Code of the District of Columbia

§ 5–712. Optional retirement.

(a) Any member who first becomes employed on or after the first day of the first pay period that begins after October 29, 1996, and who completes 25 years of service, and gives at least 60 days written advanced notice to his department stating his intention to retire and stating the date of which he will retire, may voluntarily retire from the service and shall be entitled to an annuity computed at a rate of 2.5% of the member’s average pay times the number of years of the member’s creditable service; provided that such notice requirement may be waived by the department head when, in his opinion, circumstances justify such waiver; provided further, that whenever the Mayor shall determine that there exists an emergency which is likely to endanger the safety of the public and that the public safety cannot be adequately protected except by suspending the retirement provisions of this subsection, then the Mayor shall be authorized, upon notice to the District of Columbia Retirement Board, to suspend the retirement provisions of this subsection in any 1 or more of the departments under his jurisdiction until such time as, in the opinion of the Mayor, public safety can be adequately protected without such suspension. Any member who is an officer or member of the Metropolitan Police force or the Fire Department of the District of Columbia and first becomes such a member after the end of the 90-day period beginning on November 17, 1979, and who completes 25 years of police or fire service and attains the age of 50 years and any other member (other than a member who is an officer or member of the Metropolitan Police force or the Fire Department of the District of Columbia who first becomes such a member after the end of such 90-day period) who completes 20 years of police or fire service may, after giving at least 60 days written advance notice to his department head stating his intention to retire and stating the date on which he will retire, voluntarily retire from the service and shall be entitled to an annuity computed at the rate of 2.5% of his average pay for each year of service; except that the rate of 3% of his average pay shall be used to compute each year’s police or fire service in excess of:

(1) Twenty-five years, in the case of a member who becomes a member after the end of such 90-day period; or

(2) Twenty years, in the case of any other member; provided that such notice requirement may be waived by the department head when, in his opinion, circumstances justify such waiver; provided further, that whenever the Mayor or the Chief of the United States Secret Service Uniformed Division, or the Chief of the United States Park Police force, or the Chief of the United States Secret Service Division shall determine that there exists an emergency which is likely to endanger the safety of the public and that the public safety cannot be adequately protected except by suspending the retirement provisions of this subsection, then the Mayor or any of said Chiefs shall be authorized to suspend the retirement provisions of this subsection in any 1 or more of the departments under their respective jurisdictions until such time as, in the opinion of the Mayor or any of said Chiefs, respectively, public safety can be adequately protected without such suspension.

(a-1) For the purposes of the first sentence of subsection (a) of this section, the term “creditable service” means the period of employment with the Metropolitan Police Department for police officers and the Fire Department of the District of Columbia for fire fighters first employed on or after the first day of the first pay period which begins after October 29, 1996, and includes any United States military service including the following:

(1) Credit for periods of military service prior to the member’s date of separation, that interrupts the member’s service with the Department, unless the member applies for and receives a refund of the member’s salary deductions; and

(2) Credit for any period of time during which a member is on approved leave without pay to serve as a full-time officer or employee of a labor organization.

(a-2) Notwithstanding any other law, rule, or regulation, sworn members of the Metropolitan Police Department and the Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department hired before or on September 11, 2008, may make a one-time election, at their option, in writing, to participate in one of the retirement programs created by subsection (a) of this section; provided, that any and all additional costs above the costs which would otherwise be incurred by the District for that sworn member pursuant to subsection (a) of this section shall be paid by the member, as determined by actuaries appointed by the District of Columbia. The District shall not be responsible for any additional administrative or program costs associated with a retirement program transfer authorized by this subsection. All costs associated with the transfer to a new retirement program under this subsection shall be borne by the member.

(a-3) Notwithstanding any other law, rule, or regulation, sworn members of the Metropolitan Police Department and the Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department hired after September 11, 2008, shall make a one-time election, at their option, in writing, to participate in one of the retirement programs created by subsection (a) of this section; provided, that any and all additional costs above the costs which would otherwise be incurred by the District for that sworn member pursuant to subsection (a) of this section shall be paid by the member, as determined by actuaries appointed by the District of Columbia. The District shall not be responsible for any additional administrative or program costs associated with a retirement program selection authorized by this subsection. All costs associated with the selection of a retirement program under this subsection shall be borne by the member.

(b) Any member of the Metropolitan Police force or of the Fire Department of the District of Columbia having reached the age of 60 years shall, in the discretion of the Mayor, and any member of the United States Secret Service Uniformed Division or of the United States Park Police force or of the United States Secret Service Division to whom this subchapter apply shall, in the discretion of the head of his department, be retired from the service and shall be entitled to receive an annuity as computed under subsection (a) of this section.

(c) No annuity granted under subsection (a) or (b) of this section shall exceed 80% of the average pay of such member.

(d) In computing an annuity under this section, the police or fire service of a member who has not retired prior to the effective date of this subsection shall include, without regard to the limitation imposed by subsection (c) of this section, the days of unused sick leave credited to him. Days of unused sick leave shall not be counted in determining a member’s eligibility for an annuity under this section.

(e) Any member who is an officer or member of the Metropolitan Police force or the Fire Department of the District of Columbia who completes 18 years of police or fire service may voluntarily retire from the service on or before December 31, 1980, and shall be entitled to an annuity computed at the rate of 2.5% of the average pay of such member or officer for each year of service; provided, that the amortization payment to the District of Columbia Retirement Board for the District of Columbia Police Officers and Fire Fighters’ Retirement Fund shall be made from appropriations of the Metropolitan Police and Fire Departments.

(f) Notwithstanding the first sentence of subsection (a) of this section, Charles H. Ramsey, Chief of Police, may voluntarily retire from the service and, effective April 21, 1998, the date of his appointment as Chief of Police, shall be entitled to an annuity computed at a rate of 3.43% of his average pay times the number of years of his creditable service.

