Garcetti proposes changes to DROP program to stop system abuse

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The DROP program was intended to keep experienced personnel at the LAPD, but after reports that some officers were collecting benefits and then going on sick leave, Mayor Eric Garcetti decided it was time for a change.

"It did not make sense that people could both take medical leave and be paid at the same time it's either or," Garcetti said.

So how does it work? Officers sign up for the DROP plans and for five years they can collect a salary and pension savings, almost doubling their salary. Some then went on injury leave. The adjustments require that enrollees be on active duty to be eligible.

"If you get hurt, make no mistake they will get what they're entitled to for the medical leave, but when people are on medical leave and abusing that system, we will go after anybody who makes that system something unlawful for the rest," Garcetti said.

Chief Michel Moore used the DROP plan five years ago and collected a lump sum retirement payment of $1.27 million from the city. He was then re-hired.

"Look, we would've had to pay retirement and salary for Michel Moore so we get two-for-one, so to me that's well worth spending," Garcetti said.

The police union said the program now will stop any abuses. Jaretta Sandoz, with the Los Angeles Police Protective League, said it will be more transparent.

"It ensures that the process and the DROP remains as a benefit to police and fire and ensures that there's more transparency and there's no abuses to the system," she said.

The new requirements have to be approved by the city council. If approved, the changes are scheduled to go into effect early next year.
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