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Deputy Who Failed to Engage Parkland Shooter Could Get $52,000 Pension for Life

And probably more.

Joe Cavaretta/MCT/NewscomJoe Cavaretta/MCT/NewscomWhen a former student opened fire on pupils and teachers last week at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, school resource officer Scot Peterson was on duty. He was armed. He was at the school. Yet as security video released after the shooting that killed 17 people showed, he did not engage the shooter. It was one of a series of failures at various levels of government that allowed the shooter to carry out the heinous act.

Peterson, who resigned last week, he is likely to receive an annual pension of at least $52,000—and the actual total is likely higher, potentially close to $70,000. In addition, half his health insurance premiums will be covered by taxpayers.*

If he lives to be 78, the average life expectancy for a man in Broward County, the currently 54-year-old Peterson stands to collect more than $1.24 million from Florida's public pension system.

Understanding Peterson's specific situation helps shed light on the broader implications of public retirement costs in Florida and around the country. An employee like Peterson, who was by all accounts a typical deputy in the sprawling Broward County Sheriff's Office (BCSO) before his unfortunate rise to national prominence this month, is afforded a retirement package that kicks in at age 52 and allows him to collect a pension even if he pursues other work after his retirement. It's vastly different from what most private sector workers can expect to receive. The difference is premised on the idea that Peterson put his life on the line in a high-risk profession.

The payouts are virtually guaranteed, regardless of performance in the line of duty. Under state law, pensions can be forfeited only after a conviction for a narrowly defined list of crimes.

Determining Peterson's pension requires a bit of guesswork, since his first pension check won't be cut by the Florida Retirement System for at least another month, and potentially longer if the BCSO tries to hold up those payments while its investigation into Peterson continues.

Here's how I arrived at my numbers, which are based on publicly available information about Peterson, news accounts of his resignation, and interviews with Jim Bell, president of the union that represents members of the BCSO, and Leonard Gilroy, director of the pension integrity project for the Reason Foundation (which publishes this blog).

Peterson earned $75,673 in 2016, according to public records data obtained by the Sun-Sentinel. He had been working as the school resource officer at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School since 2009, and he had been an employee of the Broward County Sheriff's Office since 1985, according to documents released by the sheriff's office after Peterson's resignation.

That means Peterson put in at least 25 years at the BCSO, an important threshold for accruing pension benefits under Florida law.

The pensions afforded to Florida's sheriffs are based on a calculation that starts with an average of the employee's five highest-paid years. That average is then multiplied by a percentage that varies based on how many years an employee has worked and at what job.

Law enforcement employees and other public employees in so-called "high-risk" positions earn a multiplier of 3 percent for every year worked. (Other public workers earn a lower multiplier, usually 2 percent.) After 25 years of service, for example, a law enforcement employee like Peterson would have earned a pension equal to 75 percent of the average of his five highest-paid years during his final 10 years of employment. Under Florida law, pension payouts are capped at 100 percent of this figure, which is known as a "final annual salary."

"The pension benefit for first responders in the Florida Retirement System is generally consistent with other public safety systems across the country," says Gilroy. "Using 'high-5' for the final average salary calculation is common too, and the overall benefit cap is designed to keep benefit accruals in check."

Peterson's earnings in other years remain unknown, but he'd spent at least nine years as a school resource officer and there's nothing to suggest that 2016 was anything other than an average year for him. Assuming he'd eared slightly less in previous years (to allow for annual pay increases), we can safely project that Peterson earned around $70,000 on average during the last five years of his career with the BCSO.

With at least 25 years of service time, Peterson would qualify for a pension equal to 75 percent of this final annual salary—or $52,500.

This is the most conservative estimate of Peterson's pension, which fails to take into account several factors likely to boost his eventual payout.

For starters, Peterson had worked more than 25 years for the BCSO. Still, the 25-year figure is important because it means that Peterson was fully vested in the pension system when he retired last Thursday and could immediately begin drawing a pension.

After 25 years of service, Peterson could have continued to accrue pension benefits in the same manner as before. In that case, his 32 years of service would qualify him for a pension of about $67,000 annually (assuming a $70,000 final average salary and a 3 percent multiplier with 32 years of service).

Alternatively, Peterson could have enrolled in a so-called DROP (Deferred Retirement Option Plan) program after 25 years with the BCSO. If so, his retirement benefit would have been capped when he entered the DROP program—capped, therefore, at 75 percent if he'd entered in the first year he was eligible—but he would be able to collect, at retirement, a lump sum payment equal to the contributions he deferred while continuing to work.

Opting into a DROP program can increase or decrease the amount of retirement benefits paid to a public employee, depending on a number of factors, such as how long the employee lives after retiring. (DROP program recipients get a bigger payout up front and relatively smaller monthly amounts.) Still, they wouldn't exist if they weren't beneficial to the retirees—and the number of cities, including Dallas and Philadelphia, that have been financially stressed by DROP programs should indicate which side usually benefits from them.

Regardless of whether Peterson used the DROP program or not, he could have padded his pension payout with other bonuses that factor into the calculation of a "final average salary," thus inflating the rest of the pension calculation. In 2016, for example, Peterson's salary of $75,643 was boosted to a final total of $101,000 with overtime and other bonuses, according to the Sun-Sentinel.

It's also possible that Peterson was enrolled in Florida's relatively new 401(k)-style retirement program, which would make it virtually impossible to determine how much his retirement benefits will be. Gilroy believes it's unlikely that an employee who had been with the BCSO since the 1980s would be enrolled in anything other than the traditional pension plan. Florida passed a law in 2017 to automatically enroll most new hires in the 401(k)-style program, which shields taxpayers from excessive pension costs, but law enforcement employees were exempted from that provision and continue to be enrolled in the old pension system unless they choose otherwise.

Bell, the union president, says he encourages new hires to opt into the traditional pension. He did not know which plan Peterson was using.

In either pension system, Peterson will be eligible to have half his medical expenses covered for the rest of his life.

