Springfield Mayor Mike Houston cast the deciding vote against a proposal to raise the maximum age for all new police officers to 45 from the current 35.
Police Chief Kenny Winslow says he wouldn’t support the measure unless a mandatory retirement age of 60 was implemented.
“It’s not the 45 year old guy I’m worried about coming on, it’s the 65, 70 year old,” said Winslow. “That’s a long time in a squad car, unless they advance in the ranks.”
Last minute union concerns squashed that — the mayor noted such a provision has to be collectively bargained.
Winslow says patrol work is a “young man’s game,” and Ward 7 Alderman Joe McMenamin agrees.
“Younger bodies can endure harsh physical situation more easily than younger bodies,” said McMenamin. “When younger bodies go through harsh physical activity, they heal faster.”
The proposal came forth as a way to “level the playing field.” State law allows military veterans to become officers up to age 45. McMenamin says that law is there for a reason.
“They leave their communities for 10 years, 12 years, 14 years, and they cut themselves off from many job opportunities.”