HONOLULU (KHON2) — There is a push coming from a Maui County Councilmember to improve the recruitment of police officers by removing the minimum age of 55 for retirement, instead only taking years of service into account. 

It is a new tool that is being proposed to recruit and retain police officers introduced by Maui County Councilmember Tamara Paltin, a resolution asking the Hawaii State Legislature to remove the minimum of 55 for officers to retire and maintain the minimum 25 years of service. 

Download the free KHON2 app for iOS or Android to stay informed on the latest news

Paltin said, “If this would pass, it would be regardless of age. So say start at 25, then you could retire at 50. Instead of waiting that extra five years.”

The resolution was approved into the 2023 Maui County Council legislative package. 

The State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers President Robert Cavaco supports the bill and said the union is working on other pieces of legislation for next year’s legislative session. 

Cavaco said, “We currently at the union are working on a couple of bills that our attorneys are trying to write also to introduce this next session to try and revert back to eliminate the age requirement for our officers to retire.”

Although the road ahead for this resolution is a long one and could be a bumpy one, too. 

Prior to 2012, officers and firefighters could retire after 25 years of service regardless of age. But 10 years ago, state lawmakers passed changes to the employees’ retirement system to avoid a crisis, with billions of dollars in unfunded liability on the line. 

Some of the changes placed a moratorium on benefit enhancements, including the lowering of the retirement age. 

The Hawaii Fire Fighters Association President Bobby Lee said that has been an obstacle when trying to advocate for changes in retirement plans. 

Lee said, “I think if you just look at trying to justify going back to what the system was before, our firefighters should be first in line. But again, we do understand the issues surrounding keeping the retirement system solvent.”

Meanwhile, Paltin said she was not expecting the amount of support the resolution’s received so far. She is hopeful it will continue to gain momentum as the 2023 legislative session approaches. 

Check out what’s going on around the nation on our National News page

Paltin said, “I thought it was a little bit of a long shot when I proposed it. But you know, I think with the support that it has seen, it could have a chance at becoming amended state law.”