Law enforcement early retirement bill in the General Assembly

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT)–House Bill 284 filed in March of this year creates a special buyout for law enforcement officers and allows early retirement.

Onslow County Representative Phil Shepard is a sponsor of the bill.

“You think about the sacrifice they give and the stress that they’re under, this would basically give them the opportunity to retire after 25 years,” Rep. Shepard said. Instead of retiring at the typical 30-year mark.

Shepard says the extent of the work law enforcement officers perform means they’re often on duty 24 hours a day, and the ability to retire early is a way to show appreciation for their sacrifices.

Both officers new to the force and those who’ve been on it for over a decade have favorable opinions.

“It’s a very high-stress job,” Officer Dylan O’Dwyer with the Jacksonville Police Department said. “It’s a very intense job and being able to retire earlier I think you’re going to see more healthy careers and people retiring healthier.”

For some, it’s about merely having the option to retire.

“Some officers probably won’t retire right away because of their age and feeling too young to retire,” Sgt. Mark Ketchum, Jacksonville Police Department, said. “But it is definitely a bill that gives options and it makes you feel a little bit better when you have options and that our legislators are actually thinking of us.

Under the bill, a member’s retirement allowance will be equal to 1.85% of the member’s average final compensation multiplied by the years of creditable service.

The bill is currently in the House Committee on Appropriations.

If passed, it would take effect January 2018.

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