Transitioning to Full Time Blogger & Painter from the NYPD

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Things are never the same when they end as they are when they first started. From the first day you are sworn in, people tell you time flies and your career will be over in a blink of an eye, enjoy it while it lasts, etc. You never really believe it, and it certainly doesn’t resonate as anything other than words from some old timer. But you’re young and eager and ready to learn and you want to help people. You are squeaky clean and polished. A police officer with the NYPD. That’s how it starts. But then the journey is different for all of us. Before you know it you realize that the old timer was right and you find yourself saying the same things. You tell people that time flies and before you know it you will be retiring. But this time you feel sentimental and even a little teary-eyed. How did that just happen?

A Moment of Truth

As I have been writing this blog and sharing projects, sharing my life, sharing my family there is one thing that I never fully put out there. I am a Detective with the NYPD. Or at least I have been for many years. But this chapter is closing and retirement has finally arrived. I didn’t keep this part of my life a secret to be sneaky. But I am very aware of what goes on in our country and I know that not everyone loves the police. I also prefer simple. To sum me up- I love my country, my family, my wine and my paint. Everything else can complicate things. Click here for a little bit more about me: About me.

As I place my shield and ID on this pillow and get a new ID card marked retired I am in a glass case of emotion. Excited to move forward, yet feeling sentimental, and sad. I may be writing this for you, but a part is writing this for me as well. Here is a deeper peek into my life with the NYPD.

nypd retirement pillow, detective shield

Life as a Female in the NYPD

Sorry to say but I don’t have any scandalous stories. I truly can’t complain. The job has, for the most part, been good to me. I’ve worked with amazing people and forged friendships that have a bond that is hard to explain. Much like the same ones that formed while I was in the Navy.

  • 83 Pct – Bushwick

I started working patrol in Bushwick Brooklyn in the 83 pct. The entire time I worked there I worked at night. As a matter of fact, almost my entire career has been working nights. Since we didn’t have cameras in our cell phones back then most of the photos are pictures taken of pictures and not the best quality.

nypd uniform
  • WTC

While working in Bushwick Brooklyn I did the standard rookie assignments, but 9/11 also happened when I was a rookie cop. Spending time down there you have no idea the impact that it will have on your life as you get older. You see friends and coworkers get sick. You never know when that ticking clock inside of you will ring and it’s your time. Since we will never really know what we were exposed to down there all we can do is continue to get ourselves checked.

wtc police nypd

My skin cancer has been certified as 9/11 related cancer. It’s been removed, but that’s this time. What about next time?

nypd, skin cancer, 9/11

There were car chases and foot pursuits. Scuffles and all-out fights. I’ve been punched, bitten and spat at. I’ve screamed for help over the radio and responded to others calls for help. But with the crazy, there was also the rewarding and the fun. I’ve seen the good and bad in people and did what I could to help when it was needed.

  • Manhattan Details

There were also times we were sent into Manhattan for different details, parades, and events. I thought I lost this photo with Robin Williams. But cleaning out my locker I found it again. He was amazing and friendly and everything you would expect from him. He approached us on the street with open arms as we were waiting for our assignments.

nypd robin williams

I also had the chance, on many occasions to do a little undercover work as a prostitute. Those were some really fun times! I’ll spare you those photos and the details. I don’t want to make anyone blush 🙂 Instead here is a photo of my old pal Peaches (he is from Georgia) and we were so young. He’s back in Georgia and now he plays in a band. 

patrol cops, rookie cops

On to Brooklyn North Task Force

After a few years on patrol in Bushwick, I transferred to the Brooklyn North Task Force. This was a specialized unit that handled crowd control, searched for missing children and elderly among other things. The unit has since been disbanded and something else created in its place.

nypd police patches

When I got the phone call to come in for the interview I had been working midnights in the 83 and thought the call was a joke from a fellow cop. I told him to stop messing with me and I hung up on him. As it turned out it wasn’t a joke. It was, in fact, the Lieutenant calling to set up the interview. Thank goodness that Lieutenant had a good sense of humor.

