How fast were you going?

In Utah it might be fast enough to fund retirement for police officers

Police officers in Utah could soon have a very different way of increasing their retirement benefits — writing more traffic tickets.

Utah’s Senate Minority Leader Mike Dmitrich (D — Price) is proposing a surcharge of $20 be added to all moving violations issued to motorists.

The extra cash would be used to boost the annual cost of living increases for retired officers from 2.5 per cent to four per cent, bringing the benefits they receive to the same level as other government employees.

“This is twofold,” Dmitrich told Salt Lake City’s Deseret News. “It would help stop the speeding problem and help fund the retirement system.”

Draws criticism

Besides the obvious conflict-of-interest charges, the plan is also drawing criticism from other lawmakers in the state.

Representative Ron Bigelow (R — West Valley City) said traffic ticket revenue isn’t a reliable enough way to finance a retirement fund.

“Retirement is a contractual obligation that we have to fund,” Bigelow told the Deseret News. “This is too tenuous a thing for that obligation to come from.”

Police officers and firefighters have the lower cost-of-living increase because, unlike other government employees in the state who have to wait 30 years before retiring, they can retire after only 20 years.

But firefighters were moved to four per cent in 1994, while police have remained at the lower rate.

Increasing the rate from 2.5 per cent to four per cent would cost about $2 million for state cops alone. Figures for local officers are still being calculated.

The bill introduced by Dmitrich only calls for the increase as it stands now. He plans to introduce legislation later to add the surcharge as a way to fund it.

Latest stories