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DROP Reform Does Not Violate Constitution

The Dallas Police and Fire Pension System is a public pension fund that provides comprehensive retirement, death, and disability benefits for approximately 9,300 active and retired City of Dallas police officers, firefighters, and their qualified dependents. Under the retirement plan, individuals become members of the pension system once they commence training at the police or firefighter academy. The member and the City contribute to the member’s account during the…

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Officer Forfeits Pension After Conviction For Obstruction

Michael Lalley was a police sergeant in Newark, New Jersey. In early 2010, he was approached by agents of the FBI seeking his cooperation with an investigation of fellow members of the Department. Lalley declined to cooperate in the investigation. Unbeknownst to him, during the same time period the FBI was also investigating his sexual relations with M.H., who was then 17 years old, and other minors Lalley encountered…

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Officer’s Tampering Conviction Does Not Result In Pension Forfeiture

Thomas Ungard was employed by the City of Williamsport, Pennsylvania as a police officer from 1993 until he was suspended in 2006 and discharged in 2014. During his tenure, Ungard also served as a member and coordinator of the Lycoming County Drug Task Force, which frequently obtained vehicles through criminal and civil forfeiture proceedings. Membership on the Task Force is voluntary, with work done through the District Attorney’s Office….

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Disability Pension Subject To Division In Divorce

Adrian and Brooke Aurs were married in July 2007. At all times during the parties’ marriage, Adrian was employed as a police officer with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) and was a member of the 1977 Police Officers’ and Firefighters’ Pension and Disability Fund (1977 Fund). Brooke filed for divorce in November 2015. Adrian was placed on unpaid suspension starting July 30, 2016, following a violent incident at…

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Officer Loses Pension On Conviction For Fraud

Joseph Deignan was a police officer with the Town of Watertown, Massachusetts. Under a Massachusetts statute, members of the state retirement system lose their pensions “after final conviction of a criminal offense involving violation of the laws applicable to his office or position.” Under a series of cases, Massachusetts courts have ruled that for pension forfeiture to occur, there must be a direct link between the criminal offense and…

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DROP Benefits Can Be Prospectively Reduced

The Dallas Police and Fire Pension System (DROP) provides comprehensive retirement, death, and disability benefits for some 9,300 Dallas police officers, firefighters, pensioners, and qualified survivors. Officers and firefighters automatically become System members when they enter the training academy. While in active service, they and the City of Dallas contribute to their accounts. A member reaching retirement age can leave active service and begin drawing a monthly annuity based…

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Officers’ Convictions Do Not Result In Pension Forfeiture

A Massachusetts statute calls for forfeiture of an officer’s pension “after final conviction of a criminal offense involving violation of the laws applicable to his office or position.” Two such cases were recently put before the state’s highest court. John Swallow was a police sergeant for the Massachusetts town of Manchester-by-the-Sea. Following a string of personal tragedies in 2011 and 2012, Swallow began drinking heavily and struggled with significant…

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Retiree Can Forfeit Pension For Conviction Of Theft

Jon Wilmot began work as a firefighter with the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District in California in 1985. By 2012, he had risen to the rank of captain. During this period, he was a member of the retirement program established by Contra Costa County, which is administered by the Board of Retirement of the Contra Costa County Employees’ Retirement Association. Wilmot’s last day on the job was December…

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