News Story

Michigan's Top Cop Could Lose $161,903 In Double Dipping Benefits If Ousted

Kriste Kibbey Etue

The embattled director of the Michigan State Police stands to lose about $161,903 if she is forced out before March 1, 2018 due to a lucrative state police program in which she is enrolled.

Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue, director of the Michigan State Police, is in the fifth year of enrollment in a program called the Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP), which allows officers to accrue early pension benefits alongside their regular paycheck for up to six years. According to the Michigan Office of Retirement Services, Etue enrolled in DROP on March 1, 2012.

If Etue can last the full six years, the program will pay 100 percent of her estimated pension benefit for the full six years that she receives on top of her regular salary. If she leaves now after just five years in the program, she’ll get 90 percent of her full pension benefit for five years.

Based on Etue’s 2016 salary of $155,000 and her 30 years of service, she is eligible to collect an estimated pension of $93,000 a year. If she remains on the payroll until March 1, 2018, she could retire with 100 percent of the DROP program reward, which would be six years multiplied by $93,000. If she leaves before March 1, 2018, she’ll get 90 percent of her $93,000 annual pension multiplied by five years. The difference is about $161,903.

The DROP program is essentially a form of pension double dipping created in 2004 to prevent experienced officers from taking advantage of early pension benefits authorized by previous legislatures. Those benefits have created a situation in which many officers retire with full pensions in their 40s, sometimes going on to a second career elsewhere.

The Michigan Legislative Black Caucus has demanded the immediate resignation or termination of Etue after she posted a meme on Facebook critical of NFL players who kneel during the national anthem. The caucus met with Gov. Rick Snyder on Tuesday.