The Court of Appeals, in a full-fledged opinion by Judge Singas, reversing the appellate division, determined tier 3 police officers may not count prior “non-police” service in computing the 22 years of service required for eligibility for retirement benefits:
… [T]ier 3 officers are eligible for retirement after 22 years of service without regard to their age … . The issue before us is whether a tier 3 police officer’s prior non-police service “qualifies to be counted as credited service pursuant to [Retirement and Social Security Law § 513]” … .
… [W]e conclude that the legislature intended tier 3 officers to receive the same service credit as their tier 2 counterparts, but restricted to the credit available prior to July 1, 1976.
Before July 1, 1976, the Administrative Code provided that a tier 2 officer would not be eligible for retirement until he or she “served in the police force for” the then-minimum period of 20 or 25 years … . This language plainly demonstrates that, prior to July 1, 1976, tier 2 officers could count only prior police service toward their retirement eligibility. Accordingly, tier 3 officers may receive retirement credit only for prior police service. Matter of Lynch v City of New York, 2023 NY Slip Op 02753, CtApp 5-23-23
Practice Point: Tier 3 NYC police officers cannot count years of non-police service toward retirement eligibility.