Chapter 2: 

How Police Chiefs and Sheriffs Are Finding Meaning and Purpose In the Next Stage of Their Careers

In this book, PERF provides a new way of thinking about a career in policing. We began our research by contacting PERF members who have retired from a police agency, and asked them to share their stories about what they are doing. We knew that many “retired” police chiefs and sheriffs are not really retired at all; they have started second careers as consultants, teachers, corporate executives, or other roles. Nearly 100 PERF members told us what they are doing, and gave us their best advice about how to plan for life after being a police chief or sheriff.

We found that most of the advice we received for police chiefs contemplating retirement is also good advice for those who are just starting their careers in policing. We received tips like:

  • Start thinking early about your long-term career goals. 
  • Pursue aspects of your work that interest you throughout your career. 
  • Seek a wide range of assignments. 
  • Network all the time. 
  • And have a plan.

So this book is intended for everyone in the policing profession. It recognizes that the concept of retirement is changing in many professions – and especially in policing. The traditional policing model – offering a good pension in exchange for 30 years of service to a single police department – is becoming out of date. Life expectancy is increasing, so a person “retiring” from a police job at age 55 will likely live another 25 years or more. Many are finding that 55 is too young to retire to a life of leisure, so they are creating a “Chapter 2” in their lives and careers.

PERF’s “Chapter 2” book is available online here.

PERF also has produced four short videos featuring police chiefs and sheriffs who shared their stories and their guidance about career planning. 

PERF is grateful to the Motorola Solutions Foundation for supporting PERF’s “Chapter 2” research, publication of the book, and production of the videos.

Plan Early for Your Chapter 2


New Work, New Challenges


Life After the Badge


Finding What's Right for You


 PERF Executive Director Chuck Wexler's Chapter 2 Presentation