When I Knew It Was OK To Retire

My retirement from the police department becomes official on Tuesday.

I’ve been on leave for the better part of this month. I’ve spent the time doing important things like exercising, watching football, growing a beard and growing a beard while watching football. I guess you could say that I’ve been retired for a month, but the official date is Tuesday.

As it got closer to time for me to go, I thought a lot about leaving the career that I loved.

Was it really time to go? Everything about leaving made sense, given the course of my life. But I still got a lot out of the job and was able to get it done. I did have to admit that when I got it done it was a lot slower and much craftier than when I was in my twenties. Still, crafty is at least as effective as being swift. Often it’s more effective. But the question was still there, was I done?

I needed something. I needed a sign. A sign that said, “it’s time to go.”

Twenty-eight years of policing changed me. A lot of those changes were good; there are a few that I will fix.

The biggest change is that certain things just didn’t sound odd to me anymore. Sure, shady people in suspicious circumstances still got my attention. But some other stuff that really should have made me scratch my head, didn’t. I got my sign a little over a year ago.

This Actually Made Sense, To Them And To Me…

We had another fun baby shower and even the co...

Cookies For A Kidnapping (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On a particularly busy Saturday afternoon, I was on the way to two calls – a robbery and a stabbing. As a sergeant, I was expected to show up at “major” calls like those to make sure we were getting the investigation off to a good start. As I drove, a third major call came out – a kidnapping.

The stabbing was the biggest problem, so I elected to go there first. I listened to the radio for information on the robbery and the kidnapping. While I got involved in the stabbing call, I heard that the robbery was a false alarm. That left the kidnapping.

A few minutes later, I heard my number called on the radio. I answered and an officer told me I wasn’t needed for the kidnapping call. “It was just a baby shower” was the only explanation I received. I acknowledged what he’d said then went back to work at the scene I was on.


Baby Shower!!! (Photo credit: Anders Mikael Lilleberg)

As I went off to sleep that night, I started thinking.

At that moment, ten hours after it happened, it finally occurred to me to wonder how a baby shower could result in someone believing there was a kidnapping going on. And it hit me – I was so used to weird that it wasn’t even weird anymore.

…And THAT Was My Sign

The next morning, I spoke with the officer who’d handled the baby shower/non-kidnapping. He wasn’t really sure what happened either. All he could tell me that everyone was calm and happy when he arrived. The people who made the 911 call told him “we thought it was a kidnapping but it was a baby shower.”

I’ve been to kidnappings and I’ve been to a baby shower. The only thing that the two events have in common are that people are present for both sorts of events. There was no danger to anyone at the baby shower I went to. Gifts and silly games were not involved in any of the kidnappings I worked.

When I realized that I’d spent twenty-eight years in a world where people said stuff like “we thought it was a kidnapping, but it was a baby shower” every day and truly meant it, I also realized that I’d seen and given enough.

I can let go now. I’m at peace and ready for a new adventure.

My best wishes, respect and love to those who remain on the job. I miss you and The Rock already. I’d swap places with any and all of you if they’d let me get even one of you to safety sooner. Blessings upon all of you for getting me here.

Y’all be careful.

07-1021, 10-42.


40 Comments on “When I Knew It Was OK To Retire”

  1. We Found Him Captain! says:

    Thank you for working so hard to keep us safe? God Bless You and keep you safe forever!!

  2. Todd says:

    Congratulations. The city’s a better place because of what you did and how you did it.

  3. knace says:

    Oma, I think you are one of the nicest people I have never met! Good luck with your new life and beard.
    And, I’ll be waiting for the story on GMA on how to keep our children safe at baby showers, because the world is a scary and baffling place.

  4. Betty says:

    Congratulations, Oma! You deserve a strong dose of leisure in your life after all those years of service.

  5. Too much stuff you can’t just make up. Looking forward to seeing more of you in retirement.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I learned so much from you as a crisis Negotiator and you have always been their for me for crisis of my own..The Department was so lucky to have someone like you to serve for 28 years , and not just serve- but served with your heart ….forever your friend

  7. dentaleggs says:

    Congratulations, Len. Besides growing a beard, what will you do with your time? (That’s a good set up right there.)

