Pension Program Allows Los Angeles Police to Miss Years of Work, Collect Twice the Pay

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When Capt. Tia Morris turned 50, after about three decades in the Los Angeles Police Department, she became eligible to retire with nearly 90% of her salary.

Recruits attend their graduation ceremony at Los Angeles Police Department Headquarters on July 8, 2016. (Credit: Frederic J. Brown / AFP / Getty Images)

Recruits attend their graduation ceremony at Los Angeles Police Department Headquarters on July 8, 2016. (Credit: Frederic J. Brown / AFP / Getty Images)

But like many cops and firefighters in her position, the decision to keep working was a financial no-brainer, thanks to a program that allowed her to nearly double her pay by keeping her salary while also collecting her pension.

A month after Morris entered the program, her husband, a detective, joined too. Their combined income for four years in the Deferred Retirement Option Plan was just shy of $2 million, city payroll records show.

But the city didn’t benefit much from the Morrises’ experience: They both filed claims for carpal tunnel syndrome and other cumulative ailments about halfway through the program. She spent nearly two years on disability and sick leave; he missed more than two years, according to a Los Angeles Times analysis of city payroll data.

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