The Blue Springs City Council has set the mandatory retirement age of police officers at 68. That’s already in a city contract, but legal counsel recommended putting it into a city ordinance.

Chief of Police Bob Muenz said the mandatory retirement age allows officers to more easily plan for retirement and creates advancement opportunities in the department. It only applies to officers, not civilian support jobs. The number was negotiated along with physical fitness testing for officers, to ensure they are fit and able to handle duties regularly encountered in the field, said Muenz, which require a certain level of physical ability.

“Those abilities do tend to decline with age,” he said.

The physical fitness test was designed by the department.

“It’s based on core requirements of the job. … It’s all tied to the job description, and we developed measures that correlate to that job description,” explained Muenz.

Officers are required to jump a simulated ditch, climb so many stairs without rails, scale a four-foot wall, drag and lift a certain amount of weight and crawl a set distance.

Muenz said the test wasn’t designed for Olympic athletes in mind but isn’t a cake walk either.

A step payment plan was also incorporated for officers, guaranteeing a set level of pay based on their number of years on the force, essentially a guaranteed recurring raise.

Of the current officers on the Blue Springs Police force, Muenz said only five or six are nearing the age of retirement. Employees who reach 68 on or before Jan. 1, 2022 will not be required to retire if they have not reached the top pay step in their job classification and have stayed there for at least three years, according to council documents.