(g) Notwithstanding the first sentence of subsection (a) of this section, at the time that Chief of Police Cathy L. Lanier voluntarily retires or is otherwise separated from the Metropolitan Police Department, she shall be entitled to an annuity computed at 71.5% of her average highest base pay for 36 consecutive months, including longevity payments.

(g-1) Notwithstanding subsection (a) of this section, at the time that Chief of Police Peter Newsham voluntarily retires or is otherwise separated from the Metropolitan Police Department, he shall be entitled to an annuity computed at 80% of his average highest base pay for 24 consecutive months.

(h) A member who meets the requirements for receiving an annuity under this subchapter, but for the fact that the member has not yet retired, shall be 100% vested in the member’s annuity.

(i) Each year, the District of Columbia Retirement Board shall set the applicable interest rate, mortality table, and cost-of-living factor to be used in the determination of actuarial equivalents or for other pertinent benefit calculations under the provisions of this subchapter.


(Sept. 1, 1916, ch. 433, § 12(h); Aug. 21, 1957, 71 Stat. 395, Pub. L. 85-157, § 3; Oct. 26, 1970, 84 Stat. 1137, Pub. L. 91-509, § 1(5), (6); Aug. 29, 1972, 86 Stat. 641, Pub. L. 92-410, title II, § 201(a)(3); Sept. 3, 1974, 88 Stat. 1040, Pub. L. 93-407, title I, § 121(b)(1)-(3); Nov. 15, 1977, 91 Stat. 1371, Pub. L. 95-179; Nov. 17, 1979, 93 Stat. 866, Pub. L. 96-122, § 203; Mar. 4, 1981, D.C. Law 3-128, § 8, 28 DCR 246; Mar. 5, 1981, D.C. Law 3-133, § 4, 27 DCR 4417; Apr. 9, 1997, D.C. Law 11-218, § 2(c), 43 DCR 6172; Apr. 13, 2005, D.C. Law 15-354, § 13(c), 52 DCR 2638; Mar. 2, 2007, D.C. Law 16-191, § 27(d), 53 DCR 6794; Mar. 2, 2007, D.C. Law 16-199, § 4, 53 DCR 8832; May 13, 2008, D.C. Law 17-154, § 7, 55 DCR 3678; Sept. 11, 2008, D.C. Law 17-224, § 2, 55; May 1, 2013, D.C. Law 19-314, § 2(d), 60 DCR 3466; Dec. 13, 2017, D.C. Law 22-33, § 3093, 64 DCR 7652.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 4-618.

1973 Ed., § 4-528.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 5-105.05, § 5-704, § 5-706, § 5-716, and § 5-717.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 15-354, in subsec. (a), added “upon notice to the District of Columbia Retirement Board”.

D.C. Law 16-191, in subsec. (a), validated a previously made technical correction.

D.C. Law 16-199 added subsec. (f).

D.C. Law 17-154 added subsec. (g).

D.C. Law 17-224 added subsecs. (a-2) and (a-3).

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-314 added (h) and (i).

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 3093 of Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2017 (D.C. Act 22-167, Oct. 24, 2017, 64 DCR 10802).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 3093 of Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2017 (D.C. Act 22-104, July 20, 2017, 64 DCR 7032).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 3 of Leave and Retirement Modifications for Chief of Police Peter Newsham Emergency Amendment Act of 2017 (D.C. Act 22-88, June 28, 2017, 64 DCR 6239).

For temporary amendment of section, see § 2(c) of the New Hires Police Officers, Fire Fighters, and Teachers Pension Modification Emergency Amendment Act of 1996 (D.C. Act 11-428, October 29, 1996, 43 DCR 6147), and § 2(c) of the New Hires Police Officers, Fire Fighters, and Teachers Pension Modification Congressional Adjournment Emergency Amendment Act of 1997 (D.C. Act 12-10, March 3, 1997, 44 DCR 1633).

For temporary addition of (8) and (9), see § 2(c) of the Police and Firefighter’s Retirement and Disability Omnibus Emergency Amendment Act of 2012 (D.C. Act 19-585, January 1, 2013, 60 DCR 151).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(d) of the Police and Firefighter’s Retirement and Disability Omnibus Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-33, March 19, 2013, 60 DCR 4630, 20 DCSTAT 493).

References in Text

The phrase “the effective date of this subsection,” referred to in the first sentence of (d), is prescribed by § 201(b) of Pub. L. 92-410, effective August 29, 1972, which states, that in part, “The amendments made by paragraphs (2) and (3) of subsection (a) shall be effective on the first day of the first pay period beginning on or after the date of enactment of this title.”.

Editor's Notes

Policemen and Firemen’s Retirement and Disability Act: Section 3(r) of Pub. L. 85-157 provided that this section may be cited as part of the Policemen and Firemen’s Retirement and Disability Act.

Coverage Under Federal Employees’ Retirement Act: See Historical and Statutory Notes following § 5-742.

Change in Government

This section originated at a time when local government powers were delegated to a Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia (see Acts Relating to the Establishment of the District of Columbia and its Various Forms of Governmental Organization in Volume 1). Section 401 of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1967 (see Reorganization Plans in Volume 1) transferred all of the functions of the Board of Commissioners under this section to a single Commissioner. The District of Columbia Self-Government and Governmental Reorganization Act, 87 Stat. 818, § 711 ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.11), abolished the District of Columbia Council and the Office of Commissioner of the District of Columbia. These branches of government were replaced by the Council of the District of Columbia and the Office of Mayor of the District of Columbia, respectively. Accordingly, and also pursuant to § 714(a) of such Act ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.14(a)), appropriate changes in terminology were made in this section.