I finally cleaned out my locker the other night. I have been retired since February 2004, so it was about time! I have just avoided going out there for a long time. I did not want to run into some of the people that opposed my disability retirement. You see, I got an "in the line of duty" retirement, and some people disagreed with that. The law in the State of Florida asserts that if you did not have heart disease when you started your law enforcement job, and you got it - then it is presumed to have been caused by the job, thus a line of duty disability. The retirement board fought me "tooth & nail" and I was quite put off by that. I was always willing to "lay down my life" if required for my job. It hurt my feelings that no one stood up for me. As long as I was doing the job, being on call 24-7, then they were happy with me. Once I was of no further use to them, they turned their backs on me. My fault too, a job is just a job, and you should never get so involved that you take things personally. When I drove out to the PD, it was like old times when I used to get called out in the night for a major incident. It was late, and there wasn't much traffic, it only took about 20 minutes to get there. I could not find the duty officer, so I drove around using my detective skills to find him (find the all night coffee, find the cop). Sure enough, he was at the all night store commiserating with the cops of the adjacent jurisdiction. It was like old times, everyone was glad to see me. I could fall right back into the cop shop thing very easily. My heart won't let me though. As I cleaned out my locker of change of clothes, bullet proof vest, various tooth brushes, hair brushes, soap, towel, shoe polish, etc., I thought about how prepared I always was for any situation - to stay there for days if need be. I should have been more prepared for the inevitability of an accident or disability. In thinking about any career, you should remember this little poem that I found;
Take your hand and stick it in a bucket of water up to the wrist, then take it out and the hole that remains is a measure of how you'll be missed!