City Wants To Let Police Work Until 70

FORT WAYNE, IN – The retirement age for Fort Wayne city police officers is set to increase if the City Council passes an ordinance introduced Tuesday.

Sponsored by Councilman Marty Bender, R-at large, the ordinance would increase the compulsory retirement age at the Fort Wayne Police Department from 60 to 70.

“All this is doing is changing the age. It’s amending (the existing ordinance) from 60 to 70,” Bender said.

The current ordinance was adopted more than 40 years ago and “has not been uniformly enforced in recent years,” Public Safety Director Rusty York wrote in a memo supporting the change.

“As a result, several active members of the Fort Wayne Police Department are over the age of 60 and at least one member is over the age of 70,” he wrote.

The state statute currently sets the mandatory retirement age at 70 years old. York notes that a 1981 Indiana Court of Appeals case ruled that “public safety or the public welfare would not necessarily be imperiled by continued employment of police department members up to the age of 70.”

A 1981 change in state law that set new rules on the establishment of police and fire merit systems in Indiana could have changed the retirement age for Fort Wayne police at that time, York’s memo states. However, the statute allowed cities like Fort Wayne to retain their existing merit system ordinances. The City Council opted to retain its existing rules in December 1982.

Bender said various police organizations and officials support the bill, including the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, the Fraternal Order of Police, and Police Chief Garry Hamilton.

If the ordinance is passed, any city police officer 70 years of age or older will be allowed to serve through the remainder of the calendar year.

The council will discuss the proposed ordinance at its meeting April 7.

From The Journal Gazette