Since 1977, the
Chesterton Police Department has had an established mandatory retirement age
The CPD is the only
municipal department in Chesterton to have any mandatory retirement
age and one of only three PDs in Porter County to have one. The other
two--the Portage Police Department and the Indiana State Police--have both
set their retirement age at 65.
The problem, if
you’re a 60-year-old ex-CPD copper forced onto the street: for the next five
years, until you hit the Medicare age of 65, you have to pony up for your
own health insurance. Or just go without.
CPD officers have retired within the last four years: Sgt. Fred Shivalec in
May 2010, at age 58; Capt. George Nelson in April 2012, at 59; and Lt. Dave
Adkins in March 2013, at 58.
and Adkins, however, may be the last CPD officers ever to face this
potential predicament, if the Town Council were to act on the Police
Commission’s recommendation to raise the department’s mandatory retirement
age to 65.
Kroft and Alex Rodriguez voted in favor of that recommendation at the
commission’s meeting on Wednesday. The commission currently has one seat
open, with the recent resignation of Craig Stafford.
Police Chief Dave
Cincoski--himself 45 and in no imminent danger of being forced into
retirement--brought the issue of a older mandatory retirement age to the
commission in the form of a three-page memo. In that memo Cincoski notes
that the Town Council codified the current mandatory age in an ordinance
enacted in 1977, and that there is nothing in the ordinance itself nor any
documents in CPD files to indicate what council members may have been
thinking when they set that age at 60.
In any case,
Cincoski makes his case for a higher retirement age on the following
* No other Town of
Chesterton municipal department has a mandatory retirement age, he states,
and a police officer’s job “is no less or more physically demanding than” a
firefighter’s or a Street Department laborer’s. Those departments’ “less
restrictive requirements should be considered for Police Department
* State statue sets
a mandatory retirement age for sworn officers at 70.
* “If health
issues, or the potential for them, were ever cited back in 1977, I would
offer that advances in medical technology in the last 37 years offer
healthier and longer life spans for most individuals,” Cincoski states.
* “Presently, at
60, an officer would have to retire and find alternate employment with
insurance benefits, pay for insurance out of retirement pension funds, or
risk living without insurance until reaching the age of qualification for
Medicare,” Cincoski states. He adds, “At present-day rates, a retiring
police officer earns a pension of $21,330 after 20 years of service.
Present-day insurance rates for medical coverage range from $800 to $1,600
per month, nearly to more than half a retiree’s pension.”
* “The years of
experience of a veteran employee are an asset to any department,” Cincoski
* There are no CPD
officers “near or at the present mandatory retirement age,” Cincoski
concludes, “nor is this request made on behalf of any single officer.”
his support for a higher mandatory retirement age immediately. Kroft, while
noting that there are “certain valid reasons for the age restriction,” said
that the “inequity” which it actually creates--the “gap in
coverage”--outweighs those reasons.
Rodriguez and Kroft
then voted to endorse a new mandatory retirement age of 65.
now goes before the Town Council.