Police

Nonexistent DOJ Studies and Hasty Meetings Win Police Pensions in Knoxville

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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.