Okla. Police Leaders Urge Lawmakers to Override Veto of Pension Bill

May 27, 2024
Legislation that would've increased police retirement benefits was vetoed by Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, and the state's Fraternal Order of Police is pushing for legislators to give the bill new life.

Oklahoma police leaders are calling on lawmakers to override the governor's veto of a bill that would have increased police retirement benefits and retain veteran officers.

Earlier this month, Gov. Kevin Stitt vetoed SB 102, which would have increased law enforcement pension benefits in the state, KFOR-TV reports. To pay for those benefits, Oklahoma Fraternal Order of Police members and communities would contribute more to the police pension fund.

Mark Nelson, president of the Oklahoma FOP, said the state has seen a decrease in police officer applications for the past four years. He hoped better retirement benefits would be an enticement for veteran officers to stay with departments longer, and Nelson said some longtime officers were staying with agencies in anticipation for the bill's passing.

“We used to have 5,000 applications in Oklahoma City for an academy," said Nelson. "We’re down to 1,500. We get 4% of those that actually go through an academy."

Oklahoma City and Tulsa have 400 to 500 officer vacancies currently, he added. And those municipalities could see a drop of another 200 to 300 officers over the next two years.

Although he vetoed the bill, Stitt says his administration is a firm supporter of law enforcement. He shot down this particular legislation because officials couldn't make the bottom line work.

“This bill would require members and municipalities to contribute more to the retirement system,” he said.

“But those contributions wouldn’t have been enough to cover the increased benefits. The math just doesn’t add up," he added.

About the Author

Joe Vince

Joining Endeavor Business Media in 2018, Joe has worked on the company's city services publications. He began working at OFFICER.com as the assistant editor. Before starting at Endeavor, Joe had worked for a variety of print and online news outlets, including the Indianapolis Star, the South Bend Tribune, Reddit and Patch.com.

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