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Union presses Hochul to sign bill granting 20-year retirement to range of state police officers

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

The Police Benevolent Association (PBA) of New York State is intensifying its call for Governor Kathy Hochul to sign a bill that would enable over 1,000 members, including police officers affiliated with SUNY, the Department of Environmental Conservation, Parks Recreation & Historic Preservation, and Forest Rangers, to retire after 20 years of service and receive pension benefits.

This bill, which has consistently received bipartisan legislative support, aims to align their retirement benefits with other law enforcement agencies and address recruitment challenges, particularly in diversifying their ranks.

Currently, these officers are eligible for pension benefits after 25 years. Nancy Ganswindt, the PBA’s vice president, highlighted the bill’s potential to enhance recruitment and retention of women in these law enforcement roles. She emphasized the importance of showing that law enforcement is a viable career path for women and diverse individuals, providing both community service and financial security. The PBA’s goal is to have 30 percent of these positions filled by women by 2030.

The repeated legislative support for this bill is underscored by James McCartney, the PBA president, who noted its near-unanimous passage for the fourth consecutive year. The bill has garnered backing from environmental groups, state agency commissioners, and fellow law enforcement agencies. Despite concerns about budgetary impacts, there has been no significant opposition, as stakeholders recognize the long-term savings by reducing the turnover rate of officers. Governor Hochul, who vetoed the bill last year citing budgetary constraints and the need for collective bargaining, is yet to include the required funding in the state budget, leaving the negotiation of these benefits at a standstill.