for your hands, and anything else that suffered wear and tear due to your employment. While you are doing that continue getting everything together that you need for permanent retirement.
Unless Rex G is a Fed, OWCP won't apply.

Many States require the claimant to be examined by a physician of the employer's choosing and then the findings are reviewed by a medical board prior to awarding a medical retirement.
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Old 09-30-2012, 21:33   #21
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Unless Rex G is a Fed, OWCP won't apply.

Many States require the claimant to be examined by a physician of the employer's choosing and then the findings are reviewed by a medical board prior to awarding a medical retirement.
So, they are pretty much possibly out of luck? Sometimes I forget how good we have it.
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Old 09-30-2012, 23:38   #22
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29 years? Get out of here, brother!

Seriously, you have put in your time and then some. See what the retirement papers say, i.e. it may be useful to stay around a few more months or you may be good to go ASAP (with no real financial benefit for staying). If you can go, then go. No shame in it AT ALL.

There's some stat on Chicago cops (probably true of many big cities) that they work well into their late 50's to 60's and on average only live 2-3 years once they retire. Don't be one of those guys.
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Old 10-01-2012, 06:34   #23
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Twenty nine years?

They ought to give you the key to the city. Yeah, you have done your time. You should go enjoy life a little away from this job.

If I could go tomorrow I would. Seriously.
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Old 10-01-2012, 07:36   #24
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We have a 30 year retirement in NC. 30 Years or age 55 with at least 5 years on. Retirement is based on years of service times a percentage of high 3 salary.

I'd say it's time to go. You've noticed that you're slowing down and it's affecting you. Go ahead and enjoy your retirement.

For us though, if you have a disability retirement, you can only earn so much of a salary afterward before it starts cutting back on your disability pension. Make sure you talk to your financial adviser. Then talk to HR about all that stuff before you go to the doctor, just so you know. Also, don't hide your injuries. I lied for years about my eyes and when it was time for eye surgery, I realized "Huh, I probably should make sure I tell them the right thing since they are trying to fix it."

That's my only issue here is that I have no desire to wait 30 years to retire, not with the stresses of this job. I too have heard (and seen) the officers who die 3-5 years after retirement and I have no desire to let that happen to me.
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Old 10-01-2012, 14:24   #25
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Thanks for the replies and support. It is actually a matter of record that my right knee had a tendency to pop out of joint before I hired on in 1983. I had to get an independent doc to write a clearance letter that indicated my knee would not prevent me from performing a peace officer's job. The knee has held up for nearly three decades, and counting, thankfully, but is clearly becoming a limiting factor.

I have taken one step to limit my exposure to physical fights; in the summer of 2010, I applied for a patrol photographer/fingerprint unit position, and got it. It is not a CSU/CSI type of job, as I am still a first responder, in regular uniform, driving a fully marked Crown
Vic, and if I am the only available unit, I will still be dispatched to a high-priority patrol call, but my general work-load is more peaceful. I do evaluate rookies, as part of the FTO program, several weeks a year, which entails getting into all kinds of things, but it is understood the rookie is the one to do the hands-on work, so that balances out, somewhat.

My stats remain comparatively high, particularly for primary calls cleared, in spite of the fact that one print/photo call can take several hours, so I reckon the taxpayers are still getting a good value for their money.
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