Getting Second Career Help in Las Vegas

untitledI went to Las Vegas last week, not to gamble but to get some help with my next career. Yes, in Las Vegas!

las-vegas-sign-02-01I was there for a police writers’ conference. Any of us pursuing a career after policing can benefit from going to a conference in the field of our choice. Think about it. You can get all the great police contacts and none of the police bureaucracy!

Sometimes in our police department we were lucky enough to be sent to a conference. When we got back to work we had to produce a report for the sergeant, or the superintendent, or even the chief. Or we had to give a presentation on what we had learned.

It’s all different when you’re going just for you. I found it a lot more enjoyable to attend the conference of my choice and go to the workshops I was really interested in. Don’t forget, this is all about your second career. Go to the workshops you like and make the contacts just for you.

Attending conferences is a great way to learn about a second career. For example, are you interested in a second career in the security industry? Take a look at ASIS, the giant security organization with the slogan “Advancing Security Worldwide.” ASIS has conferences all over the world. Here’s a link to the current list This year there’s even one in Anaheim so you could take in Disneyland at the same time.

How about you fraud investigators? The Association of Certified Fraud Investigators has several conferences each year. Here’s a link Want to make good contacts in the world of fraud investigations that will advance your career after policing? This is the place to do it.

A few more that might interest those looking for a career after policing:

There are many more. Maybe, like me, you want to write about law enforcement issues. The Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA) is the place for police/crime/mystery writers. You can find it at  The PSWA conference takes place in July each year in Las Vegas. They’re a great group, very supportive for all levels of writers.

Just do yourself a favor and don’t try to fly out of Las Vegas on a Sunday night. Everyone goes there for the weekend and they all leave at once. I was on the party plane, many of whom appeared hung-over and tired. Including the guy wearing a tutu.


(Las Vegas photo courtesy of shutterstock

PSWA Member graphic

Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees, but Dog Treats Do

Second Careers for Street Cops

Sophie doesn’t worry about money. That’s because she’s a food-obsessive golden retriever who is constantly looking for her next meal. No need to plan or think about money to buy food. That’s where I come in.

This is one of the best times of year for Sophie. The blackberries are out and when we go for our walk they’re readily available on the low-hanging branches. Some are ripe and some aren’t but Sophie doesn’t seem to care. Dog treats growing on trees! It doesn’t get any better for her.011

Unlike blackberries, as my dad told me years ago: “Money doesn’t grow on trees.” Having a good enough income to live the life we want after retiring from policing takes work and planning. Lots of us have gone on to a second career and it really helps if we did some planning along the way to find a job we enjoyed.

Let’s face it, policing has its up and downs. After twenty-five or thirty years of working in your police agency, you might have had enough of the police bureaucracy and be ready to work at something else, maybe a job that builds on your police experience but puts you more in control of your day-to-day work schedule.

Now we can take Sophie’s approach and grab the first thing that comes along without giving it much thought. She enjoys those blackberries whether or not they’re ripe. But wouldn’t she like them more if they were all dark, juicy, ripe ones?010

That’s what I think about police officers moving on to a second career. With some self-analysis and planning, we have a better chance of finding the second career that suits us better, rather than one that leaves us dissatisfied and frustrated once we’re in it. Pick the ripe career blackberries that you’re going to be happy with. Don’t settle for the ones that aren’t going to make you happy.

This blog post is too short to suggest planning strategies. Besides, you probably want to do it your own way. There’s an overwhelming amount of career planning information available, as you’ll see by doing a simple internet search. Narrow it down to second career planning so the analysis and planning is more likely to be related to where you are in your career path. There’s some good material in the Resources section of my website that may help you. Here’s the link

Sophie isn’t ever going to plan to get those ripe blackberries. She’ll just plunge ahead and grab whatever she can get. For us, and our second career planning, it’s more complicated, but the rewards of picking wisely can be great.

Sophie on Canada Day 2012. Dog Park in Richmond.



Easy Networking



Second Careers for Street Cops

I went to a baseball game Sunday afternoon. Vancouver was leading Hillsboro 6 – 2 in the top of the 9th inning. Vancouver brings in a closing pitcher. He throws one pitch. Hillsboro hits into a double play. Game over. Vancouver wins. What a lovely way to spend an afternoon.

While I was at the game, I ran into an old police pal that I hadn’t seen in years. Cops have this odd way of being able to launch right into conversations as if they’d just seen each other a few days ago. That’s what we did, talking about the latest gossip from the police department, how so-and-so is doing, and the big job facing the new chief. It was like we were back on night shift again and carrying on a conversation from the night before. All part of a great afternoon.

My old friend is well into his second career after policing. As we sat enjoying our drinks, the conversation, and the game, I got thinking about how he’s part of my network, and I’m part of his. We could phone each other any time and ask questions that would never go any further. It’s the trust thing, built on years of working together in policing and knowing we can count on each other.

Networking is so easy in the police community. Street cops and retired street cops have built-in networks. Cops don’t seem to like the word “network” though. It’s as if there’s an artificial element to it, a phoniness. Police officers deal with phony people a lot. And they don’t much like them.

So if the word “network” bothers you, just think of it as all the people you know, and trust, to give you straight information. Want to find out about a company you’re thinking of going to work for after your police career? Ask that old police pal who works for the same company what it’s really like. Bet you’ll get some valuable information. But don’t forget it works both ways … you’re a support for others in your network also.

There’s been a lot written about how to develop a supportive network. Check out the Resources link on my website at to learn more about making your network a positive force in your second career planning.

Back to baseball. The next time you run into that old police pal at the ball park, think about the network you’re both part of, and how you can help each other advance into your next career.