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Police Advocates Seek 5 Years Less Work for Retirement

Posted March 2, 2007

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— A law enforcements officer in North Carolina must wait 30 years to retire.

Many men and women in uniform say it’s too long and that the law should consider the physical and mental toll the job takes on them. They’d like 25 years.

Wake County Deputy Sheriff Mark Tucker was 11 months from retirement when he was shot and killed while on duty three years ago. If state law had allowed him to retire earlier, his wife, Pat Tucker, says, her husband might still be alive.

“Every minute of every day that you're out there, you're life is on the line,” she says.

“As they get older, they can't do the things they used to do,” says state Sen. John Snow, D-Cherokee County. He plans to sponsor a bill to lower the required service by five years.

“I think they deserve cutting it off at 25,” Snow says. “I think they deserve that opportunity.”

Officers agree.

“Honor our police officers by giving them an extra benefit that they deserve by protecting us everyday,” says John Midgette of the Police Benevolent Association.

Some people worry that allowing officers to retire five years earlier will cost the state more money.

“It sounds great on paper, but when you start dissecting it, it's so expensive it loses its charm,” says state Rep. Leo Daughtry, R-Johnston County.

It's estimated that the change would cost counties and towns across the state an extra $13 million a year. Municipal leaders are also concerned that giving the early retirement benefit only to police officers would be unfair to other government employees.

“Our local elected officials value the services of their law enforcement officers and all of their employees, but they want to treat their employees fairly,” says Ellis Hankins of the North Carolina League of Municipalities.

Those who support the bill believe the cost of the change has been inflated. They say agencies could save money by hiring younger officers at lower salaries and that agencies would save on health care costs.

Snow’s bill is expected to be introduced in the next few weeks.

35 Comments

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  • WIPP Mar 7, 2007

    If they do this for LOE's then it should effect all Law Enforcement accross the board

  • bigjim835 Mar 5, 2007

    Give me a break. If LEO's are going to be able to retire at 25 years of service what about the Correcitonal Officer working in the state's prison. The CO faces more danger that any LEO in an 8 hour day... I am sick and tired of hearing LEO's complain about how hard there job is. Just like teachers and lawyers LEO's think they walk and sit on the right hand of god. If their job is so stressful why don't they quite and get a job that will not stress them so much.

  • kat Mar 5, 2007

    One reason police officers work off-duty instead of a different kind of job is because they can schedule the varying off duty jobs around their own crazy shift work. Companies that use police for off duty let officers sign up for the times when they aren't working their regular shift. It's not easy to find a second or third job that would work with the crazy shift work, not to mention the inevitable late call right before the shift ends when you wind up getting off late. I'm sure there are other good reasons. This is just one.

  • mvnull Mar 5, 2007

    "I have never actually seen a policeman of any branch, state or local, eating a doughnut on duty, or off duty for that matter." Really? In the past, bakeries were the only places open at 5am for a patrolman to take a break. Policemen are like any other person, and I see them at various "normal" places, including the Krispie Kreme. I, for one, think they deserve a donut every once in a while.

  • Gnathostomata Mar 5, 2007

    As for doughnut eating, I only see that in the movies. I have never actually seen a policeman of any branch, state or local, eating a doughnut on duty, or off duty for that matter. Where do you get this stuff, mrcrosby???

  • Gnathostomata Mar 5, 2007

    Teachers can say, also, ..."hurt my back six times, got shot at three times, was in many fights, vomited on, cussed at and everything else you can imagine..." but I think the real issue here is, "The general public does not have to deal with the tragedies of life, they have the option of walking away, the officer does not," and the chances of an officer having a heart attack while chasing someone increases with age. I would hope everyone recognizes that All Public Servants work hard, long hours and apply their skills to make life better for the rest of us. However, LEO's are the ones that deal with criminals. I cannot imagine walking up to a house or car and not knowing if the person inside is going to cooperate or retaliate. And they better be able to distinguish between the two in a split second. Reflexes get slower with age, just a fact.

  • mvnull Mar 5, 2007

    You misunderstand my question. Police are underpaid. So are many public servants (teachers, social services, etc). Many of them decide to get second (and third) jobs. The question isn't why they get second jobs, but, if the job has such "physical and mental toll" why would their second job would be so similar to their first job? Teachers don't choose other teaching jobs for moonlighting (although I do know several who volunteer to help at-risk students).

  • kat Mar 5, 2007

    Ummmm, mvnull, it's because they need the money. They are truly underpaid. Many in Raleigh have to buy houses in the outskirts of the county or in the next county over because they can't afford to live in the city they serve.

  • mvnull Mar 4, 2007

    If police officers burn out so quickly, why do many of them take off-duty jobs doing similar things?

  • kat Mar 4, 2007

    Any ideas on getting the word out to the people across the state to call and bug their representatives to get this passed? I would love to see this finally addressed and passed for the sake of the LEOs whose health and quality of life suffer due to years of shift work and the stresses of what they see/deal with everyday they don a gun & bullet-proof vest.

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