"If you leave the agency in good standing after 25 years of service here," says Bell, "the sheriff's office will pay 50 percent of your health benefits for the rest of your life."

Could Peterson lose his pension as a result of his botched response to the school shooting? That seems unlikely. Under Florida law, public pensions can be revoked for felony offenses that "breach the public trust." The specific crimes on the list are related to embezzlement, theft, bribery, and child sexual assault only.

Bell says the sheriff's office could hold up pension payments because of the pending investigation into Peterson's conduct.

"But at the end of the day, there's really nothing they can do to take those benefits," Bell says, "because he's already resigned."

*CORRECTION: This post originally stated that half of Peterson medical expenses will be covered by taxpayers. It has been updated to clarify that 50 percent of Peterson's health insurance premiums will be covered by taxpayers, per the terms of a collective bargaining agreement.

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  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    A just society would take that $52,000 each year and award it to Donald J. Trump, who would have run toward the shooter and protected those children if only he had been nearby to continue a lifetime of selfless service to others.

    Carry on, clingers.

  • Vin_Decks!!!||

    God, you're a douche. YET SO WITTY!!!!

  • Citizen X - #6||

    What he lacks in anything approaching human empathy for people who disagree with him on petty political matters, Rev. Kirkland makes up for in entirely unearned smugness.

  • Sevo||

    "...Rev. Kirkland makes up for in entirely unearned smugness."

    Stupid and smug; a combo made popular by Hihn, among other trolls.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    I'm not entirely convinced Kirkland isn't a parody. His tiresomeness is almost too practiced.

  • CatoTheChipper||

    Nope. Progressives are beyond parody.

  • silver.||

    2017 was the year of Poe's law. Let's see if 2018 can beat it.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    If you don't understand why I want to give all of America's pensions to Trump then you don't understand what it means to be libertarian.

  • Ship of Theseus||

    I'm a libertarian, and I don't understand it.

  • Ship of Theseus||

    (I'm not intending to be an ass... I genuinely don't understand what you mean)

  • silver.||

    Sarcasm doesn't translate well to text.

  • Chili Dogg||

    You are as clear as mud.

  • Echospinner||

    The government has taken about 7% in FISA and more.

    Since I got my first paycheck. Many years and paychecks ago.

    I would like to have all of it back in cash plus interest.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    So would I. And we both know it ain't gonna happen. Nest we can hope for is to change things going forward.

  • Pat001||

    Why don't you just tell us what it means to be a libertarian so we don't have to guess?

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    Arty-poo loves it when government agents stand outside sucking their thumbs while kids are being shot.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Half-educated right-wingers love it when Donald Trump -- whose record runs from bone spurs to walking away from an elderly guest with a bleeding head wound after a fall at a Trump property -- boasts about how he would run, unarmed, toward a guy shooting dozens of students with a rifle.

    Much as they expected him to rework economic fundamentals to enable poorly educated, unskilled, disaffected, white males from shambling rural communities to prosper -- at the expense of properly educated, accomplished, reason-based residents of our modern, strong communities, no less.

    Carry on, clingers.

  • Sevo||

    Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland|2.28.18 @ 11:33AM|#
    "Half-educated right-wingers love it when Donald Trump..."

    Dimbulb lefty assholes love to display their ignorance.

  • DarrenM||

    Dimbulb lefty assholes love to display their ignorance.

    Give him a break. It's the only thing he can be truly proud of.

  • FlameCCT||

    He actually claims to be Libertarian although I suspect he is a Progressive hiding as Libertarian, no different than his Progressive Liberal and Progressive Conservative tovarisch.

  • Maddow's Fleshlight||

    "reason-based "

    Drink!

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Our last properly educated president thought we had 57 states and that the government actually generated wealth. Carry on, Justice Warrior.

  • swampwiz||

    So an exhausted POTUS candidate makes a small brain fart mixing up the # of states with the # of primaries (count them: 50 states, DC, 5 unincorporated territories, Americans abroad), and now he's an idiot? An idiot who was bookended by W & Trump?

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    Arty-poo desperately deflects after the utter failure of his precious government agents to prevent kids from being killed.

    Carry on, soyboys.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    at the expense of properly educated, accomplished, reason-based residents of our modern, strong communities, no less.

    Like the South Side of Chicago, for instance.

  • RabbitHead||

    So let me get this straight: you're saying that the people who think that those members of society who are marginalized socially and economically should prosper from the efforts of those who are materially and intellectually successful are the bad guys, right?

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    The issue is whether the yahoos would prosper consequent to reliance on the insights, charms, and reliability of Donald J. Trump. And, I suppose, how gullible one must have been to believe that they would.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    I wonder what impressive academic credentials Arty has? Probably not much, like his meager IQ.

  • Chili Dogg||

    Looks like President Trump is living rent-free in someone's rather roomy cranium.

  • Finrod||

    Hard to live long in a vacuum, though.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I appreciate that pension are an issue.

    I just think we distract away from the observation that we could have prevented this tragedy if only government agency a, b, c, d, and e, hadn't all failed when we use this guy to talk about something other than government incompetence in regards to this tragedy.

    If the government had done its job using the resources they already have, this tragedy probably could have been prevented. This guy is part of the evidence of that.

    Pensions will still be a problem using other examples. Let's not muddy the waters when they're coming after our Second Amendment rights.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    You're right, nobody should talk about the things you're not concerned with talking about.

  • Marcus Aurelius||

    The problem here is both the unsustainable pension system and the ability to retire under dubious circumstances. Trying to highlight one to make the case against they other doesn't play well in this case.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    No, according to Ken Shultz, the problem is that Reason published an article about a cop getting a pension instead of publishing even more articles about gun rights. Every moment not spend vociferously defending gun rights is a moment lost to the gun grabbers.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    You expect Ken not to lecture others about what they should and should not say?

  • Ken Shultz||

    That's not what I said.