The NYPD Task Force unit was really a great place to work. We bounced around all over the Borough of Brooklyn North, spending most of our time in East New York. I had partners there that were like a marriage. We just worked well together. My partner John aka Ippy and I would take the day off from work if the other wasn’t going to be in for some reason. We didn’t want to work with anyone else. We worked nights, we were active and had our shares of arrests, fights, chases, and even a flasher. I made the newspaper with Ippy. Here’s the article if you want a chuckle: Flasher. I even got to meet Elmo.

nypd uniform elmo

Auto Larceny

While in Task Force I also had the opportunity to work in Auto Larceny which was such a wonderful experience. My partner and I would play Christmas music in the patrol car from Thanksgiving through Christmas. During this time, when we pulled someone over for a moving violation instead of giving out tickets we handed out holiday cards (as long as the violation was minor and they had all of their paperwork in order). That felt better than giving out summonses anyway.

nypd cop

On to the Gang Unit

I reached a point in my career after approximately 4 years at Task Force that I knew that if I didn’t leave task force and go somewhere else I would never leave. I was happy there. So I left. Seems strange Im sure, but it was time. I went to Brooklyn North Gang. I will never forget the first time I came into the office and there was a large man who looked pretty mean. He was one of the undercovers. He came in mumbling and cursing about the rookies and how we need to know our place. I admit I was a bit nervous. Then I learned that he was a giant teddy bear with a heart of gold. In fact, the majority of that office was. They were all sarcastic, funny, inappropriate, great Detectives and many became like family. We would get together outside of work, with our families and for special occasions.

gang guys

We take photos to remember the good times. This photo above was the last time we had all gotten together before Derrick passed away from a heart attack. I cried like a baby.

nypd detective

Over the course of an entire career with the NYPD, or any police department, we tend to lose many of our own. Some we know personally and some we don’t know. They all hit the heart pretty hard. Derricks death hit me really hard, as did another cop, coworker and friend Alex who also had a heart attack and passed away way too young. Derrick is the reason I started painting thin blue line furniture. The first one that I did I raffled off as a fundraiser for his family.

  • Saying Good-Byes

Before walking out the door for the very last time I made sure to go say goodbye to the Chief. He was in charge of the Gang Division when I first came to the unit. But 10 years later he is now in charge of the entire Detective Bureau. I’m not a coin collector but he gave me this coin and its got to be the nicest coin I’ve ever seen and I will cherish it along with the memories.

nypd coin, chief of detectives
  • Gang Division

After Brooklyn North Gang I moved over to the Gang Division where I have spent the remainder of my career with the NYPD. (a total of 10 years in Gang) It’s not as flashy or fun but it works. My career seemed to transition around the same time that my personal life transitioned. When I was about to start a family and become a mom I also got an investigative position at work. Meaning no more running around in the street, making arrests or getting into God knows what. Instead, I’ve worked primarily with the Gang database and entering gang members..  blah blah blah. It’s boring but again, I can’t complain.

Closing this Chapter and Moving Forward

Now that retirement has arrived it seems a new door has opened and a transition is happening. For starters, I should be able to get a normal night sleep instead of the average 3 hours I have been getting working these crazy hours over the past few years. Since I had Jackson I have worked the opposite shift as my husband. He would work during the day and as soon as he would get home from work I would leave for work. High five and out the door. My schedule on a normal day has been 530pm to 4am for at least the past year. Im tired, Im chubby, Im not feeling healthy. This schedule takes a toll on the body. It’s not natural.

nypd retired, blogger, painter, transition

So with this upcoming transition, I plan to sleep more, paint more, craft more, write more, enjoy my kids more and live more. This furniture painting business and DIY blog will become my full-time job. That along with being mom and wife, since we all know that is also a full-time job. But now I can go from 3 ‘full-time’ jobs down to 2. I invite you to continue (or join) this journey with me.

– I’ll miss the clowns but I won’t miss the circus.

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  1. Kandice, I love this! Thank you for sharing. I kinda want to see your prostitute photos though, LOL. Happy retirement & on to the next chapter????

  2. What an interesting life you’ve led so far…Thanks for sharing.

  3. Kandice, this was fascinating to read. You’ve become much more than a photo and blog posts. Happy Retirement! A new chapter begins, Keep posting and I’ll keep reading.

  4. You are one brave and dedicated lady. Thanks for sharing. No way will I miss your latest posts! Enjoy your ‘new life’ and take time to smell each and every rose!

