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Careers: Police/Retirement Benefits

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Hello Dick,

I am currently serving my last 3 yrs of a 6 yr enlistment and I was wondering what the retirement benefits were for a police officer. I originally joined the Air Force with retirement in mind but with the death of my mother and the birth of my third child family has become a priority and I dont like being away fromt he remaining family in Florida and i dont like my children missing their father half of the yr. In the Air Force after 20 yrs I get a 50% pension. So my question is, What exactly does a police officer get for retirement benefits and does my military service transfer over? I will have completed 6 years so my question is would i have to serve 14 or 20 years to retire as a police officer? State Trooper is also an option so are the benefits the same for the two? Thanks so very much for your help.

Answer
Richard, there is a war of sorts going on around the country and it is focussed on safety retirements (police and fire).  When I joined the Sheriff's Dept. in L.A., during the 1960s, no one wanted to be a cop...so, they sweetened the retirement, and it was a very good retirement.  But things have changed in a dramatic way...most retirement systems are being reduced significantly.  The one good word is that safety retirements are still fairly good in comparison with the new guidelines.  There are some changes that really had to be made, such as padding the last year of work with heavy overtime works to up the base for which the retirement would fund.  Also, one could buy back military time...that is, you paid a lump sum into the retirement system so you could add those years to your total...I don't know if this will survive the cuts.  What I would recommend is for you to contact a law enforcement recruitment unit and pose your questions directly to them.  Rudyard Kipling had it correct when he wrote..."...it's Johnny this and Johnny that and chuck him out, the brute, but it's Johnny, savior of the land when the guns begin to shoot.  Good luck Richard.

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Dick Rogers

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I`ve spent twenty-five years in law enforcement as a state trooper and deputy sheriff. Retired as a lead homicide investigator. My interest is in answering questions dealing with ethical and moral dilemmas facing officers in the field.

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