    • omawarisan says:

      If I can ever get my outline right, there is a communication book I’d like to write.

      The beard shouldn’t interfere with that. Growing it isn’t as time consuming as you’d think.

  8. spencercourt says:

    Welcome to the retiree club!

  9. Balvah says:

    Best of luck in your next endeavor. I am 12 years into my second career as a 911 dispatcher and have heard the sign, but I still do it.

    • omawarisan says:

      Thank you for what you do. Everyone who does what I did owes their life to a dispatcher who helped pull their bacon out of the fire.

      My particular bacon was pulled out several times. Thank you, because I know some of us won’t tell you.

  10. Laura says:

    Congratulations on your retirement! Also, you may be the only person I know who’s been to more kidnappings than baby showers.

  11. Snoring Dog Studio says:

    Much joy! A new beginning. New opportunities! A whole world awaits now. I am very thrilled for you and know that your days will be filled with that special brand of Oma insight and unique humor. I can’t wait to read about it. I am about a year away from my retirement – finally. I’m starting to prepare for it now.

    I’d have been useless in those kidnapping/baby shower calls. I loathe baby showers. I’d never show up.

  12. Congrats on 28 years and retirement. Thank you for making someplace safer and saner.

  13. Debbie says:

    Aw, I’ve got tears in my eyes upon reading this. Something sad about leaving one stage of life; guess that’s why it’s important to think of it not as moving *away* from something but moving *to* something else.
    Congratulations on your retirement. Thank you for serving your community honorably and bravely. You’re leaving some big shoes for the young’uns!!

  14. Dan Hennessy says:

    Welcome to the R -club . You’ll find that you miss the people and the interaction ; but you’ll love retirement . What about a book on policing for the unaware public — a voice from the inside ?

  15. Blogdramedy says:

    You made it. This is good.

    Also good? You’ll always have a bit of that “weird” so make it work for you. Shouldn’t be hard…you’re a natural. *grin*

    Even better? More time to write, more time to really grow in that beard. Pictures, please.

  16. Well said, well done. Tie your cape on tight and get ready to fly.

  17. I would love to hear more police stories. Just something to think about for the blog.

  18. Congrats! I’ve been trying to “like” this post for a couple of days now, but my like won’t stop loading, so I’ll “like” it here, unofficially. I’m looking forward to retirement, but since it’s ten years away or so, I’m trying not to think about it too much.

  19. Both of my parents retired last year after 30 years on the job and many night shifts. For years I asked my mom what was she going to do when she retired and she said always said the same thing: I’m going to spend the first six months getting sufficiently bored.

    They still hang around other retired cops, but now they just BBQ and sit in lawn chairs. (And they spend an inordinate amount of time at Sam’s Club.) They LOVE retirement and I’m sure you will too. 🙂

  20. That was the FIRST thing I thought, “How does one mistake a baby shower for a kidnapping??” It’s funny how certain things that would be considered deeply bizarre to a “layperson” seem totally normal when they’re part of your daily life. Congrats on the retirement, hope you’re enjoying the beard and the football!

  21. Congratulations! =) Headed to the Keys in celebration?

  22. It sounds like you have had a wonderful career and obviously are well respected in your field. We are all a bit better off knowing you come away from the job safe and sound. Of course, your audience awaits to hear more of the whacky stuff only you could share.

  23. Pie says:

    I’ve been wondering about your retirement date for a while now. it’s come so quickly. Congratulations! I’m so excited for you. Well done for keeping the community safe for 28 years (and managing to come out in one piece). I’ll be waiting for the book that is sure to come. in the meantime, enjoy your beard.

  24. pieterk515 says:

    I agree, this is like an Angel with a burning sword standing in your path, saying in a strict voice. “You stop now!”

  25. Bryan says:

    Congratulations and thank you. I think a celebratory viewing of “Running Scared” is in order.

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