Beshear signs bill to re-employ retired Lexington police officers

Lexington, Ky.–Governor Andy Beshear joined Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton and other city officials to sign three pieces of legislation aimed at increasing public safety and supporting law enforcement on Friday. The new laws, which received bipartisan support in the state legislature, will expand the eligibility of potential peace officers, allow the re-employment of retired police officers, and create consistency in expectations for school resource officers in public and private schools.

Senate Bill 89 will allow the legislative body of an urban-county government such as Lexington to re-employ individuals as police officers who have retired from the Police and Fire Retirement Fund. This bill was put forward to help reduce the existing officer shortage. The legislation was well-received by local officials, according to a news release from the Governor’s office. Lexington’s police department is currently understaffed by 100 officers with only 7 new recruits in the police academy class.

House Bill 380 expands the eligibility of potential peace officers to include individuals who have not yet turned 21 years old at the time of basic training. Previously, all certified peace officers in Kentucky had to be at least 21 at the time of certification. However, this legislation allows individuals to begin their basic training while they are still 20 years old, as long as they will have reached the required age of 21 by the time certification occurs. This new legislation aims to reduce the officer shortage across the state, particularly in Louisville.

The third piece of legislation, House Bill 540, expands the definitions related to the use of school resource officers (SROs) to apply to private or parochial schools as well as public schools. This creates consistency of expectations across different types of schools and builds on legislation that Governor Beshear signed last year, which required all public schools to have a school resource officer per campus as funding and personnel allowed.

Photo: Governor Andy Beshear signs legislation in Lexington Friday as city officials look on. (LexTV)