MPD forces retirement at age 64, FOP Union plans to fight policy
(WJLA) - We found pictures of MPD Officer Jerome Lucas from 25 years ago on a shooting scene. He had a black beard then, but it’s mostly white now as he continues to patrol D.C.’s Sixth District like he has for the past 45 years.
Lucas still qualifies physically and on the shooting range, but he is 66 years old – and for that reason, the Department decided three months ago to start enforcing a decades-old policy that you must retire at the age of 64.
Now, Officer Lucas and 16 others must go.
"Everything that's required I still do -- as far as handling assignments on the streets, I still do," says Lucas, who tells us he loves being a police officer.
Now, the FOP Police Union is backing him and planning a lawsuit on behalf of those with decades of experience who are being forced off the department:
On Thursday, Mayor Gray deferred to his managers and was reluctant to say much:
"Age requirements are becoming much more flexible, but obviously when you talk about law enforcement, you're talking about a more stringent set of requirements."
Lucas is a Vietnam veteran and displays his Marine Corps banner in his cruiser as he patrols. He also became a certified EMT due to all of the violence in his district.
And after 45 years in one police district, people now know him well:
"He's an excellent police officer," says on District resident.
"He kept my son in check," adds another.
"Lucas knew me since I was a little kid, used to get on me...all the thugs know him, everybody in the neighborhood, all the kids in school..." says Calvin Jones.
Lucas is also a member of the MPD’s Honor Guard, and said he wanted to put in five more years to make it 50 years.