Buyout Plan Costing Police Department Nearly 50 Officers
by Mark Bellinger
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Metro Police Department is about to lose nearly 50 police officers. That's because most of them are taking the city's buyout incentive offer to retire early.
When Dezmond Hughes and 80 other recruits graduate from the Metro Police Training Academy, they will have some big shoes to fill. "Class is really getting together and coming along, trying to do the best we can," said Hughes.
These recruits will replace nearly 50 sworn officers who will be retiring early. The retirees will be gone March first. Deputy Chief Louise Kelton took the buyout as she headed off to become the next U.S. Marshal for Middle Tennessee. She's been with the department since being a recruit back in the 1970's.
Mayor Karl Dean's retirement buyout plan will cost the police department 49 experienced sworn officers. Kelton told us it's hard to leave something you love. "All I ever wanted to be was a police officer. I love people. I honestly love people."
Besides officers, the police department will also lose 13 civilians. Some of them have big jobs like analyzing fingerprints. A couple of them have agreed to stay on part-time until the department can train their replacements.
Chief Anderson says the biggest impact will be officers who patrol the streets, but he promises the streets will be safe. "We've always got a plan, and we'll always do what is necessary to make sure we have adequate staffing and people in the right places at the right time.
Part of the plan starts in the Spring. Technically, this class of recruits addresses a present shortage brought on by natural attrition. Another class beginning in the Spring targets the positions left open by the retirees accepting the buyout.
The officers who chose to retire and accept the buyout plan are receiving $700 for every year of service. Many of them have 30 years or more of service.