Career Changes for Cops – A Less Serious Look

As you hopefully know by now, we help real-life police officers and staff find career fulfilment and new adventures away from policing. One of the big challenges we face is in getting great people, who have become “institutionalised” in their ways of thinking or in struggling to see themselves anywhere else, to think a bit more creatively about their career options. To try to tackle that, we looked at some famous (fictional) faces and imagined the kind of career transitions they might go through. There’s a few here that might need a little training or support before they enter most workplaces, but let’s enjoy a bit of artistic licence with it…

1. Tony Stamp – The Bill

Tony Stamp from The Bill

Starting close to home (for the UK readers) with a face that is totally synonymous with uniformed policing as the cornerstone of such a hugely popular series for 25 years. Sorry to disappoint Reg Hollis fans – he almost made the cut. Never fazed by the incessant crime waves afflicting Sun Hill, Tony was a constant reassuring presence and fundamentally decent chap who everyone knew and trusted. Community policing in a way that’s gone out of fashion. He still got his teeth into bigger cases, pursuits and roll-arounds though – there was no shortage of action on the Larkmead and the Jasmine Allen (I don’t know what it says about my youth that I remember these fictional estates as well as real ones I worked on). In the programme, Tony was transferred to Hendon as a driving instructor. In real life, Graham Cole dedicates much of his time to supporting police/999 charities and this is the perfect career progression: builds on his credibility and expertise and allows him to continue the core of his TV persona as an exceptional people person who works tirelessly for others.

2. Eddy Caplan – Braquo

Time to cross The Channel for a pretty different character for this one. Braquo is gritty, intense and just all-round incredible. Eddy is very much the heart and soul of his team and the driving force behind their increasing willingness to “bend” the rules to sort out their growing list of issues through any means they can. Let’s be clear again that (like many on this list) Eddy might struggle with vetting, most HR policies and basically any kind of psychometric testing or assessment process. Things he doesn’t struggle with include solving problems, making decisions, influencing others and being proactive. We

often see discussions on harnessing the power of people within an organisation who are disruptors, outside the box thinkers and rock the boat – Eddy certainly fits that bill. His teams would follow him anywhere, he has endless creativity and superb interpersonal skills. Eddy is a systems thinker and would make any business operate more efficiently – perhaps management consultancy, change programmes or innovation projects beckon.

3. Sarah Lund – The Killing

Sarah Lund from The Killing

Knitwear enthusiast and vastly experienced Detective with ambitions to build a touch more life into her work-life balance. Driven, tenacious and committed to “doing the right thing”, Lund is a good example of someone who undersells her own value having spent too much time sorting out other people’s problems. In the series she looks for a desk job within policing, but I’m not convinced. I don’t think she’d ever settle for that. So, if the jumper industry doesn’t come calling with big sponsorship deals, how about some sort of safeguarding role in a charitable or international development organisation? She manages huge complex investigations effortlessly, has a fair deal of wanderlust and uncovers malpractice wherever it is. Someone who will continue to make a difference rather than a fortune.

4. Nick Angel – Hot Fuzz

He might not have seen Bad Boys 2, but Sergeant Angel still has plenty to offer. Having consistently topped the Met Police’s arrest charts (shame Sun Hill didn’t bring him in), Nick was making his colleagues look bad. Sorting out the widespread corruption and murder in Sandford was no issue either. Completely dedicated to his vocation, tirelessly determined and driven solely by a strong sense of right and wrong, Nick is an anomaly on our list for one simple reason: he’s already in the perfect career for him. Might sound cheesy but the whole point of this article is to look at people’s motivators, skills and ambitions and find the right fit for them. In this case it’s a chance for me to point out that the police has been losing too many of the right kind of people for too long already. Retention is key – and it’s all for the greater good…

5. Roger Murtaugh – Lethal Weapon

Roger Murtaugh from Lethal Weapon

As he often points out, Roger is “getting too old for this sh*t” and is counting down the days until retirement. He doesn’t seem to have much of a plan for what he might do next though, and nor do

the LAPD know what to do with him (LAPD, if you’re reading, we are available to help but please let us know in advance if Mel Gibson is going to be attending our course). Sergeant Murtaugh is a dedicated family man, the sensible and cautious half of the partnership – and a pillar of the community. If he’s looking for a quieter life after retirement, it’s a chance for him to look carefully at what he really enjoys, what he needs financially and what matters most to him. Maybe he’s an example of someone who doesn’t need a new career but just enough to keep him busy and to fund time on his boat (if it doesn’t get destroyed again). Roger Murtaugh Consulting sounds nice, the marketing opportunities are obvious and there’s bound to be plenty of local organisations who’d benefit from his input as a speaker, trainer or perhaps even a non-exec board position.

6. Jim Malone – The Untouchables

Pretty much the quintessential “old sweat”, what he lacks in friendliness he makes up for in no-nonsense wisdom and experience. His interview techniques probably rule him out of returning to policing as a “Civilian Investigator” – when it comes to methods, the College of Policing aren’t from Chicago. It would be a shame to lose so much experience though, and as we get to know him more, we realise that there is a softer side willing to mentor others and maintain high standards of integrity. Training and mentoring or support work of some kind would give him a means to pass on his expertise and inspire others to achieve – possibly in disadvantaged areas, education or rehabilitation where his “been there and done it” credibility would build great rapport.

7. Laure Berthaud – Spiral / Engrenages

Laure Berthaud from Spiral / Engrenages

Back to France for a character who certainly has plenty going on personally but is also quite simple – she wants to do something, she does it. An exceptional leader (despite the best efforts of some of her team) and consummate professional at managing stakeholders from the judiciary to the media, Laure has a skill set that would easily translate to business. That blend of hands-on ability and strategic vision alongside swift decision making and the occasional appetite for risk makes her ideal for something in Business Development, Account Director or any role that is about pushing things forward in a commercial setting.

8. Lester Freamon - The Wire

I could have done a whole list of characters from The Wire alone (maybe I will). I picked Lester though as an unsung hero of the show, someone who is often happy to be in the background but is no less crucial for it. Lester was somewhat abandoned within his agency – not for lack of skill, but rather for his run-ins with authority and commitment to his work rather than office politics. Lester is analytical, smart and methodical with a great eye for detail. He sees patterns that others miss and creates innovative ways to reach new targets. Every office needs a Lester to keep things on track and bring order to chaos: he would be fantastic as an Operations Manager, Project Manager in fields like logistics, retail or utilities. Equally, he would lead investigative teams in almost any field (fraud, cyber, loss prevention) to be truly proactive and tenacious.

Who have we missed? What should they go on to do elsewhere? Who in this list would you see yourself as?! Let us know in the comments – and for real-life career changes, head to Mightify.

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