Hours before a police union contract with the city of Austin is set to expire, authorities say more than 30 police officers have opted for retirement in the past month.
According to figures from Austin police, 33 sworn employees, including seven lieutenants, nine sergeants, five corporals or detectives, and 12 officers left the force this month.
In November, only four Austin police officers retired.
Police said the number marks a significant increase from December 2016.
That year, only eight employees left the force.
An Austin police spokeswoman said officers still have time to retire, as the longstanding contract between the Austin Police Association and the city won’t expire until midnight. The agreement regulates pay, disciplinary measures and civilian oversight.
Interim Police Chief Brian Manley warned members of Austin’s Public Safety Commission and City Council that failure to approve a new proposed contract could have resulted in hundreds of officers hanging up their badge.
The existing contract allowed officers to be paid out for up to 1,700 hours of accrued sick time upon retirement. But that number will drop to 900 hours when the agreement dies on Friday night.
Assistant Police Chief Troy Gay said the 33 officers who have retired in December will claim a total of $3.7 million.