Deputy Who Failed to Engage Florida Shooter Could Get $52,000 Pension for Life

February 28, 2018 Updated: February 28, 2018

The sheriff’s deputy who did not engage the school shooter in Florida earlier this month could end up with a $52,000 per year pension for life.

Scot Peterson was on duty when a shooter opened fire on Feb. 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

However, the armed school resource officer failed to enter the school to try to find the shooter and stop him.

Peterson was suspended while an investigation went forward. But shortly after he was suspended, Peterson resigned. Several days later, he said through his lawyer that he’s not a coward.

The Sun-Sentinel reported that Peterson’s annual base salary was $75,673 in 2016, citing Broward County Sheriff’s Office records.

Overtime and other compensation pushed Peterson’s salary to $101,013 that year.

Based on the current pension levels for public employees in the county, he’s likely to receive a pension of at least $52,000, reported Reason. The actual total is potentially close to $70,000 per year.

In addition, half of Peterson’s premiums will be covered by taxpayers.

According to Health Data, the current life expectancy in Broward County is about 78 years.

If the 54-year-old lives that long, he would collect more than $1.24 million from Florida’s public pension system.

“Understanding Peterson’s specific situation helps shed light on the broader implications of public retirement costs in Florida and around the country. An employee like Peterson, who was by all accounts a typical deputy in the sprawling Broward County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) before his unfortunate rise to national prominence this month, is afforded a retirement package that kicks in at age 52 and allows him to collect a pension even if he pursues other work after his retirement It’s vastly different from what most private sector workers can expect to receive. The difference is premised on the idea that Peterson put his life on the line in a high-risk profession,” according to Reason.

“The payouts are virtually guaranteed, regardless of performance in the line of duty. Under state law, pensions can be forfeited only after a conviction for a narrowly defined list of crimes.”

Those crimes are only those related to embezzlement, theft, bribery, and child sexual assault.

“At the end of the day, there’s really nothing they can do to take those benefits,” said Jim Bell, president of the union that represents members of the BCSO, “because he’s already resigned.”


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