Nonexistent DOJ Studies and Hasty Meetings Win Police Pensions in Knoxville


There are many compelling statistics which are actually bullshit, but it's a little more impressive when an easily repeatable one has fake Department of Justice research attached to it.

Courtesy of knoxnews.com:

When the local Fraternal Order of Police lobbied local leaders and the public for a better pension plan to benefit county deputies, members hammered on law enforcement mortality rates.They told commissioners, residents and the media that the average police officer lived to be just age 59. They said the information was based on a report by the U.S. Department of Justice. No one questioned it.

Even today, on law enforcement message boards across the country, commenters continue to cite age 59 as unadulterated fact and with little or no attribution.

The DOJ, however, says it never conducted such a study.

According to decades of research by police unions, actuaries and university professors, there are a number of conflicting reports on just how long the average officer lives.

There are different studies, some several decades old, that the article goes through before concluding research is mixed. It seems cops probably live as long, once they get to retirement, as most government workers.

It's obviously a dangerous job—stress is a killer—and there are traffic accidents and the occasional criminal who intends on doing officers harm to worry about. But if cops are looking to increase their pensions, it would definitely help to fact-check their arguments. 

Plus, here's another article by the same author as above, which details what happens to a police pension plan on its journey from slim and essential, to bloated, controversial, and still hungry for more public dollars:

In fall 2006, voters narrowly approved an upgraded pension plan intended only for uniformed officers in the Knox County Sheriff's Office.

A committee that met outside public view later expanded the eligibility rules, according to records…. 

And when it came time to bless the final package, one of the county's biggest expenditures in decades, the Knox County Commission approved it without deliberation. Some of those who voted for it directly benefited by it or had family members who would benefit by it.

And now, the Uniformed Officers Pension Plan, or UOPP, costs taxpayers $8.2 million a year — almost three times what was first projected, figures show. Funding costs are expected to rise even more — millions more — just to ensure pensioners get their money.

Tim Cavanaugh on how pensions killed California. Veronique de Rugy on "The State Pension Timebomb." Not to mention, Radley Balko on the over hyped dangers for active duty cops.

NEXT: Where's TurboTim? Cliff Stearns Grills Treasury Deputies Burner, Grippo

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  1. a la Scott Templeton

  2. Remember folks, the state is much more responsive to voters than businesses that depend on voluntary transactions are to consumers.

  3. Kudos to the local media for doing their due diligence and checking the veracity of the popo unions claims.
    Well done!

    1. If a trifle late.

      They told . . . the media that the average police officer lived to be just age 59. They said the information was based on a report by the U.S. Department of Justice. No one questioned it.

  4. “But if cops are looking to increase their pensions, it would definitely help to fact-check their arguments.”

    Say what? Seems like their current fact-free method is working just fine. Am I missing something?

  5. Lucy, not only are you still my favorite but you are rapidly approaching Welch-esque alt-text prowess. Somebody GIVE THIS WOMAN A RAISE!

    1. She posted a pic of a woman in velvet pants. What more do you want, you monster?

      1. I am not being sarcastic though…She is my new favorite sassy editor. I bumped Matt off the top because of her. And velvet pants, mmmmm.

        1. You’re easy to please, but so — I suppose — am I.

          Thanks for the non-creeper praises. I take alt-text seriously, if not as seriously as you freaks.

  6. So they scammed it through; do they therefore think that means this pension — unlike all the others across the nation– will actually be funded?

    What would explain such deeply impaired reasoning?

  7. Lucy, what did you do differently with the alt-text? It doesn’t show up in Reasonable, whereas all others do. I will blame reasonable for now, but you might want to take a look.

  8. “… stress is a killer …”

    I suspect something besides stress may be a major contributing cause of premature death for many cops. It’s just a theory.

  9. Living with all of their lies, along with the domestic abuse and heavy drinking, may contribute to a slightly shorter life, even for a violent, highly paid sociopath.

  10. Thank you for another essential article. Where else could anyone get that kind of information in such a complete way of writing? I have a presentation incoming week, and I am on the lookout for such information.

  11. This is the perfect blog for anyone who wants to know about this topic. You know so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I really would want…HaHa). You definitely put a new spin on a subject thats been written about for years. Great stuff, just great!

  12. I am absolutely amazed at how terrific the stuff is on this site.

  13. Until about a dozen years ago, the police union bosses were still quoting bogus figures that said the AVERAGE retired police officer lived as little as 3 years.

    Even today they still make bogus claims, but not THAT outlandish! Of course, if even age 59 were even CLOSE to being true, we’d have NO pension problems!

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