Louisiana Cuts Injured Officers' Pensions In Half, Demands Repayment

Injured former law enforcement officers learned on Wednesday that their pensions would be cut in half.

New Orleans, LA – Former law enforcement officers across Louisiana who were critically injured in the line of duty received a blow on Wednesday, when they learned their disability pensions were being slashed in half, and that they would be forced to repay hundreds of thousands of dollars in funds already received.

"Unfortunately, we have to follow the law, and in following the law, sometimes it doesn't include deserving people,” said Donald Villere, Board of Trustees member for the Municipal Police Employee’s Retirement System (MPERS), according to WVUE.

The law pertaining to disability pensions was rewritten in 2003, which made full pension eligibility available to officers who lost the use of a limb after July 1, 2003.

In cases prior to that date, officers may or may not qualify for 100 percent pension, even if they were initially granted it.

“We're not talking about if someone is entitled to disability or not. It’s the 100 percent benefit and whether the accident occurred on or after July 1st, 2003,” MPERS executive director and general council Benjamin Huxen said at the meeting.

"Are you kidding me? You guys represent me,” former New Orleans Police Officer Chris Ahner told the board, as he pleaded to retain the pension he deserved. “You are forgetting that we are people. Not only are we people, but we are public servants who are sworn to protect you.”

“You guys took the 11 or so of the most severely injured in the state of Louisiana and you took out the sickles and you whacked the heads off on over half of them,” Officer Ahner told the board.

Officer Ahner was just 33 years old when he was hit by a drunk driver in the line of duty.

"I got hit by a car going 70 miles per hour, I broke my neck, my hips have been fractured, both of my legs nearly ripped completely off,” he told the board.

He was hospitalized for months, and had to force himself to learn to walk again.

The MPERS initially assured him he would receive a full disability pension for life – an assurance they rescinded in March.

Instead, the board voted to give Officer Ahner just 40 percent of his pension, and ordered him to pay back nearly $250,000 in funds he has received over the years.

At least one board member, Larry Reech, openly disagreed with the decision to slash the officers’ pensions.

"We had attorneys look at the law. He was disabled under the 100 percent. We gave it to him,” Reech explained. “Eighteen years later, we're going back and he's had what? A hundred surgeries?”

“These are the kinds of cases [where] you leave them alone,” Reech argued. “You leave those guys alone, for Christ's sake.”

Comments (22)
No. 1-22
JeffD62
JeffD62

What a bunch of CRAP! How about cutting the board members (past & present) pensions. See how they like it! I would hope that every Law Enforcement Officer, every FOP, and PBA associations across the country, who reads this, calls the state of Louisiana reps and complains about this! I know I will. It's about time that we stick together! If it can happen there, it can happen anywhere!

LEO0301
LEO0301

Current police officers need to keep this in mind when doing your job. You will be discarded like old waste if you are injured on the job and can't do the work any longer. I would like to say I'm surprised by this ruling but anymore I've learned to expect this kind of treatment of our officers.

DaChief 1
DaChief 1

Scum of the Earth !! Their $250.00 per hour attorneys should have had this pension set up per the law when it was passed !! Grandfather or sue the shit out of the state and pension board !!

LumberFlip
LumberFlip

Pure unadulterated Karma.

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

That's rough. Hopefully they've been working on their IRAs or 401Ks to protect themselves.

If i were them, I'd invest in some bootstraps.