Pensions Could Cause Law Officer Shortage

8-8-04- The comptroller for the Department of Public Safety says a deferred retirement program could create a manpower shortage for the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Highway Patrol Captain Jerry Simpson says more than ten percent
of the patrol's troopers are planning to retire in 2006 or 2007.

The retirement program allows law enforcement officers and firefighters to continue working for up to five years, then take a
lump sum of up to 200 thousand dollars at retirement.

Simpson says the patrol will probably ask lawmakers to authorize
academies to train new troopers to fill the vacancies.

Officials say the retirement plan won't affect police officers and firefighters the same way as the highway patrol.