    The public's thinking on this isn't likely to be any less convoluted than our own, so why muddy the waters?

    The more this guy becomes a symbol of public pension problems, the less he's a clear symbol of why it's unnecessary to come after our gun rights.

    Meanwhile the president is trying to unify both parties to come after our gun rights.

    Maybe that's what you want?

    There are plenty of other examples of public pension problems. Why not use one of them instead of using one of the clearest examples of why there's no reason to come after our gun rights--for something else?

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    That's not what I said.

    It is what you said. And as is your custom, you used way too many words to say it.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I didn't say that no one should talk about things I don't care about. That's factually incorrect.

    I said that using this guy as an example for the purposes of public pension reform is a distraction from his better use as a symbol for why there's no need to come after our gun rights.

    I'm just as fond of public pension reform as the next libertarian. I just think this example unnecessarily distracts from another pressing issue. There are other, better examples of the need for public pension reform. Why not use one of them?

    Rosa Parks may be an example of why they needed to legalize Uber in Montgomery, Alabama--to help deal with the overcrowding on buses. However, I think Rosa Parks is a better example of why they needed to end segregation.

    I bet the segregationists would have loved to make Rosa Parks all about the problem of overcrowded buses rather than segregation--why carry water for them?

    I'm not against Uber, but we can make that case without muddying the waters on segregation by using a different example.

    If you genuinely don't understand what I'm saying, it's because you don't want to understand what I'm saying.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    I didn't say that no one should talk about things I don't care about. That's factually incorrect.

    I said that using this guy as an example for the purposes of public pension reform is a distraction from his better use as a symbol for why there's no need to come after our gun rights.

    You didn't say that people shouldn't talk about things you don't care about. You implied that people shouldn't talk about things that you don't care about.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Those voices are in your head.

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    Ken - I appreciate the care you put into your comments, and I often find lots of good points in them.

    I too get tired of all the side issues being raised. The lack of clarity in people's thinking (and presumably in my own) is disturbing and probably explains why things are the way the way they are.

  • CatoTheChipper||

    It seems to me that the point of this article is that government is a really crappy way of trying to do anything. In all likelihood, it will fail ... and even if it manages to approximate success in anything, it will be inordinately expensive, intrusive, coercive, and unjust.

    Most people think that the primary purpose of government is to secure citizens in their own right to life. But the US Supreme Court has explicitly ruled that, no, it does not in Castle Rock v Gonzales.

  • Billy Bones||

    $75k for pissing your pants like a scared little bitch. I'm at a loss for words.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    I'm at a loss for words.

    Here, try these; they're second hand, but pretty fitting:

    $75k for pissing your pants like a scared little bitch.
  • Griffin3||

    It's like the nutpunch that keeps on giving. Wanna bet whether he claims PTSD during the next 5 years, for the double-plus-good payout?

  • Stormy Dragon||

    It's not clear to me why getting fired would result in someone losing the pension they'd earned prior to the filing. If you get fired from a private sector job, your employer doesn't get your IRA.

  • sarcasmic||

    People pay into their IRAs, whereas a pension is a promise to be paid for by someone else.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    If you're fired, your employer doesn't get to keep your 401k, either.

    Theoretically, they are paying into the pension in that a portion of the compensation is being paid to the trust fund rather than being recieved in their paycheck.

    The fact the employer has fraudulently failed to actually put that money into the pension doesn't magically absolve them of the liability.

  • John||

    And once your pension vests, they can't take it away from you in most cases even if they fire you for good cause. If it were otherwise, few people would ever get a pension since their employers would just fire them before they retired to use it.

  • sarcasmic||

    Theoretically, they are paying into the pension...

    Theoretically we are all paying into the Social Security trust fund.

    The fact the employer has fraudulently failed to actually put that money into the pension....

    Doesn't really matter when the said employer collects money for that pension under threat of death.

  • CatoTheChipper||

    According to the US Supreme Court, we are NOT theoretically paying into a trust fund. The "Social Security trust fund" is not a trust fund.

    A genuine trust fund -- like a pension trust fund regardless of whether it is private or municipal -- creates a property right. SCOTUS was explicit that beneficiaries and potential beneficiaries have NO property right to funds collected under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act. They are payroll taxes, pure and simple.

    Likewise, Social Security's "Old Age and Survivors Insurance" is not insurance. Genuine insurance creates a contractural right. SCOTUS was explicit that OASI is not insurance.

    The popular opinion regarding the "Social Security trust fund" and "Old Age and Survivors Insurance" are the result of K-12 indoctrination and a lifetime of mainstream media propaganda.

    These frauds are something like FAKE NEWS, in other words.

  • CatoTheChipper||

    Flemming v Nestor, if you need a citation.

  • DD2TT||

    Your employer can most certainly keep the portion of the 401k that they contribute to, until such time that you're vested.

  • Juice||

    People pay into their IRAs

    People pay into pensions too.

  • Mickey Rat||

    It is more than a promise, it is a contract. Unless there is a contract provision that one can lose a pension for poor performance of duty, it is not jright to suggest some kind of injustice is going on here. There is need for pension reform but using this guy and his craven failure to act is emotionally manipulative way to do it, just as much the gun control advocate waving teenagers bloody shirts.

  • The Laissez-Ferret||

    They are different animals altogether. An IRA is a contribution plan and a pension is a benefit plan. The IRA is your account that the company simply manages for your benefit, but a pension is owned, funded, and operated by the company (or in this place, the taxpayer). Most places have in their pension contract that termination and/or malfeasance is grounds for loss of benefits.

  • Vin_Decks!!!||

    AND this guy gets to be known as "The Coward of Broward" for the rest of his life in every bar he ever goes to.
    He better get used to hearing it....

  • Hugh Akston||

    Nobody is going to remember this guy's name in six months.

  • Vin_Decks!!!||

    People remember who Steve Bartman was, and his stupidity didn't result in the deaths of children....

