New positions added to OPERS Law Enforcement Division by H.B. 520
Amended Sub. H.B. 520 was passed by the Ohio Legislature last year and signed by Governor Kasich Jan. 4. Included in the legislation was the addition of several public employee classifications to the OPERS Law Enforcement (LE) and Public Safety (PS) divisions.
The classifications affected by the changes implemented in Sub. H.B. 520 include OPERS members who have completed peace officer training, are employed full-time in any of the following positions (as defined in the Act), and whose primary duties meet the statutory eligibility standard. The five classifications include:
- Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation investigators
- Casino Control Commission gaming agents
- Department of Taxation investigators
- Special police officers for port authorities
- Special police officers for municipal airports
Depending on when the member became employed in one of these classifications will determine whether the member is automatically included in the LE or PS division or must make an election to be included for service after the election is made.
A future member who is employed in any of the above positions on or after the Act’s effective date (April 6) will be automatically included in the LE or PS division – depending on their primary duties. If a member is already employed in one of the positions on the Act’s effective date, they will have the option to elect to participate prospectively in the LE or PS division (rather than regular OPERS). For those eligible to make an election, it must be within 90 days of April 6th on a form provided by OPERS. This election, once made, will apply only to future service and is irrevocable.
If a member is eligible to make an election, OPERS’ staff is ready to assist them in making this important decision. It is highly recommended that eligible members contact OPERS at 1-800-222-PERS (7377) and request a personalized counseling session, by phone or in person. While OPERS staff are not permitted to advise members whether or not to make an election, they stand ready to provide all the information needed to make an informed decision.