DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The leader of the largest police group who represents 80% of the department’s officers is turning in his badge.
Ron Pinkston, the President of the Dallas Police Association says he’s worried about the pension system that many say is on the brink of failure.
Sources say the Dallas Police and Fire Pension Board could, as soon as next month, freeze all money from being moved out of the failing fund, causing a mass exodus before that happens.
“I’ve had several calls saying, hey do I need to leave now? I don’t know anything they don’t,” Pinkston says. But his concern about the stability of the city’s police and fire pension have reached a point where he needs to go.
“I look at what is happening within our police department and what the future looks like for the next couple of years and it doesn’t look rosy.” says Pinkston.
Dallas Police Chief David Brown recently moved up his retirement date and Pinkston will retire the same week.
There’s worry among veteran officers that the pension board will soon vote to prevent retirees from moving their savings from the struggling fund into 401ks or other investments.
Pinkston comments, “I’d lie if it told you it didn’t playing in my decision-making, it did. I see the depleted numbers and I know the chances of another officer getting killed in the line of duty increase as our numbers go down. I don’t want to be around when that happens.”
The events of July 7th still disturb Pinkston and he worries that more officers will at risk now that the department has shrunk to 3,350, its lowest level since 2007.
His interim successor, Detective Frederick Frazier, says only raising pay and retaining officers can save the pension which has a billion-dollar shortfall.
Frazier says, “Everyone feels there’s a huge threat out there with the doom and gloom of pension issues, but I think if everybody steps back a second and starts doing some homework, that money has to be sustainable, not for just this generation but the next and you can’t do that when you just keep losing officers.”
Pinkston says he only wishes he could have stayed to see the issues he fought for resolved. “I think we’ve already hit the edge of the cliff I think we need to fight not to fall over.”
It’s been reported it will take about 600 million from the city to bailout the pension fund.
If not, it could be broke by 2030.
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