  • Hugh Akston||

    People in Chicago might remember him, but the rest of us have to Google it. Peterson will be safely anonymous if he lives anywhere besides Broward County.

  • Vin_Decks!!!||

    I remain skeptical of this....

  • Maddow's Fleshlight||

    I didn't have to Google it.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    He even has a hip song named after him.

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    I have no idea who Steve Bartman is.

  • Libertarian||

    Or they will confuse him with this guy.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scott_Peterson

  • Vin_Decks!!!||

    I'm okay with that....

  • John||

    I read that the guy was told not to go in because he didn't have a body camera. Maybe the guy stood around and did nothing because he was a coward and disobeyed orders but I doubt it. I bet anything he didn't go in because his bosses either specifically told him not to go in or there was some kind of general policy that the need to follow allowed him to rationalize not going in.

    Basically, the cops as a general rule don't give a shit if someone is shooting a place up. They care but not enough to do anything about it. This guy did what cops have done in any number of other mass shooting situations; stood around and waited for the guy to run out of ammunition or shoot himself to go in and clean up the bodies and terrorize the survivors by playing tough guy after the danger had passed.

  • Vin_Decks!!!||

    "Maybe the guy stood around and did nothing because he was a coward and disobeyed orders but I doubt it. "

    Why do you doubt it? What would lead you to that conclusion? Why does he deserve the benefit of the doubt? What does Occam's razor not apply here?

  • John||

    I doubt it because I think he stood outside because his superiors told him to do it either directly or through his training. And that is not giving him the benefit of the doubt. Following orders doesn't make him any less of a coward and failure.

  • sarcasmic||

    This cop was put in an impossible situation. If he attempted to confront the shooter he would have been fired for putting his safety at risk. Officer safety is number one. Total compliance is number two (obey or die).

  • John||

    I think that is probably a pretty good description of the situation.

  • swampwiz||

    So the cop didn't do like Gunny Highway exhorted his Marines to do by "earn(ing) your pay" (by going to war) in the movie Heartbreak Ridge.

  • ||

    Why does he deserve the benefit of the doubt?

    Why do you assume doubt comes with any benefits? This is John we're talking about here.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    Let's not forget that there were also three other cops on scene. Peterson is getting flak, and rightfully so, because he failed to do his job, but we only know his name because he happened to be assigned to the school. The other cops who were there ought to be put in the "pants-wetting coward" lineup right alongside him.

  • Sevo||

    John|2.28.18 @ 10:38AM|#
    "I read that the guy was told not to go in because he didn't have a body camera."

    If that were the case, his lawyer would be on it in a New York minute.
    Nope; he's claiming his client thought the shooting was going on *outside*.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Basically, the cops as a general rule don't give a shit if someone is shooting a place up
    Basically, yeah. When I did my "active shooter" training last year, part of it covered what we can expect first responders to do. It was very clear that when MP, SWAT or police arrive, they're going to hang back until they're confident that they can win. And only after they've secured the area will EMTs be allowed in. And if we're in the area, we can expect to stay put until the EMTs show up because if we start moving around before the responders have determined the area is secure, they might mistake us for a threat (shooter hiding among victims ain't unheard of, after all).

    So yeah. Unless the armed security officer is in the area when shooting starts (see: Pulse nightclub shooting), they're not going to rush in and try to play hero, they'll wait for back-up.

    And frankly? Folks that expect this guy to have charged in or are angry that he didn't don't have realistic expectations. They have Hollywood expectations. So sure, it'd be nice if he'd played hero. And it's possible he could have saved lives if he had done so. But you should never expect someone to be a hero.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    Folks that expect this guy to have charged in or are angry that he didn't don't have realistic expectations

    That's kinda the problem, ain't it? Expecting a cop to do cop stuff is sooooooo Hollywood.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Expecting a cop to do cop stuff is sooooooo Hollywood


    If your idea of "cop stuff" is closer to "Hollywood" then "reality", then yes.

    Cops are not here to protect you. They will not transform into action movie stars to save your hide. Think they will at your own peril.

  • John||

    Cops are not here to protect you.

    Only if you go by the dictionary definition they are. And if they are not, then there is no point in having them. The state can raise money by taxes not traffic fines.

  • Sevo||

    "If your idea of "cop stuff" is closer to "Hollywood" then "reality", then yes."

    If you make up definitions to suit your 'argument', you'll forgive me if I detect a certain stench.

  • shortviking||

    Then quite frankly they are useless slobs and we might as well disband them and save taxpayers a shitload of money. What purpose DO they serve?

  • John||

    What Sparky said. This guy was hired, trained and armed to confront and neutralize criminal threats to the public. If all he is willing or able to do is stand there with his dick in his hand and call for backup, then how about we save the taxpayers money and just install a closed circuit security camera?

    The guy was armed. Part of his job is possibly getting into gun fights so the rest of us don't have to do so. People went into that building and tried to stop that shooter who were not even armed. A couple of 15 year old ROTC cadets handed out vests and one took a bullet and died to save his fellow students. And this guy and three others stood around and did nothing despite all being armed and wearing flak vests. Yeah, I do expect him to charge in there and play the hero. And the fact that he didn't says he is a coward who cares more about saving his own ass than he does about integrity. I honestly can't defend or have any use for someone who would rather live as a coward knowing that you stood by and let a bunch of innocent people die than risk death and know at least you tried to do something. Such people are a waste of humanity.

  • EscherEnigma||

    If all he is willing or able to do is stand there with his dick in his hand and call for backup, then how about we save the taxpayers money and just install a closed circuit security camera?


    For one thing, folks you like would complain about the "surveillance state" and the constant recordings.

    That said, you're kind of illustrating my point. You have unrealistic expectations of cops. It's nice when folks show courage and are heroes. But it cannot be expected. And being upset that real folks didn't meet your unrealistic expectations, while understandable, is also entirely predictable.

