Can I Use My Police Rank in Retirement as a Consultant and Trainer?
I read on your site how the Department of Defense (DoD) says retired military officers can use, and cannot use, their ranks in retirement. I am a retired police lieutenant from a municipal police agency, and I am offering my services as a public safety consultant and trainer.
I am eligible to use my police rank because I retired honorably after 21 years of service.
Please tell me what form or arrangement of my name and title would be most appropriate on a calling card?
I feel almost silly using the title, but it does lend credibility to my opinions, findings, and methods. If anyone can settle this for me, I believe that you can.
———————–– Lieutenant Ben Baldwin, SDPS, Retired
Dear Lieutenant Baldwin,
You can mention in your rank in your marketing materials, but not a part of your name on your card.
The policies set out by the Department of Defense (DoD) provide a precedent for the use of a rank by a retired lofficer. If presenting your name with a rank as a consultant & trainer in retirement employment could be interpreted to imply some connection with your former employer …. then using your rank as part of your name would be discouraged.
The DoD is clear in its regulations that use of ranks by retired personnel (identifying oneself by ‘rank + name’) is restricted to social use. Ranks are not for use in subsequent professional endeavors.
While the DoD has it in writing … the concept applies elsewhere:
—-#1) A former/retired judge is socially addressed as ‘Judge (Name)’. He’d issue a wedding invitation for his daughter as ‘Judge (Name)’ since it social and no one would think that somehow the wedding is any sort of an official event.
—-But if he now works as a lobbyist in Washington for some industry, or as an attorney pleading cases in court. Professionally he becomes ‘Mr. (Name)’. His professional biography/resume/CV would include his former position, but not his card. While everyone would know of – and value his experience – his professional stationery reflects his current professional role.
—-#2) A former/retired US ambassador is socially addressed as ‘Ambassador (Name)’, but if he runs for political office, he becomes ‘Mr. (Name)’ … although his bio would include his former diplomatic service.
—-E.g. his bio might read:
—-—-‘ Mr. (Name) served as the United States Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium from 1990-1998…’
—-Or in your case it could be:
—-—-‘Mr. Baldwin served for 21 years in municipal law enforcement achieving the rank of Lieutenant’
See separate post on Detective. How to Address a Chief of Police
See separate post on Texas Ranger.
– Robert Hickey How to Address a Chief of Police