  5. I saw your post on facebook and I’m glad I did. Your story was engaging to read, Candice. Congratulations on a your retirement from one chapter of you life and the very best wishes for lots of success with your furniture painting business.With your extraordinary talent, I’m sure you’ll have a busy time. It’s not often that those of us outside of the police force get a glimpse into the career of officers. Thank you for sharing this with your readers.

    1. thank you!! So glad you saw the post too. Facebook can be tricky and not always share 🙂

  6. Jennefer Elie says:

    Thank you so much for your service. I think more people respect cops than the news wants to tell us. You are very appreciated for everything you did. Happy retirement!

  7. Thank you for your service in the Navy and also with the NYPD. Interesting life you have led. Glad you can now paint all you want and write on your blog. I will continue reading!

  8. kimmylouwho says:

    Wow! Thanks so much for your service in the Police Dept and the Navy! What an amazing gift to your City and Country! Glad you will be out of the stressful environment. I retired one year ago from Nursing and have not regretted it. Careers of service to others have so many stressors but glad there are good people doing it! Enjoy your new & creative life doing what you truly love!

  9. Well Kandice I am blown away. Both the Navy and the NYPD. I think you are one brave lady. How long were you in the NYPD total? And you were a detective. I am addicted to mystery books many of them police procedurals. I am totally impressed with you but I’m sure it has been difficult working those hours. Also, to wonder if you may become sick from 9/11 is so sad. Thank you for your commitment to our country. You have a lot to be proud of. Now enjoy only having 2 jobs instead of 3!!!

    Carla from Kansas

    1. thank you Carla! I retired with 20 years! It still hasnt fully hit me yet that Im retired lol.

  10. Hope Williams says:

    First, Thank you for your service! ???????? Secondly, congrats on your retirement!
    Welcome to the next chapter of your life! I pray you enough for each and every day. Sleep in, kiss your babies, make a regular date night, then keep the good stuff coming!
    Blessings, Hope

  11. Congratulations on your retirement and thank you for your service to our country. I loved reading this post – are you sure you don’t want to share those photos, lol? Here’s to family time and some sleep! I’m looking forward to future posts.

    1. lol. just picture badly dressed short skirts and leather boots with bright lipstick! hahahaa (sooo badly dressed)

  12. Dearest Kandice,
    Congratulations on your retirement!
    Your story has brought me to tears, I think you are one amazing lady and I just adore you! And I concur with the others, thank you for your years of service and thank you so much for sharing!

    I only discovered your blog about a year ago (as I’m older than and you’re my most favorite by far. You’ve inspired me more than you could imagine, which I’m so grateful for! I wish you the greatest success in your new full time endeavor and look forward to every one of your future posts!


  13. What a fascinating insight into your life – enjoy your next chapter 🙂

  14. All I can say is thank you for your service Kandice. You are so much appreciated. And like another reader said, it is so nice to get to know you a little better. Enjoy this new phase of your life. I know that the best part will be more time spent with the family, but more sleep sounds good too! 😉

  15. Ali Lasky says:

    I am in awe of you! Like your art and then read your story. What can I say other than you are amazing. And a fellow New Yorker! Keep up the positivity and share it with the rest of us!

  16. kathleen michelle wetzel says:

    Ah Kandice, what a life! Thank you for your lifetime of service, which, you carry on in the service of yourself, husband and children. I just love your blog and I’m gonna make the Berry Bark this weekend. You give me hope to continue with my furniture painting and maybe to start selling some soon. You’re so awesome!

  17. Linda Leyble says:

    Hi…I read one of your tutorials (loved it) and in it you mentioned your NYPD career. My grandfather was a policeman in NYC and my dad worker in the police department as a mechanic…and my sister-in-law worked as a NYPD detective and she was also a decoy prostitute for awhile as well. Congrats on your retirement and your current career – you are doing great. I was a decorative artist for many years until around 2008 – and the phone wasn’t ringing off the hook anymore. So, I started a home staging business and I’ve been doing that successfully ever since.

    I always loved crafting and creating art and re-painting old furniture – and teaching people how to do it. I will soon be retiring from the staging business and I may try to revive my furniture painting business. I’ve sold a few pieces but never for the amount of money I really wanted or needed. So, teaching may be where I can earn some money in retirement. I also have to rev up my blog again! You are an inspiration…thanks for your blog, your tutorials and for your prior service!


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