Large number of police retirements expected
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - To stay or retire? Many police officers are in fear over potential changes to the state's pension system.
The number of retiring officers Louisville Metro Police Department Chief Steve Conrad is bracing for is 96.
"Many of the promotions we made today were to prepare for those departures," Conrad said.
Thursday he promoted 53 people. That is the largest group ever, filling the retirement void before time runs out. By law, vacant commanding officer positions have to be filled within 60 days.
FOP President Dave Mutchler worries about the effect.
"If it's a sergeant, an officer is taken off the streets to fill that position," Mutchler said.
Some officers are retiring now, deciding not to risk their pensions being cut if Governor Matt Bevin calls a special session this fall.
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Councilman David James said this would be another blow to what he considers an already understaffed department.
"When you call for the police, it's going to be much longer than it took before for the police to be able to arrive," James said. "We're not going to be prepared and it's going to be problematic."
Conrad said he is aware the retirements may create a vacuum.
"It's going to be a temporary situation that happens every time when we have a group of promotions," he said.
Conrad said the city plans to hire the highest number of officers possible this year. But getting them on the street takes time.
Meanwhile, it's still up in the air what will happen to officers' retirement checks - or exactly how many are retiring.
"So it might be 100 right now, and in September it may be more than that and in January it's definitively going to be more than that," Mutchler said.
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