  • John||

    It is not unrealistic to expect a police officer to confront an armed man murdering high school students. I am not asking him to take on the world. I am asking him to get into a gun fight with someone when circumstances require it. Jesus tap dancing Christ, we send 18 year old privates into buildings expecting them to confront fanatics ready to blow themselves. up. And it is unrealistic to expect a cop to confront a single psychotic teenager armed with a rifle?

    Give me a fucking break. If this guy wasn't willing to potentially get shot at and possibly die in the process, then he signed up for the wrong profession. What the fuck do we have cops for if not to confront people like this? You just illustrated exactly what is wrong with law enforcement today and why people like you have taken what should be a noble profession and shit all over it to make it about the level as writing parking tickets.

  • EscherEnigma||

    What the fuck do we have cops for if not to confront people like this?
    Mostly to stand around as deterrents and investigate crimes after-the-fact.

    You just illustrated exactly what is wrong with law enforcement today and why people like you have taken what should be a noble profession and shit all over it to make it about the level as writing parking tickets.
    So because I point out what cops have been successfully arguing in court for decades, I'm the bad guy?

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    Mostly to stand around as deterrents

    Well, that didn't fucking work in this case, did it?

  • Maddow's Fleshlight||

    I don't think it's unrealistic to expect a person that is given a gun in order to confront violent criminals to actually confront violent criminals. I think perhaps you are doing exactly what you accuse others of doing.

  • EscherEnigma||

    I think perhaps you are doing exactly what you accuse others of doing.


    Half-true.

    I'm listening to what they say in court, where they have repeatedly and consistently argued that they aren't here to protect you. You're listening to what they say to the press, where they say that's all they're here to do.

  • Maddow's Fleshlight||

    No, I'm telling you what I expect of my employees.

  • silver.||

    Indeed. Castle Rock v. Gonzales. The cops do not have to protect us, and they often don't. At all. Plan accordingly.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    You have unrealistic expectations of cops. It's nice when folks show courage and are heroes. But it cannot be expected.

    You're exactly right. Most people have unrealistic expectations of cops. Mainly because cops overhype themselves and actually put forth those unrealistic expectations. You know, like painting "To protect and serve" on all their mobile officer delivery units and stuff like that?

  • EscherEnigma||

    Yes, but without the sarcasm. Assuming that was sarcasm. It looks like sarcasm, but it's hard to tell for sure.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    People are idiots for believing what the police tell them. Is that better?

  • EscherEnigma||

    Yes. Much less ambiguous.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    But somehow police shouldn't be held responsible for constantly being dishonest.

  • EscherEnigma||

    But somehow police shouldn't be held responsible for constantly being dishonest.
    And now you lost me.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    And now you lost me.

    Maybe because it was just a comment and not directed at you.

    I can understand that you know police aren't around to help you and you don't much care. I can dig it. But it's not terribly hard to understand why people would be seriously pissed off when the cops don't help them given the mission statement that police foist on the population daily. I think the country would be a better place if police would just be more up front about how little they care about you or your problems.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    I assume everyone is weak and stupid and until there is proof to the contrary. This policy serves me well. LEOs are not exempt.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Look, the only duties of cops are to make people bake gay wedding cakes and shoot unarmed brown people. It is known.

  • Finrod||

    Would killing dogs be a duty or a fringe benefit?

  • EscherEnigma||

    Fringe benefit I think. They're not obligated to or required to, but it's something they can get away with often enough. Like taking home pens from the office.

  • CatoTheChipper||

    I'm pretty sure that only the three or cops who first arrived on the scene have used the "body camera" excuse. The "resource officer" claims he thought the shooter was outside the building.

  • DarrenM||

    I think this guy was very likely in contact with his superiors in this kind of situation. It would not surprise me that he was ordered not to go in. It also would not surprise me that he was more than happy not to do so.

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    Basically, the cops as a general rule don't give a shit if someone is shooting a place up

    In most government functions, failure has no negative consequences. You get fired, you get a stupendous retirement package that you can collect while working somewhere else. You get suspended, you get your pay. Your department probably gets a budget increase because government failure is always due to a lack of funding.

    It's disgusting but inevitable...

  • JP88||

    So not running in to do his job and protect the lives of children was a cowardly act but also a smart business decision.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    Dude's a libertarian hero. He followed the letter of his contract and went for the low risk/high payout option.

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    The Dude isn't the problem. He's a symptom of the problem. Government incentives create the behavior. Libertarianism assumes people will act in their personal best interests and hopes that with no force those will overall be in the best interests of a free society.

  • Libertarian||

    "The difference is premised on the idea that Peterson put his life on the line in a high-risk profession."

    Just a little reminder:

    http://www.economicpolicyjourn.....-jobs.html

  • John||

    Judging from his actions here, I think the claim that he ever put his life on the line is dubious at best.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Other than the health risks associated with sitting on his fat ass and pounding down an excessive quantity of donuts.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    I'm pretty sure I heard that he said something along the lines of "I'm getting too old for this shit" followed by something about how many days he had left until retirement.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Less than a week, it turns out.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    So not only is he a coward, he is a trope traitor.

  • sarcasmic||

    I never get tired of those movies.

  • Hugh Akston||

    MENDOOOOOOOZAAAAAAAAAAA

  • DarrenM||

    He probably kept thinking "He won't shoot any more, so there's no reason to go in." after each death.

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    Eventually he was right, so he's got that going for him

  • DajjaI||

    Based on a handful of school shootings, they are turning schools into prisons and kids are being extorted to pay their guards to 'protect' them. Really it's up to kids to resist this, but instead they can't seem to get enough.

  • sarcasmic||

    If it saves one life...

  • Griffin3||

    One police officer's life who doesn't have to run into a school?

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    Inter-city schools already look like prisons. Didn't need mass shootings to make them that way.

    Rural, meet inter-city.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    To be fair, you typically don't hear about these kinds of shootings at schools in the ghetto. The hood rats typically have to wait until after class gets out to do their drive-bys (when they actually bother going to class).

