Article 12E.

Retirement Benefits for Local Governmental Law‑Enforcement Officers.

§ 143‑166.50.  Retirement benefits for local governmental law‑enforcement officers.

(a) Definitions. – The following words and phrases as used in this Article, unless a different meaning is plainly required by the context, have the following meaning:

(1) "Beneficiary" means any person in receipt of a retirement allowance or other benefit from a Retirement System.

(2) "Employer" means a county, city, town or other political subdivision of the State.

(3) "Law‑enforcement officer" means a full‑time paid employee of an employer, who possesses the power of arrest, who has taken the law enforcement oath administered under the authority of the State as prescribed by G.S. 11‑11, and who is certified as a law enforcement officer under the provisions of Article 1 of Chapter 17C of the General Statutes or certified as a deputy sheriff under the provisions of Chapter 17E of the General Statutes. "Law enforcement officer" also means the sheriff of the county. The number of paid personnel employed as law enforcement officers by a law enforcement agency may not exceed the number of law enforcement positions approved by the applicable local governing board.

(4) "Law‑Enforcement Officers' Retirement System" means the system provided for under Article 12 of Chapter 143 of the General Statutes, as it existed prior to January 1, 1986.

(5) "Local Governmental Employees' Retirement System" means the Local Governmental Employees' Retirement System of North Carolina provided for under Article 3 of Chapter 128 of the General Statutes.

(6) "Member" means an officer included in the membership of a retirement system, including former officers no longer employed who also elected to leave their accumulated contributions on deposit with a Retirement System.

(7) "Officer" means a "law‑enforcement officer."

(8) "State" means the State of North Carolina.

(b) Basic Retirement System. – On and after January 1, 1986, law‑enforcement officers employed by an employer shall be members of the Local Government Employees' Retirement System, and beneficiaries who were last employed as officers by an employer, or who are surviving beneficiaries of officers last employed by an employer, are beneficiaries of the Local Governmental Employees' Retirement System and paid in benefit amounts then in effect. All members of the Law‑Enforcement Officers' Retirement System last employed and paid by an employer are members of the Local Retirement System.

(c) Rights. – Notwithstanding any other provisions of law, any accrued or inchoate rights of a member of the Law‑Enforcement Officers' Retirement System as of his transfer to the Local Governmental Employees' Retirement System on January 1, 1986, including the rights to a vested deferred retirement allowance and to commence retirement at certain ages with required years of service as a law‑enforcement officer, may in no way be diminished; provided, however, in no event may a member commence retirement and continue membership service with the same Retirement System after January 1, 1986.

No eligible officer shall be precluded from exercising that officer's pending or inchoate rights under this section, should the officer elect to make Roth after‑tax contributions to the Supplemental Retirement Income Plan, except that these Roth after‑tax contributions and the earnings thereon shall not be subsequently transferred to the Local Governmental Employees' Retirement System.

(d) Court Cost Receipts. – Of the sum derived from the cost of court provided for in G.S. 7A‑304(a)(3), the amount designated for this Article, except for the amount designated for the provisions of G.S. 143‑166.50(e), shall be paid over to the pension accumulation fund of the Local Governmental Employees' Retirement System and shall offset, to the extent of these receipts, the employers' normal contribution rate required in G.S. 128‑30(d)(2) as it pertains to law enforcement officers.

(e) Supplemental Retirement Income Plan for Local Governmental Law‑Enforcement Officers. – As of January 1, 1986, all law‑enforcement officers employed by a local government employer, are participating members of the Supplemental Retirement Income Plan as provided by Article 5 of Chapter 135 of the General Statutes. In addition to the contributions transferred from the Law‑Enforcement Officers' Retirement System, participants may make voluntary contributions to the Supplemental Retirement Income Plan to be credited to the designated individual accounts of participants. From July 1, 1987, until July 1, 1988, local government employers of law enforcement officers shall contribute an amount equal to at least two percent (2%) of participating local officers' monthly compensation to the Supplemental Retirement Income Plan to be credited to the designated individual accounts of participating local officers; and on and after July 1, 1988, local government employers of law enforcement officers shall contribute an amount equal to five percent (5%) of participating local officers' monthly compensation to the Supplemental Retirement Income Plan to be credited to the designated individual accounts of participating local officers.

Additional contributions shall also be made to the individual accounts of all participants in the Plan, except for Sheriffs, on a per capita equal‑share basis from the sum of one dollar and twenty‑five cents ($1.25) for each cost of court collected under G.S. 7A‑304.

Upon retirement, a participant in the Plan may elect to transfer any portion of his eligible accumulated contributions, not including any Roth after‑tax contributions and the earnings thereon, to the Local Governmental Employees' Retirement System and receive, in addition to his basic service, early or disability retirement allowance a special retirement allowance which shall be based on his eligible accumulated account balance at the date of the transfer of the assets.

(e1) Rights of Participants under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act. – A participant whose employment is interrupted by reason of service in the Uniformed Services, as that term is defined in section 4303(16) of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, Public Law 103‑353, hereafter referred to as "USERRA", shall be entitled to all rights and benefits that the participant would have been entitled to under this section had the participant's employment not been interrupted, provided that the participant returns to service as a law enforcement officer while the participant's reemployment rights are protected under the provisions of USERRA.

(e2) Forfeiture of Benefits for Certain Felonies. – Participants in the Supplemental Retirement Income Plan for Local Governmental Law‑Enforcement Officers whose benefits are forfeited under G.S. 128‑38.4A shall also forfeit contributions paid on or after December 1, 2012, on behalf of the participant by local government employers of law enforcement officers to the Supplemental Retirement Income Plan for Local Governmental Law‑Enforcement Officers. Any funds forfeited shall be deposited in the Supplemental Retirement Income Plan. (1985, c. 479, s. 196(t); c. 729, ss. 6, 7; 1985 (Reg. Sess., 1986), c. 1015, s. 2; c. 1019, s. 1; 1995, c. 361, s. 6; 1997‑144, s. 2; 2006‑141, s. 2; 2007‑384, s. 10.6; 2010‑72, s. 11(b); 2012‑193, s. 14; 2013‑288, s. 1(b); 2018-5, s. 17.1(a).)

 

§§ 143‑166.51 through 143‑166.59.  Reserved for future codification purposes.