Father of Slain DPD officer worried about pension fund crisis

Thousands of retired and active Dallas police and firefighters are forced to wait and see what changes the state may soon make to their benefits.

As mediation is underway this weekend, the father of slain Dallas Police Officer Lorne Ahrens is now weighing in.

Tuesday’s funeral for murdered Little Elm Detective Jerry Walker is another bitter reminder of the risk every police officer takes.

Just six months ago, the same Plano church was filled for the funeral of Senior Corporal Lorne Ahrens, one of five officers killed in the July Dallas ambush.

Lorne's father, Bill, is following the pension crisis closely. He lives in Alaska and spoke with FOX 4 by Skype.

“Lorne had two dreams: it was children and working as a police officer,” he said. “When these ladies and gentlemen become police officers and put on that badge, they make a commitment and a deal with this city. Part of that deal is retirement. To renege on that deal is profane in my view."

Bill Ahrens sent a letter to Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, frustrated about a proposal to cut benefits.

“I got that email in my private email, so it kind of surprised me,” Rawlings said. “I was just going to respond to him that officer was one of the best of the best. We are doing the best that we can to build a pension for the long term and make sure  those families are taken care of as well."

Mayor Rawlings admitted he has concerns about bad morale and suggested state lawmakers could make things worse.

“I don't want them to blow this fund up. We'd have to start from scratch,” he said. “I want to make sure we have something. It's going to take taxpayer money, though. It's going to take benefits from our current officers and retirees."

Bill Ahrens' daughter-in-law is a Dallas police detective who is working to provide for two children who no longer have a father. He worries about her financial future.

“She's another victim, potentially,” Bill said.

The city and the pension system will be presenting their cases to a state review board on Thursday. The two sides are currently in mediation to try to find some common ground.

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