  • silver.||

    There are metal detectors in the elementary schools in my city. And they find a gun most years. In the middle school it's multiple times a year, and by that age it is often brought with malicious intent. Pretty unsettling.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    You seem to have a remarkable understanding of "hood rats" and the "ghetto" for a yahoo from America's can't-keep-up backwaters. Did you watch a lot of Good Times and Hill Street Blues when Hee-Haw and Walker, Texas Ranger were re-runs?

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Silly Rev., you're a funny faggot!

  • Thrackmoor||

    I teach in an inner city school. It was, in no uncertain terms, designed by a prison architect.

  • Jordan||

    Where's American Derpulist to tell us about how underpaid this guy is?

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    Arthur V. Soyboy made a half-hearted attempt to stand in for him, but looks like all he had the heart for is a one-off comment followed by his boilerplate sign-off.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Ah, pensions. That single word that can turn a bunch of libertarians into screeching anarchists that want employers to welch on their promises.

    Yeah, pensions tend to be good deals and are largely a relic of when employee/employer loyalty was a thing. In the world of folks moving from job to job frequently, they're not as common as they used to be. But screwing over the folks that followed their side of the employment contract because you don't like the terms of that contract is a dick move.

  • Sevo||

    "But screwing over the folks that followed their side of the employment contract because you don't like the terms of that contract is a dick move."

    When those arrangements were negotiated between 'the employer' and the unions which fund 'the employer's' re-election campaigns, I'd think even a low-watt lefty would see a bit of conflict of interest.

  • EscherEnigma||

    I'd think even a low-watt lefty would see a bit of conflict of interest.
    If "conflict of interest" were a "get out of contract free" card, then government would make no contracts.

    Which is to say, it's devilishly difficult to remove conflict of interest. You can take efforts to mitigate it's impact, improve oversight, and such, but you can't get rid of it. As a consequence, conflicts of interest are a red flag, but they aren't a stop sign.

  • Sevo||

    "Which is to say, it's devilishly difficult to remove conflict of interest. You can take efforts to mitigate it's impact, improve oversight, and such, but you can't get rid of it."
    Actually, it's not that hard; do not negotiate with pub-sec unions.

    "As a consequence, conflicts of interest are a red flag, but they aren't a stop sign."
    Which ignores the current contracts, which are under discussion.

  • Hugh Akston||

    How about the state making promises it can't hope to keep in the first place? Dick move or no?

  • EscherEnigma||

    Sure, but that's not an honest picture and you know it. There's a reason we don't hear about "pension problems" in every place, and only in some places. Because most pull it off just fine. It's just when it goes wrong that you hear a lot more about it.

    The problem is the same as Social Security and 401(k)s. If folks just "stayed the course", everything would be dandy as candy. But 'cause folks choose to prioritize short-term gains over long-term solvency, things sometimes fall apart (think of Bush's "social security tax holiday").

  • Hugh Akston||

    More than half of the states are less than 75% funded.

    I guess you can say they "pull it off just fine" when they are able to cut the promised checks by raiding other programs or raising taxes or levying debt.

    And since it's not clear what 'folks' you're referring to in your second paragraph, Mr Obama, there's no way to really respond to you.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    HAHAHAHAHA. If folks just stayed the course on SS things would be dandy? Umm, trillions in unfunded liabilities say you are full of shit. SS has been cash flow negative since 2010 and will never go positive again. The trust fund is a fictionn but even that runs out in the 2030s.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Social Security has been around almost a hundred years. The current/future problems are self-inflicted, not inherent. This isn't complicated.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    HAHAHAHAHA. Ponzi schemes have been around even longer than that. Self-inflicted IS inherent. SS is a paygo system that relies on sufficient economic growth both due to productivity gains and population growth to keep the wheels from falling off. Precisely the sort of growth your progressive hero was strangling. It is a pyramid scheme that is guaranteed to fail. It is literally built into the law.

    Christ you're a moron.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    The problem is the same as Social Security and 401(k)s

    The Supreme Court's already ruled that no one is entitled to receive Social Security, even if they've paid into it their whole working life.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Sure.

    But that's a different topic.

  • Zeb||

    I think private employers are obliged to fulfill their pension agreements like any other contract.

    It's a bit different for government employees. Government can't be constrained by employment contracts the same way private employers can. Ultimately, the legislature needs to be able to make whatever changes to the structure of government it deems necessary, including setting compensation and getting rid of any employee for any reason. You want to work for government, that's the risk you take.

  • Brian||

    +1.

    I didn't sign a contract for a lot of government dick moves, and the response is "Hey, it's the government: get over it or move to Somalia."

    So, sometimes government has to do things outside of contracts. Lots of times. I'm not sure why "Somalia" doesn't cover it here.

  • EscherEnigma||

    "Ultimately, the legislature needs to be able to make whatever changes to the structure of government it deems necessary, including setting compensation [...]


    Which would be all find and dandy if you were talking going forward.

    But y'all seldom restrain yourselves so, and gleefully talk about denying the pensions of folks that are already or nearly retired. That'd be comparable to saying "well, you've been paying into your 401(k) for decades, but now that you're about ready to retire we're taking it all back because we deem it necessary".

    So change new contracts. But don't call for welching on decades old contracts.

  • Brian||

    I would love to, but I'm a progressive who believes government should do whatever's necessary to make what's best for everyone, so.... yeah sometimes you need to tell retired people that, no, you really don't get to retire as if you have millions of dollars of bonds stashed away.

    Sorry. We're doing democracy here. If you want nice, go be a girl scout.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    Meh, I'm mostly with you. My initial reaction to this article was: don't hate the player, hate the game.

  • silver.||

    I mostly agree in that I don't want previous employees to lose their pensions. That would be a breech of contract, and even if I think the contract is absolute shit I still don't want people to lose their pensions. The issues with pension fund insolvency has made some public employees aware that their unions have negotiated deals that are unsustainable and unfair to the taxpayers. I think in California, current pensioners are going to have to start receiving less money. As long as the hate stays focused on the unions who are the biggest contributor to the failures, I think things'll change for the better.

