New proposal would allow retirement ‘double dipping’ for police officers

[anvplayer video=”5065153″ station=”998127″]

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – State lawmakers know there is a shortage of officers patrolling the streets, so they are discussing easing restrictions for retired police officers who want to return.

"Let’s allow officers to return to work, collect their retirement, pay into the retirement system as though they are a regular employee with no future increase of their retirement,” said retired police officer and Republican state Rep. Bill Rehm.

Rehm said officers would have to wait six months after retiring, before returning to the workforce. Restrictions on "double dipping" were put in place in 2010. Rehm said, if New Mexico brings it back now, retirees could help address statewide staffing shortages.

"There’s not a police agency in this state that doesn’t have an opening,” Rehm said."The return to work individuals are more desirable because they have a work history. And they have the experience."

Not everyone agrees with this plan. Shaun Willoughby, the President of the Albuquerque Police Officers’ Association, said this proposal could actually make staffing issues worse.

"It’s an easy fix to a long-term problem,” he said. "We have a competitive job market, there are better ideas to assist in staffing problems for policing in the State of New Mexico. This is a tired, lazy, weak attempt to try to say that they’re helping or fixing something."

Willoughby said incentivizing officers, who are already at the end of their careers, is not fair to new officers, who could potentially have a 25-year career ahead of them. ‘Double dipping’ also places retirees in higher positions and makes it harder for young officers to get promoted.

"That person being in a position for a number of years causes our younger generation, who wants an opportunity to grow in their profession, that position is no longer available for them,” he said.

This proposal is still in the early stages.