Q&A - South Florida Police Pensions

Today’s question comes from Dwayne. 

Hello Brian,

Just wanted to drop a line in reference to your comments, ON-AIR, about retired law enforcement officers. Remember, in this day and age, it is a tough task to recruit and hire personnel that can qualify, pass the background checks, and make it through the academy successfully. For those that do, the stress level is not common to most fields of work, thus shorting actual careers and in some cases, life span. 

Bottom Line: I hear you and I respect what law enforcement does as much as anyone you'll find in media. I completely agree with the recruitment challenges etc. That being said everything has its limits and needs to be balanced. Because I think it's inappropriate for a $105,000 annual pension to be paid plus benefits totaling more than an additional $20,000 per year for a retired deputy doesn't mean that I'm not completely supportive of the work that you and others do. 

I believe it should be balanced against the communities they serve. The average full-time salary in Broward is approximately $48,000. Across South Florida, it’s around $50,000. I'm not sure what the exact right answer is but I do think there's abuse within the system. 

Nationally, as of 2016, the average police pension checked in at just under $35,000 per year. In Florida, that figure was averaging just over $40,000 per year as the average pension targets 80% of the average annual salary which stands at $51,000+ in Florida. There’s an awful lot of distance between those figures and a deputy retiring with over $105k per year plus benefits and it’s a difference that has no chance of being explained away by typical supply and demand factors. 

Ultimately what I’d like to see happen is a move to individual retirement accounts funded ongoing in your name that can never be taken away from you. It’d protect you from potential insolvency of local governments in the future and it’d protect future tax payers from greedy bureaucrats gaming the system today. 

I love and respect those of you who put on the badge to protect us. I’ll always be your biggest supporter and reliable ally in media. That being said, I’ll always remain analytical and where’s there’s abuse or a potential injustice, I’ll call it out. South Florida’s long history of negligent and corrupt public officials has persisted to the extent it has because there aren’t enough people in news media willing to do the right thing.

May God bless you and those who serve with you. 

Submit your question using one of these methods. 

Email: brianmudd@iheartmedia.com

Twitter: @brianmuddradio

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Photo By: Getty Images/Outline205

 

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