    What do we do about the pensioners who are going to have their fixed income reduced? I don't know. Give them a lot of forewarning to develop a more spartan lifestyle, and take more from those old enough to supplement their income with SS. Some may have to pick up part time work. It's not fair, but life bends us all over at some point. Maybe the current generation of employees and/or local residents would be willing to donate some of their pay to the pension fund.

    The unions made this bed, and everyone else is having to sleep in it. Fuck the unions.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    Yes, there's not much of a clean answer that is 'nice' for everyone, but that's true for every govt-funded liability. The same ugly solution will ultimately be applicable to SS recipients at some point, and once we get single payer? Ooh, boy.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Again you confuse a 401k (defined contribution) with pension (defined benefit). Public employee contributions don't come close to covering the costs of their pensions. And to boot government pensions are paid with future taxpayer dollars so it's actually you imposing non-consensual obligations and contracts.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Again you confuse a 401k (defined contribution) with pension (defined benefit).
    Only if you don't know the meaning of the word "comparable". Raiding either is taking money that was earned by the employee.

    Public employee contributions don't come close to covering the costs of their pensions.
    ... and? In case you forgot, the "cost" of an employee is more then what shows up in their paycheck. On top of enumerated employer-side costs (employer-side payroll taxes, employer-side insurance premiums, etc.) there's unenumerated ones, which is where the rest of the pension cost shows up. It's why an employee that makes $50k a year probably costs their employer $70k a year.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    In the public sector, that employee costs the employer $70k a year for life. (just to throw a number out).

    In a 401(k) type system, the employee only costs the employer during employment.

    And in the first scenario, the employer is me. In the second, the employer is Nabisco or Costco or Facebook.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    The 401k is an accrued asset. The pension is just a promise to pay you. In your feeble little mind you think that the emplpyee has funded the pension. They haven't. You think the fully burdened costs have funded the pension. They haven't (See PBG corporation subsidized by your tax dollars-- well my tax dollars since as a good prpg I'm sure you pay little). But even if we accept the fiction that a private corporation can accomplish this through the productive output of that company(and virtually none can hence the rise of 401ks), the government actually produces virtually no productive services that anyome is willing to voluntarily pay for, hence the laughable claims of government "investment."

    If the government can force future taxpayers to pay pensions of former gov't workers from whom they have received zero services, then it sure as hell can tell those same workers that the deal has changed; pray they don't change it further.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    "well, you've been paying into your 401(k) for decades, but now that you're about ready to retire we're taking it all back because we deem it necessary".

    A better analogy for the pub sec pension would be, "I've been paying into your 401(k) for decades, and you fucked up and got people killed, so I'm taking my money back".

  • EscherEnigma||

    Eh, I was avoiding talking about this particular case, and talking about the more general libertarian hatred of pensions.

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    Hillary Clinton Rips Trump for Inaction on Cyber Threats: 'The Russians Are Still Coming'

    Hillary Clinton is so amazing and inspirational. She was the most qualified presidential candidate ever, and now we're stuck with Drumpf because of Russian hacking.

    #StillWithHer

  • Brian||

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    13 of them, with tens of dollars in animated gifs.

  • Pat001||

    Trump lacks knowledge of cyber warfare. He didn't even know the "smash your phone with a hammer" trick, or the "wipe your server with a cloth trick." Sad!

  • Heraclitus||

    To be clear, veterans get a lot of benefits regardless of how courageous they are. It would be interesting if people started to actually questions that. Maybe if a progressive ever gets back in charge and leads us in a war effort the Republicans disagree with that question will be broached. Their support for veterans and cops is shallow and selfish.

    I have no problem with pensions. I do have problems with pensions that are too high. It happens a lot in police and teaching jobs. Many people take on overtime and promotions at the end of their careers for the sake of higher pensions. It is not clear to me that incentivising people to take on promotions of work overtime is needed. Could you not just hire more young cops? Are there really no teachers willing to take on a vice principal role? It's the same argument the private sector uses when they defend massive CEO wages. They say they need to do it to attract talent. Doesn't the same logic apply here? I think the logic is the same but that we should still question the amount of the pay. But, as long as private sector workers command exorbitant salaries we shouldn't complain when public sector organizations feel compelled to hand out large incentives.

  • Zeb||

    I would have a lot less problem with public employees being paid more if they were also easier to fire for poor performance. All we need to do to have really excellent teachers, for example, is to pay as much as talented people can get in the private sector and make it easy to fire those who don't perform. Cancelling all teacher union contracts would probably be a necessary prerequisite for that.

  • Sevo||

    "It's the same argument the private sector uses when they defend massive CEO wages. They say they need to do it to attract talent. Doesn't the same logic apply here?"

    No, it doesn't.
    Whatever private organizations pay for whatever is none of your business, unless you are a stockholder.
    The pay for these bozos is taken at gunpoint; I had no choice in the matter.
    Any attempt to conflate the two is dishonest or ignorant.

  • Brian||

    "But, as long as private sector workers command exorbitant salaries we shouldn't complain when public sector organizations feel compelled to hand out large incentives."

    Exactly. Hey, I don't shop of Amazon, and Jeff Bezos' net worth offends me.

    So, I guess I should be OK paying for retired public employees to the equivalent tune of millions in bonds.

    Sounds legit.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    You'd have a point if ptivate sector workers were paid with involuntary taxes. They're not so you don't.

    Oh and I have been raising the red flag on veteran benefits, but today's libertarian heart bleeds so the only defense spending we really criticize is capital spending and not the bloating personnel costs.

  • croaker||

    You forgot the biggest retirement benefit of all.

