Opinion

Readers React: ‘Reforming’ DROP isn’t enough. City Hall should debate whether it needs the program at all

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Michel Moore, seen on June 26 after being sworn in as LAPD chief, briefly retired from the force and received a $1.27-million DROP payout before Mayor Eric Garcetti tapped him to head the Police Department.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: The recent “reform” to Los Angeles’ Deferred Retirement Option Plan is little more than the closing of a loophole.

Sworn employees who are on injury leave for long periods of time should never have been able to collect their full salary and pension while out in the first place. It was necessary that City Council took this action, but don’t call this reform.

Los Angeles has spent more than $1.7 billion on DROP, and no elected official has provided any proof that it has been a worthwhile expense. The best explanation the mayor can give is that he “continues to believe” that DROP is a valuable program. He provides no data and delves no deeper into the matter.

The money spent on DROP could be used to repair our streets, solve homelessness or even hire more police officers. It is time for our elected officials to start asking the tough questions instead of avoiding real reform by settling for nominal tweaks.

Anything less than a robust discussion about the value of DROP is simply window dressing.

Ashley T. Hall, Los Angeles

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To the editor: Now that police officers and firefighters participating in DROP cannot go on disability and still receive their early pension benefit, it will be interesting to see how many of them take injury leave compared to the number before.

If there is a significant decline, that ought to indicate if there was any fraud taking place.

Supposedly, the program was implemented to retain experienced staff. However, except for those about to retire when the program was first implemented, there is no evidence to show that employees stay any longer because of DROP.

Let’s say there is someone who has always planned on retiring at age 60. That person enrolls in DROP at 55 and then retires at 60. DROP would not have caused this person to work any longer than planned.

Rick Deguchi, Covina

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