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STL Police Could Lose 60 Officers, Proposes “Historic” Pension Changes

Brian Kelly
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ST. LOUIS, MO (KMOX)-St. Louis Police Chief Dan Isom today proposed a budget that spends $2.5 million more than the city is appropriating for the department, and warned that he’d likely have to lose 60 officers through attrition to make up the difference.

Isom says 88% of the $163,119,109  spending plan consists of salaries, and the only way the department can achieve the city’s allocation is through staff reductions.

Isom also told the Police Board that  $23,479,109 comes from pension plan payments.  Moments later the board approved a motion urging the state legislature to approve changes in the pension plan, negotiated by the department and the plan’s board of trustees.

“These are historic changes to our pension system”, Isom tells KMOX. As for their impact, Isom says, “They are very significant in the first and as you can imagine as you move out there are going to be more and more savings.” 

Isom highlighted four changes: The retirement age for new hires will be moved to 50,  requiring 25 years of service. The final averaging for new hires will be three years instead of the current two years. Officer contributions will increase from 7% to 9% and the contributions will no longer be refunded at retirement or termination. And non-duty disability years will be reduced from ten to five years.  

Police Officers Association President Thomas Walsh says he’s not crazy about having to make the changes, but it shows they’re trying to help.

Two proposals offered by Mayor Francis Slay at the meeting were greeted with silence from the other board members. One would have the state pay for the $2.5 million cost overrun in the budget. The other called for local control of the now state-run department. Neither motion was seconded.

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