I borrowed this photograph of a Hollywood casting director’s dream of a perfect actor to play a retired Chicago cop. I once met John Mahoney several years ago at a “Frasier” wrap party that Kelsey Grammer invited me to attend at Paramount Studios. It’s no coincidence that Mahoney is a Chicago boy.
I recently got involved in the defense of a criminal case involving a retired cop who will soon be 80 years old. This old warhorse had a venerable 35-year career with the Chicago Police Department with the awards and letters making anyone proud of his service. He had suffered a stroke several months before the event that brought him a charge under California law of, Brandishing a Firearm. It’s only a misdemeanor. Dishonor is the only real penalty that’s possible for this well liked oldster.
In a nutshell the old copper observed suspicious behavior and took some action. Nobody was hurt but the alleged “victim” has a lawyer and is really only looking to get rich with a lawsuit against my client. This case will boil down to the matter of intent. There was no intent to do harm, only good and I expect the pending court case to go in the old guy’s favor.
This has caused me to ask, where are the services for our retired cops? I can’t help but think that you can only be tossed against the concrete so many times by the bad guys to take on symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. How many times of getting shot, or shot at before a cop’s veneer begins to crack? How much anti-police hatred does it take to damage a true hero?
After you’ve had enough and put in your retirement papers, who’s there to gives a rat’s ass about your emotional well-being? We all know that too many cops can never adjust to retirement. Divorce, death of a spouse, drinking and loneliness plague more of these officers then anyone will ever admit. Oprah Winfrey has yet to make retired cops a CAUSE CELEB project. Somehow I doubt that she ever will.
I can’t begin to face the thought of the far higher than average suicide rate for retired cops. What this means is that every working copper in America needs to go out and adopt a retired cop. Check in on him or her, especially the ones without nearby families. Remember they were once young, brave, vital cops just like you.