West Bay

Warwick officers starting retirement process amid contract concerns

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) -- The Warwick Police Department could see some significant changes in the coming weeks as its collective bargaining agreement with the city remains in limbo.

According to police union president Sgt. Jed Pineau, 18 officers are starting the process to retire over concerns that changes might be made to their retirement benefits.

"I'm just hoping nobody makes - for their sake, not for my sake, their sake - a rash decision that they regret later on," Warwick Police Chief Stephen McCartney said Thursday.

The current contract ends June 30 and the City Council is not expected to take up the new agreement until July 17.

Pineau said the delay is the result of the recent shakeup at City Hall following the departure of longtime Mayor Scott Avedisian, who resigned to take the helm at RIPTA.

In a statement to Eyewitness News, Pineau said there isn't anything he wants to change in the new contract, he just needs to thoroughly review the agreement.

"If it were to not pass for some unknown reason we would potentially be heading to arbitration," he said. "In that case there’s always a possibility of change in benefits."

"I think it’s more than understandable why officers don’t want to gamble with their careers and retirement benefits when they have a family to make sure is taken care of," Pineau continued.

McCartney said no officers have actually submitted retirement forms. When asked if he anticipates widespread retirements, he simply said he's "ready for anything."

The chief also noted that his department shrank quite dramatically in size at the height of the Great Recession and they were able to make it work.

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