No interest in retirement benefit for police officers

Published 9:48 am Saturday, March 24, 2012

FRANKLIN—The Virginia General Assembly has granted Windsor, Courtland and Boykins the option to improve retirement benefits for their police officers.

The new law approved unanimously in the Senate and House would allow certain localities to lower the retirement age for police and firefighters enrolled in Virginia Retirement System.

Employees age 50 with 30 years of experience who were hired after July 1, 2010, would qualify, said Virginia Retirement System Director of Public Relations Jeanne Chenault. Currently, retirement benefits are available when the sum of service years and the employee’s age is 90.

The bill also doesn’t apply to municipalities that already give a benefit supplement to these employees, Chenault said.

The municipalities are required to pay for it at an estimated cost of .03 percent of the payroll.

Sen. Harry Blevins, R-Chesapeake, whose district includes portions of Western Tidewater, supported the legislation.

“It helps to make sure these people are covered because of what they do,” Blevins said.

Windsor Police Chief Vic Reynolds said he has two officers who would qualify and appreciates the legislation.

“Anything we can do to increase the benefits package would help us recruit,” Reynolds said.

But Windsor Town Manager Michael Stallings said there are no plans to implement this benefit.

Boykins has one police officer. Town Sgt. George Brozzo was hired before July 2010 and therefore is not affected by the legislation.

Mayor Spier Edwards said the issue would have to be brought to the Town Council if it came up in the future.

“I can present it to them and they can decide what to do,” Edwards said.

Boykins and Windsor don’t have paid firefighters.

Courtland Mayor Danny Williams did not return a phone call.