I was always told police officers die within a few years of retirement. That is why the retirement system had 25 years and out. The State Patrol Retirement System is 20 and out. The promise of health insurance has been drastically cut and the price has increased. A career officer can no longer afford to retire early and live off his retirement. That is why so many officers retire then go back to work when they realize drawing only 60% of their pay and paying around $13,000 a year for insurance (family plan) does not work. A retirement job is the norm. So let’s look at my experiences with early death by looking at only the Chiefs of Police I worked under to this point.
Just this week we lost a very good man and public servant, mourning the loss of Sheriff Charles Cox. Sheriff Cox retired from the Troy Police Department then had another career as the Sheriff. I would still consider Sheriff Cox to have not lived out the normal life span of an American male.
At Tipp City, Chief Thomas N. Davidson died early as well. He also was on his retirement job. Both Chief Davidson and Sheriff Cox were important mentors in my career. We lost both of them too early.
Prior to Chief Davidson the Tipp City Chief was Ron Spring. Chief Spring retired from the Ohio State Patrol and Tipp City was his retirement job. Sadly Chief Spring died a few years ago and also died too young.
Chief Richard Elsner of Randolph Township was actually a Montgomery County Sheriff’s Deputy on assignment. He retired and took up residence in Florida where he and his wife owned rental properties. Chief Elsner was also in his 70’s when he passed.
The other two Chief’s I worked under are still alive, but got out of police work prior to putting in a full career. Both these men would be well into their late 80’s. This of course is not a scientific study, only the example of Chief’s in my career.
All the men died of natural causes but each had job related diseases. The police retirement and disability systems in Ohio consider heart attacks as a job related disease. The job is a sedentary one 98% of the time and 2% sudden physical and psychologically stressful work that often results in injury, assaults, accidents and murder of LEOs.
I am not blaming anyone for this situation, it is just a fact of life for the job. Had I been in a factory for my career, I would not have survived. The choice of my retirement job is not based on the need for money but on the need to stay active as I never had a life other than policing. I don’t fish, hunt or have any hobbies. Law Enforcement is what I know and do. It helps financially when the only children you have had in your life all had four paws. I don’t think I will be the one to set any world records for the longest living LEO.