The most lucrative perk of the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System isn’t retired yet, but it is taking some time off.
Beginning April 1, police officers and firefighters no longer can enter the Deferred Retirement Option Plan, known as DROP. The plan is meant to keep officers and firefighters with more than 20 years of experience from retiring too young by redirecting their pension earnings to an account that guarantees a high annual interest rate.
Those in the system by that date will remain there and continue reaping the rewards. The indefinite suspension for new entrants will begin because DROP is becoming too expensive, and a court recently threw out the pension board’s plan to fix it.
The pension board voted to appeal the court’s decision and to cut off new DROP entries in the meantime. But as board members and city officials look for alternatives, officers and pension officials say halting DROP could deal a blow to the city’s ability to retain and recruit officers and firefighters.
Dallas Police Association president Ron Pinkston told the Dallas Morning News the result could be “a pension system that is just adequate.”