New GA Law Compensates Black Officers for Years Denied Pension

April 19, 2006 ( - Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue signed into law a measure that will allow the state's active black police officers who were denied access to a state retirement fund for decades because of their skin color to be compensated for those years.

The Associated Press reports that the law reverses the Jim Crow restrictions that prevented black officers with service before 1976 – the year the program was desegregated – from enrolling in Georgia’s Peace Officers Annuity and Benefit Fund.

Current law enforcement employees are now able to buy into the fund for service prior to 1976 by paying $10 a month for each year of their service, according to the AP. The state will then match their contributions to the fund.

Those officers who have already retired are still not eligible for benefits stemming from their years of service before 1976 since proposed legislation to change that stalled during the legislative session that ended March 30. State Representative Tyrone Brooks (D-Atlanta) said he will make the issue his top priority next year if he wins re-election.

It is unclear how many officers are eligible or would apply under the new law. The enrollment period lasts from July 1 through December 31.