    The Coward of Broward also gets, courtesy of federal law, an automatic nation-wide concealed carry permit, so he gets to carry the gun he was too chicken to use forever, anywhere.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Yep, this needs to be shouted loudly.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Deputy Who Failed to Engage Parkland Shooter Could Get $52,000 Pension for Life

    you misspelled 'will get'.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Under Florida law, public pensions can be revoked for felony offenses that "breach the public trust." The specific crimes on the list are related to embezzlement, theft, bribery, and child sexual assault only.

    It's rather telling that murder, manslaughter, simple assault, assault with a deadly weapon, battery, sexual assault of an adult, and armed robbery don't make the list.

    Probably because those are all in a day's work for a Hero in Blue.

  • BBerry12||

    "..even if he pursues other work after retirement "

    Well yes, because that's how pensions work. You fulfill the requirements set by your employer and they pay you the benefit they promised. It's not a means tested welfare program. You can spend your retirement fishing, watching TV, or doing some other job. It makes me crazy when I hear people hyperventilating over someone with a second career in addition to the pension they receive.

  • DarrenM||

    This is obscene. I can only imagine how screwed workers making less than the median salary are by comparison. These government pensions are robbery.

  • Empress Trudy||

    These are the rules they operate by. If you don't like them, convince the people of Broward county to change them.

  • Curly4||

    The officer did what he was trained to do. Police are not trained to be a warrior now days but trained to wait until there is back up and negotiators to face a shooter.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Will Dudley Do-Nothing's pension be diminished by the checkoff to funnel money hack into the cop union, Tammany style? Will the next GO-Pee platform be inscribed with a dedication to that particular First Refuser™?

  • Richard Grieco||

    Instead of arguing to take away his pension (which he earned, according to his employment contract), the size of this pension and the relative impotence of his performance after 25+ years on the job should be a wake up call to voters. This guy is probably not an exception to the rule - he is probably a fairly run of the mill government professional. He's there to clock in and clock out, nothing more.

    The fact that we are paying $52K per year plus 50% health benefits for a worker of this caliber is absurd. An annuity that pays $52K for 26 years (his life expectancy, per the article) would cost you $750K on the open market (per an online annuity calculator). Meaning, IN ADDITION to the $75K per year salary, free housing on campus, etc. we're basically paying him a golden parachute of $750K for retiring.

    I would understand a golden parachute like that if we had been paying him a pittance all throughout his career - enough to cover his housing, food, etc. but no more. But we've been paying him a salary sufficient for him to reasonably be expected to cover his own retirement costs, and on top of that we're adding an asset that's worth $750K.

    This isn't some executive making big shot decisions at a high profile organization. This is an average police officer (if that). The size of this pension is absurd.

    There should be a constitutional amendment that hard caps pension payments for government workers at the federal poverty line.

  • rhkennerly||

    1. He put in 3 decades to earn that pension.
    2. He says he was doing what he was trained to do, hold the perimeter for arrival of SWAT.
    3. BCSO has yet to produce their manual outlining BCSO policy in such situations. I imagine because it says what the deputy did was policy.

    Don't drive the nails through his hands just yet.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Should the idiot get fired for deriliction of duty? Sure. But even if the whole Loberal Political Establshment wasn't trying so damned hard to sell this as anything except a government failure, that would be hard to do.it would be a long, expensive court case, and he'd probably get the pension anyway.

    We have two issues here; public service unions have been able to obtain contracts that they shouldn't have, because politicians are invertebrates, and this slob shouldn't have been where he was. The two are somewhat connected, but not enough to be a single issue.

    Break the power of the public service unions to make it so hard to fire the abysmally incompetent, and then deal with the rest. It might be satisfying to deprive this slob of his pension, but it's a,distraction from the root problems.

  • santamonica811||

    I've got no problem with the pension. None at all. He served for many years, and (till the date in question) apparently did so without serious issues. Even assuming that the man was a coward (and I've heard some reports that say he might have been on the radio and had been *ordered* to not enter the building), that does not give any legal basis for taking away what he spent a lifetime earning.

    I can see an exception for a cop who was on the take. Or who was otherwise using his official powers to improperly gain benefits. But in this situation . . . not even a close call for me.

    Gen. Flynn is a liar and a pretty awful person. But he served this country faithfully for many years (okay, he then whore'd his integrity to Russia, if we want to split hairs) and I don't think he should lose his pension for his later misdeeds. So, I'm at least consistent.

  • skunkman||

    Why wouldn't he get his pension? It was the contract, the arrangement, that he work under for years. That is his money, he has the right to get all of it. Now maybe he broke a law and should be in jail. Maybe he didn't do his job and he should be disgraced. Fine. Maybe the pension system is broken and should be fixed, but that is for the future. Of course, Social Security is a defined benefit system just like the Florida retirement system is but is less efficient because politicians have more input into it.

    I'm not sure why Reason is changing so much. It used to be a real voice of reason. But to insinuate that the government should have the right to "take" money from someone because of incompetence is, at best, totalitarian.

    Shame on Reason for putting out stories that support the theft of liberty rather than the support of liberty. Mr. Boehm, you're writing is an incompetent as the chicken SRO officer. Should your social security pension be taken too?

  • Longtobefree||

    I would suspect that everyone in the world could find 4 minutes of their career they would like to change.

  • swampwiz||

    Of course, this meme is simply the divide & conquer meme of getting angry non-public-sector employees mad at public employees who have a sweet pension deal - which was part of the deal that attracted them to a public-sector job in the first place as part of the total compensation offered. Economic theory predicts that the equilibrium (total) compensation for this position would be the same as for one of comparable duties & dangers in the private sector, so it must be concluded that the going rate for this position at a private employer offering a less robust retirement package must have been with a nominal wage/salary that was higher.

    Where the anger should be directed is at the management of public employees way back when for saddling future generations with paying for the total compensation earned for work done for previous generations.

  • hardcorps||

    If you are old enough to be drafted, and all 18 year olds must register with selective service, and carry an M 16 in a foreign country, you are old enough to carry an AR 15 at home.

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