A co-worker of mine is a former police officer and he recently took a mistake I made at work much more seriously than most others in the office did. I was not, however, one of those people, as I am very conscientious about my fuck ups. I was looking to either get him a gift as a sincere apology or as a hilariously overblown gag apology (which may be more appropriate, as I don’t know him well) though I am not sure which direction to go with it. He doesn’t drink, is married and has a dog lol, and that about all I truly know about him, though he does have a good sense of humor when he isn’t scowling.
Answer: Sort of
Scowling retired cops is sort of a normal thing – lots of things seen = lots of distaste for dumb things. It really matters what the mistake was honestly. Till I know that is it hard to tell you if any gift might be appropriate. Maybe that was some sort of trigger event for him, maybe like the mistake I once made where I posted a dumb meme to my friends on Facebook and everyone laughed except one friend. The member was comparing crack to some other thing and I then came to find out that friend’s (work friend not super personally level) daughter died of an OD from crack cocaine.
So you have to be careful. Sometimes all it really takes is a minute to pull them aside and just clear the air. :Hey I just wanted to let you know that I saw what I did the other day really bothered you. That was not my intention and I just wanted to apologize for that. Shake his hand and walk off based on his reaction. This defuses people as you took the reason for them to be mad away. I would assume if the guy is a decent person, they will either tell you later on thanks or things will mellow out over time.
Good luck, people are fickle creatures and without knowing the history of what triggers some responses there is no way to know if what you did just hit a really sore spot.