January 21, 2000
Police Commissioner Howard Safir said Jan. 13 that he is considering several financial incentives for senior cops to avert a flood of retirements as more than 10,000 become eligible to retire over the next four years.
The Commissioner said he was examining other cities' policies of giving cops "signing bonuses" to remain on the force after they have qualified for pensions, or allowing them to collect pensions even while continuing to work.
The potential mass exodus has arisen after several years in which there were relatively few retirements because of the lack of hirings between 1975 and 1979 as the city tried to weather a fiscal crisis and actually laid off thousands of officers.
Large numbers of cops were hired beginning in 1980, however, and so now many officers are reaching the 20-year threshold that enables them to qualify for a full pension.
Some officers have noted that the growth of the pension-related defined benefit has supplemented their basic pensions so that in some cases they can collect as much in retirement as they would while working.