PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — The Presque Isle Police Division is absolutely staffed for the primary time in about 5 years, in line with town’s police chief.
The town enrolled its police division within the Maine Public Staff Retirement System in 2021, and since then has been efficiently retaining present employees and attracting certified candidates to vacancies.
There are 19 sworn law enforcement officials within the division on the brand new plan. Police Chief Laurie Kelly, the deputy chief and 4 dispatchers have entry to the identical retirement program because the officers, which is the one police division within the state that’s structured this manner, in line with Kelly.
Presque Isle is a brilliant spot in a hiring local weather by which many legislation enforcement departments across the state have a number of vacancies they can not appear to fill.
Presque Isle has traditionally proven that if folks have a retirement system in place, they might full their entire profession within the metropolis, Kelly mentioned.
A couple of officers proceed to be on the previous system as a result of it’s tougher to decide out of it, however current hires are signing up within the new retirement system. The brand new system allowed Presque Isle to maintain two officers who have been planning to switch to different departments within the state. Officers in search of higher retirement choices joined the Presque Isle police pressure after the brand new program was carried out.
“We’re as much as employees for the primary time perhaps since 2018,” Kelly mentioned.
The town pays into the retirement fund and the extra officers enrolled the much less town contributes. The plan requires 25 years of service earlier than advantages are paid out and there’s no age restrict to affix.
Earlier than Presque Isle switched to the state plan, town was a coaching floor for law enforcement officials who had no incentive to remain and would go to different departments.
Hiring replacements is a laborious course of that entails a number of steps together with bodily and medical health checks and completion of an 18-week coaching program on the Maine Felony Justice Academy in Vassalboro, so dropping good candidates after going by means of it’s expensive.
“So [Maine PERS] has at all times existed; it’s simply completely different municipalities that both decide into it or not,” Kelly mentioned. “When town went again to it, we did get lots of people that got here again.”
After the 25 years of service is stuffed, a member of the police pressure can keep on or pursue a distinct curiosity in retirement, Kelly mentioned.
Nobody within the present police division for town has refused the state retirement advantages, Kelly mentioned.
Police staff can go to different departments in Maine that additionally provide state retirement advantages with out having to decide out. They’ll switch it.
Kelly hopes the retirement system will preserve new hires within the police division for his or her full 25 years they should earn their advantages.