FOP president concerned for many police officers who are in non-hazardous category when it comes to state pensions

10/24/2017 03:08 PM

COVINGTON – Many law enforcement personnel have expressed concern over the pension reform outline released last week by Gov. Matt Bevin and House and Senate leaders.

There’s frustration from the standpoint that the presentation only contained bullet points which lacked a lot of specifics and, in some cases, lead to more questions.

Covington FOP President Bryan Bogard, a 24-year veteran of the department and board member of the Kentucky FOP, said that while he was pleased that KERS Hazardous and CERS Hazardous saw little changes in their retirement pensions, however almost half of Kentucky’s police officers fall into the non-hazardous category, which will see a number of changes including enrolling in a defined contribution program and possibly working to the age of 65 to get full retirement benefits.

“Although the governor states that he’s going to take care of the hazardous duty employees, as a member of the Fraternal Order of Police, we have to worry about our brothers and sisters that are also in the non-hazardous,” Bogard said. “The main concern would be the three percent increase for every state employee. That’s going to hit a lot of our employee twice. My household, I’m looking at a six percent cut.”

Bogard says that the FOP agrees that there needs to be some kind of pension reform, but disagrees with doing in the backs of law enforcement employees.

“We’re asking the governor to look elsewhere,” Bogard said. “Look at some of the tax incentives that have been given across the state, you’ll find revenue for the state instead of coming to the employees and have the employees pay for this.”

Bogard said that employees entered their jobs and steadily made their contributions with the promise of a pension after their careers were over, and now it’s like the Commonwealth of Kentucky is not living up to its end of the bargain.

“When we came into this job, we were promised that we would have that retirement and now, they’re trying to go back on that through no fault of any of our employees,” Bogard said. “We have made all of our contributions every two weeks and we’ve held our end of the bargain we’re just asking the Commonwealth of Kentucky to hold up their end of the bargain.”

Bogard says that there’s irony from the standpoint that this might be one of the toughest times in history to be a law enforcement officer, and it’s also a time when police officers are being asked to give up some retirement benefits.

“There are a lot of tough obstacles that police officers have to overcome,” Bogard said. “Part of our concern is retaining and recruiting new officers. A new officer going in to a 401 (k), they’re not making these exorbitant salaries that a lot of these private companies make for the 401 (k)‘s, so they’re not going to be able to retire, they’re not going to be able to have a retirement.”

Bogard also is concerned that more burden, when it comes to retirement payments, will be put on the local communities which will put a strain on local resources.

“I believe that most police officers across the commonwealth are happy with the cities and they think that the cities are trying to do as much as they can,” Bogard said. “We just need the commonwealth, the governor and the legislators to step up and help out.”

Another deep safety concern for Bogard is the officers classified in the non-hazardous category who, at least with the current proposal, could have to work until the age of 65 to get full retirement.

“Do you want somebody out there protecting you at sixty five,” Bogard said. “Guys like me are old and we’re tough but, you know, it does wear on you. It’s a young man’s game when you’re talking about working the streets. You know, to ask somebody to continue to go out, to patrol, chasing suspects, it’s just unreasonable.”


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