So, you’ve done your 25 years+ of service and are ready to turn a new leaf. The beauty of being a police officer is that you have a specific set of skills and expertise that only a few can boast, and can be carried on in a variety of other industries. You can decide to work in the private sector, with local or provincial government agencies, or start your own business. If you’re a retired officer, life is actually just beginning, and you can make the next 25 years the most fulfilling of your life. Here are some great business and career opportunities for retired police officers.
Loss Prevention Specialist
Companies lose millions and millions every year due to theft. The worst is that the vast majority of cases are perpetrated by insiders. Loss prevention specialists may be asked to help prevent theft and breaches, both in cyberspace and the real world.
As a loss prevention specialist, you might work with:
- Tech companies
- Governmental agencies
- Retail stores
- Large warehouses
- Malls and outlet centers
If you work with department stores, you might be asked to create strategies to monitor shoppers and employees, and use covert surveillance tactics. You can also work at the corporate level, and use your skills as an ex officer to identify possible high risk areas for loss, including things like embezzlement, sabotage, or vandalism. You will also be asked to conduct investigations in the case of theft, and bring the perpetrators to justice.
Becoming a private investigator is a natural progression if you have experience as a police officer. It’s a great job if you want some independence and want to start your own business. It’s also one of the most rewarding positions in the field.
When asked what she liked about being a private investigator, Ali Wirsche, former PI and PI instructor said that she loved working on domestic cases. “We worked on everything clients asked, but there is nothing I love more than working on crimes of the heart” she said. “There’s nothing better than when your adrenaline is going and your heart is pounding.”
However, there are tons of different fields you can work in as a private investigator. You could work with insurance companies for instance and look for signs of insurance fraud. You might be asked to do surveillance on people of interest or find missing persons. This is a great field if you like variety,and want to make a real difference and still be involved in law enforcement, but not directly.
Another option is to work as a police consultant. This is another area where you can still have a connection with the field without being directly involved.
There are two main types of police consultants. The first type is similar to your average consultant. Your job will be to help police departments improve performance and efficiency. You might also be asked to look over procedures and see how they can be improved.
As a police consultant, you might be asked to:
- Analyze and audit employment
- Oversee the code of ethics
- Review performance records
- Develop detailed recommendations
- Help with additional training
- Improve service delivery
As a consultant, you will need to have a great sense of communication and be detail oriented. You also need to have great communication skills and be a great team player. And last, but not least, you need to have the right qualifications and credentials.
While your experience as a police officer might be a good start, it will take more to be respected and recognized as a police consultant. If you want to get your qualifications, one option would be to get a BA in policing. And the best part is that you can get it completely online from the comfort of your home.
Universities like Wilfrid Laurier University, for instance, have a great BA in policing that is taught by experienced police officers. This is a great degree for anyone wanting to move into a leadership position. Wilfrid Laurier University’s program will teach you things like models of policing, ethics, and policing in indigenous communities, all things that will make you a well rounded consultant that can work in various settings and tackle different issues.
The other type of police consultant will have more of a hands on role. You might be asked by specific departments to perform some investigative work on one particular case, for instance. These jobs are usually offered to police officers with years of experience and forensic specialists.
Crime Scene Investigator
If you don’t want to have an active role in the force, but still love looking at evidence and digging for clues, this is the perfect second career for you. If you’ve worked on cases during your years in service, then you already have most of the qualifications needed for the job. However, you may need to take some additional classes, like photography, for instance, and obtain your professional certification.
Police officers also have a leg up on civilians when it comes to salary. As a matter of fact, it is not uncommon for ex police officers to earn in the six figures as crime scene investigators.
As a crime scene investigator, you will be asked to attend a scene after a crime or murder has been committed. You might be asked to gather evidence and document each and every detail of the scene. This could be things such as collecting fingerprints or tire tracks, stray fibers, bodily fluids, or hair. Your job will not only be to collect evidence, however. You will also have to make sure that the evidence is processed correctly and is not tampered with. Crime scene investigators are also commonly asked to take pictures or video footage of scenes.
As you can see, there’s a whole world of opportunities beyond the force. All of these choices are great options, whether you still want to be in the action, or have more of a secondary role. Make sure that you know what each of these positions require, and make sure that they fit your personality.