Editor, The Spotlight:
Terrance Rooney’s “Nix early retirement for cops to save town money” (page 7, Nov. 21 Spotlight) has several flaws in it. The idea that we can transition to other government jobs is an interesting idea, but I’m not sure it could work as easy as he thinks or that the law allows it. Maybe Mr. Rooney should have taken the test and became a police officer if the job is as great as he thinks, with endless benefits that other jobs don’t get.
Police have 20-year retirement; it is not an “early” retirement. That’s a full service retirement of working nights, weekends and holidays. The New York State Comptroller’s office says most police officers in New York work 26 years before retirement, that’s the statewide average. Nationally, the age for any police officer that works at least 20 years of police work, he or she has an average death age of 58 years old. Most police do go on to work other jobs after retirement but not in government jobs, because unless elected to an elected office like Town Board member (Bill) Reinhardt or Town Supervisor (John) Clarkson both retired from New York State government service, you cannot double dip in government service, take your pension and a salary like both of them do! Some waivers are granted to police so they can continue in government service, but they are very few now and unpopular with the public who has to pay the bill.
Police may not be in the top 10 most dangerous jobs but if you look at the top 20 jobs, police are No.12, fireman No. 13. Both have 20 retirement systems and years ago the NYS government looked at both jobs as unique and different from other types of work. They cut police and fire out for different benefits than other workers for lots of reasons. Job stress is one reason and physical ability to go out and fight everyday with people becomes harder as you age. Police are in a marked car and wear a uniform — everyone knows who they are as they drive around, but the police do not know who the criminals are. Look at last five years at the number of police killed in the line of duty. To date this year, 109 police officers killed. Last year, 174 police officers killed on duty. Is your job likely to kill you? Probably not! You can look at www.odmp.org to see who they were and how they were killed.