When a police officer decides to hang up his uniform, and holster his weapon for the last time, there’s as much sadness as joy mixed into the special occasion. A career in law enforcement isn’t something an individual undertakes lightly. It’s a weighty decision that requires a great deal of thought and training. And the risk involved with the daily operations means working as a police officer has a heightened sense of importance. Perhaps that’s why police officer retirement is so bittersweet. It’s an occasion that should be celebrated, but it’s also a time for reflection.
Deciding on a Gift
Sweet or sentimental? Fun or functional? It’s not always easy to decide on the tone of a gift for police officer retirement. Some general guidelines should be; know your audience, lead with your heart, and choose something with staying power. You want the gift to say “happy retirement” but also, “what a legacy you’ve left behind.”
Memories: An obvious way to mark retirement is to collect and present career memories. A leather photo album with pictures and press clippings, a wooden box filled with handwritten notes from colleagues, performance reviews and commendations. Or simply find a favorite quote or saying from the force and engrave it on a beautiful plaque. There’s no way to go wrong when involving memory.
The Future: If your retiring police officer has big plans for retirement, why not play into that? If he plans on devoting his time to woodworking, buy him his first set of workshop tools. If she’s planning to move closer to nature, why not outfit her with top of the line hiking gear and a gift card to a health food store? If the retiring police officer wants to travel, a new set of luggage might be the perfect gift. Celebrate by helping the retiring police officer look ahead.
Preserving a Legacy: For the officer you know the entire department will never forget, consider marking his or her legacy with a beautiful monument to an incredible career. Crystal plaques that can be deep etch engraved with squad mottos and inspiring words are the types of gifts that won’t lose their luster as time ticks by. They’ll stand, brilliant and reflective, stately and serene, for years to come.
If someone has spent a career in law enforcement and retirement is near, remember, it’s going to be almost impossible for them to imagine their day-to-day without their fellow officers in blue. Make the transition easier by remembering their good work, while reminding them that the best just might be yet to come.