Sunday, February 17, 2013

Back to Work in 2011? Well.....

With my NCIS special agent's career solidly behind me, it became time for me to start looking for additional income to supplement my government pension.  I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and I made some inroads with a networking group and joined.  The purpose of the group was to connect others interested in networking with the goal of enhancing and improving their businesses.  It was during one of these meetings that I met a retired New York City police detective who now owns and operates a licensed private investigation agency.  As a result of this contact and based on my eligibility from 30 years in professional law enforcement, I applied for, tested, and became a licensed private investigator in the State of Florida.

After becoming licensed, I landed a contract position with an agency located in Stuart, FL in Martin County.  This agency was looking to expand its presence into Broward and Dade Counties.  The agency was involved in work that was strictly in the area of criminal defense work.  Initially, I was hesitant to undertake such a drastic change of perspectives from what my previous 30 years experience was, and I related this to the agency's owner, himself a retired New York City police detective.  I related my concerns to him however he assured me that criminal justice in the south, including Florida, was not like criminal justice elsewhere.  His inference being that due process is "sometimes" overlooked and it's "our job" to see that the police and prosecutors become better at their job because "we" are good at ours.  Well, I needed the work and so I signed the required forms, which included a "No Compete" form.  I was handed a caseload and started by introducing myself to the defendant's attorneys to get their spin on the cases.  

Things were not really as bad as I had imagined they'd be, that is, until I was assigned a double murder case. The defendant was in the county jail awaiting trial charged with the murder of his girlfriend and the eight month fetus she carried in her womb.  I poured countless hours into the case, which included four cardboard boxes of files, statements, photographs, affidavits, warrants, evidence custody documents, recorded interviews etc. before I went to the county jail to conduct my own interview of the accused.  It was immediately after the conclusion of my interview with the suspect that I realized there was no possible way I could reconcile my conscience if I participated in any way in helping the system to free this man.  So four months into my PI career, I did the only thing I could do and returned everything back to the agency and informed the owner that I was not cut out for doing defense work.  Unfortunately, the owner was not willing to release me from the No Compete agreement I signed and so I was civilly prohibited from working as a private investigator for a period of two years from that date.  I am currently just two months away from the termination of that agreement.  Lesson learned.  Don't be so quick to sign something that locks you into anything.

  ........... My curiosity getting the better of me, I continued checking into the status of the double murder case and was pleased to learn that the accused was convicted on both counts of pre-meditated murder.  This made me so relieved to know that my investigative results played no part in gaining an acquittal for this confessed murderer.  

NCIS Association (NCISA) Florida Chapter

You know, when you have dedicated yourself to something for most of your life, it's difficult to let go, especially when it has been as rewarding as a career as an NCIS special agent.  After retiring in November 2008, I received a welcome email from Diana F., the Secretary / Treasurer of the NCIS Association known as NCISA.  This is a fraternal organization comprised of retirees from every segment of NCIS to include special agents and professional staff alike.  During my conversation with Diana, I asked her for the point of contact for the Florida chapter.  Diana informed me that there once was a Florida chapter, but it disbanded many years ago.  I offered to make an effort to resurrect the chapter and Diana provided me with the contact information of all 80 plus retires now residing either full time or part time in the Sunshine State.  After personally contacting each retiree, either via email or telephone, I conducted our first meeting in Tampa on January 30, 2010 at The Green Iguana Restaurant.  By-Laws were reviewed, elections were held and so began the official rebirth of the NCISA Florida chapter with yours truly as its president.   I served as the NCISA chapter president for nearly three years before passing the baton this month.  Our chapter continues to grow in member participation and enthusiasm.  A website for the Florida Chapter is in its planning stages.  The organization's National Association's official website is:

Post NCIS Retirement

Once retired and settled into the new digs in Coconut Creek I began enjoying my new found freedom with nothing but time on my hands.  After approximately 30 years in a law enforcement career it was time for a little bit of a rest.  With some money in the bank from the sale of my home in Hawaii, things were fairly comfortable financially for a while.  I had thoughts of using this time to recharge my batteries before embarking on another employment venture.  In the meantime, I scoured Craigslist for groups to join and found a listing that was soliciting players for the Sunshine Senior Softball league in Pompano Beach.  Having played organized baseball from little league through the college level and a men's league in Staten Island, NY, and then various slow, medium, and fast pitch softball leagues for the better part of my adult life, I thought I'd give it a try.  I answered the ad and was contacted by the league coordinator, Bart Grillo.  Bart, at the time of the call, was 82 years old.  I asked him if he was still playing and he replied that he had quit a long time ago - which I later learned was only two years prior.   Yes, Bart was still playing softball at the age of 80.

At the time, I was just turning 55, the minimum age of eligibility to play in this senior league.  I played a half season with a partial tear of the rotator cuff in my left shoulder, but a backhanded play to snare a ground ball in the hole at shortstop would be the last play of my sandlot career.  I felt an all too familiar pop and instantly knew that I had torn my right hamstring.  This injury for all practical purposes finally drove home the reality that my brain was writing checks my body was no longer able to cash.  Time healed my torn hamstring and arthroscopic surgery repaired my rotator cuff but even my undying love for the game was not enough to tempt me to risk further injury.  It is common knowledge that the way a human body ages is very much connected to one's genes.  Unfortunately for me, Father Time was forbidding me from playing again.

Well, thank goodness for the game of golf.


Welcome to My "Realm of Retirement" Blog

Better late than never.... Yes, it has been more than four years since the event that spawned the creation of this blog but with as much as I enjoy writing, this is long overdue.  

The event in question occurred in 2008 when at the young age of 53, I decided to retire from my position as an N.C.I.S. special agent.  I moved from the island of Oahu, HI to settle here in south Florida to continue enjoying a gentler climate and also to be closer to family.  Retirement has proved to be quite challenging due to the economy and so I have created a blog that is dedicated to what has occupied my time as well as some creative ideas and suggestions to help other retirees or those close to retirement to be able to enjoy what we all have the power to make the best years of our lives.   

Of course this will be a work in progress and one that I hope will be enjoyed by those generous enough with their time to actually read it.