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CHICAGO—Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics do not support the perception that police officers have very high-risk jobs, or that there is a “war on cops,” according to Jim Tobin, President of Taxpayers United of America.
“Police-organization bureaucrats repeatedly state that there is a ‘war on cops’ in order to justify police salaries and the ability in some municipalities for cops to retire at an unusually young age, often in their fifties,” said Tobin. “By retiring earlier than most workers, police officers can literally rake in millions of dollars in pension benefits over a normal lifetime.”
“In fact, the number of on-the-job police fatalities has dropped nearly 50 percent in the last 20 years, even as the total number of cops has doubled. And, by the way, the leading cause of death for cops is car accidents, not violence.”
“Figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics prove that police work is not one of the top five or even top ten most hazardous jobs. Police officer fatalities and reported injuries place them at number 12. Eleven jobs are more hazardous, number one being Fishermen, with 129 fatalities per 100,000 workers. The average annual salary of a fisherman is only $27,950 and does not include a pension. The second most hazardous job is that of logger, with 116 fatalities per 100,000 workers. The average annual salary of a logger is $30,360 with no pension benefits. Farmers and ranchers have 40 fatalities per 100,000 workers and earn about $49,140 per year. Sanitation workers have 37 fatalities per 100,000 workers and earn $32,790 per year. Number 12 on the list is police officers, with 16 fatalities per 100,000 workers. The national average annual wage for police is $51,410.”
“Not only are police officers paid well to work, but they are paid extremely well not to work! Retiring in their fifties with as much as 80% of their pay and COLA (cost of living adjustment), they make more after about 10 years of retirement than they did when they were actively working. Their annual pension actually doubles after 24 years of a 3% compounded COLA.”
“Another false justification of excessive pension benefits is that police officers die at a much younger age. The fact is that police officers live as long as non-police officers according to CALPERS (California Public Employee Retirement System) actuarial data.”
“Police protection is vital to a safe society, and we should be happy that is has become so much safer in the past 20 years. But at the same time, taxpayers should not be bombarded by false data from police-organization bureaucrats with emotion-based propaganda in order to justify higher-than-justified salaries or pension policies that include unusually early retirement.”
Bureau of Labor Statistics
Reason, Apr. 26, 2011