Officer says pension crisis could trickle down to police shortage

Updated: Sep. 4, 2017 at 12:47 AM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Governor Matt Bevin is now navigating between supporting state workers and fixing a pension system possibly destined to go belly up.

"To say that there's not going to be a drop in services to the public, I don't see how you can say that," Louisville Officer and FOP member Nicolai Jilek told Wave 3 news.

Jilek has also been tasked by LMPD Chief Steve Conrad to fight against what some call drastic changes to officers' pensions.

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"On some level I think part of us we really honestly were hoping that there would be some kind of genuine fix," Jilek said.

Last week, a new PFM report made suggestions on how to save the indebted pension system. It changed the full retirement benefit age for teachers to 65; for some officers, that age would be 60.

"Do you really want to have 60-year-old police officers as the earliest age for retirement?" Jilek asked. "That's just not realistic."

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The mere uncertainty over what's happening with pension reform is already being manifested. A large number of experienced LMPD officers have recently decided to retire and the department is getting ready for even more to follow suit.

The Chief is trying to fill the gaps, recently hosting the largest promotion ceremony ever. But, he acknowledged that will for some time leave a gap in the number of boots on the ground.

"Logistically we can only hire so many people in a given amount of time and I really, honestly don't know if PFM or anybody has really had a chance to look at those repercussions and to do that math," Jilek said.

Governor Bevin is expected to hold a special session on pension reform this Fall.

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