CopShock: Second Edition
Surviving Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

by Allen R. Kates, MFAW, BCECR


A law enforcement officer’s retirement is a major life event. Everything he or she is and has worked for seems to suddenly come to an end. This may result in depression and trigger memories of traumatic experiences long buried. An officer must prepare for a successful retirement. People who are not police officers will also benefit from the resources described below.


Police Retiree Handbook
Although you may not be part of the Fairfax County Police Officers Retirement System in Virginia, that county’s retiree handbook published online is an excellent resource for police retirees everywhere. It provides questions to ask before retirement and what to do after leaving the force.
   Go to: Then click on the appropriate retirement information.
   For retirement benefits from Social Security, be sure to call at least three months before retirement: 800-772-1213.


POPPA Retiree Program
POPPA volunteer retirees trained as PSOs answer the 24-hour Retiree Help-Line covering the New York Metro area and other states. They help retirees with stress and trauma related problems and refer them to competent professionals, as PTSD can be debilitating long after retirement.
   Go to:  Phone: 800-599-1085.


Retired Peace Officers Association of California (RPOAC)
All retired peace officers, in or out of California, are eligible for membership in RPOAC, a watchdog organization dedicated to protecting retired peace officers’ interests, especially benefits. It operates through the Peace Officers Research Association of California (PORAC) and the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) in Washington, DC. PORAC conducts critical incident stress and line-of-duty death seminars.
   Go to: Write: RPORAC, PO Box 1239, Colfax, CA 95713. Call toll-free: 800-743-7622.


Retirement Pilot Study
Psychologist Daniel A. Goldfarb runs a counseling center for Long Island Law Enforcement. In this pilot study, he attempts to predict retirement satisfaction in police officers. Dr. Goldfarb comments on retired officers who show signs of stress, depression and anxiety.
   To examine this study, go to:
. Then click on the “retirement” button. Dr. Goldfarb says that he is surprised at the level of stress experienced by retiring and retired cops. He is reminded of the old saying: “If you are what you do, and you don’t, you AIN’T!” But the results are not as bad as they sound. It seems that if officers prepare for their retirement, then things usually go well.


Retirement Test
While reviewing Dr. Goldfarb’s study just mentioned, you will notice a button that says “Take the Test.” Go for it, and you may find out how ready you are for retirement.
  Go to:, and click on the “Retirement” button.


10-13 Clubs of America
The 10-13 Club is a national organization of retired New York City police officers. It is dedicated to “protecting, preserving and pursuing the rights” of the retiree.
   Go to: For New York, write: New York 10-13 Association, 260-09 Hillside Avenue, Floral Park, NY 11004. Phone: 718-343-7271. For Florida, write: 10-13 Clubs of America, P.O. Box 1013, Lecanto, FL 34460. Phone: 352-527-0347.