FORT WAYNE, Ind. (21Alive) — City council’s regulations committee passed a measure raising the police mandatory retirement age to 70 after debating at its meeting.
Even though a state law set police officers’ mandatory retirement age at 70, the city’s local ordinance decades ago set the age at 60.
However, that age limit has not been enforced, and the officers’ city retirement benefits align with being 70 years old.
Moving the age requirement to 70 is widely supported by commanding officers as well as the rank and file.
They agree that street patrols are a young person’s game.
But they also say officers with years of experience still have lots to offer the department, and can be moved to positions that don’t require as much physical activity, like analyzing data, handling investigations with the detective bureau or doing interrogations.
“We’ve had people well up in their 70s still working and they still did a good job and everything. But once it gets to the point where you have issues physically or with your shooting or whatever, then it’s probably time to go,” says PBA President Jon Bonar.
If the full city council does end up passing this, police officers who are already 70 or older will be given until the end of the year to retire.
The police department’s two unions and Chief Hamilton as well as Public Safety Director Rusty York support the move to increase the retirement age.