Pennsylvania State Representative Chelsa Wagner (D-Brookline) has introduced the Return to Service Act (House Bill 18) that would allow retired police officers return to part-time duty without losing their pension benefits.
Wagner says currently under state law, if you receive a pension within the state from a municipal government, you aren’t eligible to receive any kind of government pay without sacrificing your pension.
She says this legislation will help put more officers on the streets by having retired part-time officers doing work such as traffic control, community relations, office work and monitoring security cameras.
Wagner says some local municipalities have raised questions and concerns regarding full-time officers losing jobs or work. However, she says there are certainly ways to work around that. There's also the issue of local municipalities not having enough money to hire part-time cops. Wagner believes more cops are needed on the streets, and that municipalities can afford to hire part-time officers, which would free up the full-timers for street duty. She says this has been done in some big cities such as Houston, and it has been very successful.
She believes the legislation will be passed because under Act 47, or financial distress, which the city of Pittsburgh is still under, there are limitations on what can be done with a budget, so this will give the community better police protection without hiring new full-time officers. She says the next steps are to hold a committee hearing, a committee vote, and if that is successful, there will be a full House floor vote.