Ozark Police Benefits

If the new retirement policy isn't changed, some Ozark police officers say they may be retiring early. That's bad news from an already low-staffed police force.

Around the middle of May, Ozark city leaders changed the health insurance retirement policy in order to benefit the city later.

But some say that plan is now backfiring because some of the city's high ranking police officers will choose to retire early.

Marilyn Tamplin, president of Ozark’s city council, says she doesn't regret many decisions she's made while serving Ozark.

She says Ozark’s council should admit they were wrong and re-think the new retirement insurance plan approved last may.

"My conscience started bothering me. That, yeah, the decision may have to be made in a few years, but right now I'd like to do everything I can keep these employees here," said Tamplin.

After the council approved the new plan, the change had potential to cut health benefits for some retirees by nearly half.

And that made some Ozark police officers say they had no reason to stay in the department.

Some Ozark officers told News 4 that it's hard to keep well-trained and well-qualified officers. That's because surrounding communities pay more.

They say this old retirement insurance plan gave them something to keep their senior officers but now some say if it changes. They won't have much to offer to their experienced workers."

"Just last year, I was really close to leaving. Unfortunately, that's what a lot of us face, a lot of us younger officers with the police force," said Jessie Kellum of Ozark PD.

"Do whatever you need to do to change the decision that you made because it's morally wrong to promise then take away," said Jim Hill of Ozark PD Chaplin.

Tamplin is hoping the city will approve grand-fathering in the officers that were hired on before the change.

Those officers would remain under the old retirement health benefit plan.

The city council president says she thinks the change will pass the city council's vote. It is set to vote for in their next meeting.