(a) Appointed Members. Each person who shall be appointed as a Department Member on or after July 1, 1997 shall become a Tier 4 Plan Member upon graduation by such person from training at the Police or Fire Academies or equivalent facility imparting basic training as a firefighter or police officer and maintained as such by the City of Los Angeles. A Chief of Police or a Fire Chief who is appointed to that position without having graduated from such facility may become a Member upon appointment. Upon becoming a Tier 4 Plan Member, a person may elect to purchase Years of Service credit for the period of such training in accordance with rules adopted by the Board.
(b) Active Members of Tier 3. Any active Department Member hired prior to July 1, 1997 who made an irrevocable election, in writing, during the period July 1, 1997 through June 30, 1998 to become eligible for the service retirement benefits provided under this Tier 4 shall become a Tier 4 Member.
(c) Former Members. Any Tier 1, 2 or 3 Member who ceased to be such as a result of resignation or discharge and who subsequently again becomes a Plan Member shall become a Tier 4 Member upon reappointment as a Department Member. However, a former Plan Member who previously had ten years of service under the provisions of Tier 3 who again becomes a Plan Member shall have the option of becoming a Tier 4 member only if both of the following conditions are met:
(1) the former Plan Member did not make an election to take a deferred pension under the provisions of Tier 3, and
(2) three years have not elapsed since the effective date of the former Plan Member’s resignation or discharge as a Plan Member.
Upon the return to duty, such Plan Member shall have 90 days to make an election to become a Tier 4 Member.
(d) Tier 3 Members On Disability. Any Plan Member who shall be receiving a disability pension pursuant to Tier 3 and who is restored to active duty as a Department Member on or after July 1, 1998 shall not be eligible to elect to become a Member of Tier 4, unless such Department Member was originally hired in under the provisions of this Tier 4.
(e) Members on Military Leave. Persons who are not active members during the election period due to service in the armed forces shall have 90 days following their return to active duty or June 30, 1998, whichever is later, to make an election to become a Tier 4 Member.
(f) Former Tier 1 & 2 Members. A person formerly a System Member under the provisions of Tier 1 or 2 of this Article whose membership had previously terminated by reason of resignation or discharge shall upon again being appointed as a Department Member become a Plan Member as of the effective date of such appointment. In the event such person did not receive a refund of contributions upon his or her termination as a System Member, then the definition of “Years of Service” elsewhere contained in this Tier 4 shall be controlling with respect to such person’s entitlement to service credit; and further, such person need not make back contributions on account of such former service and does not have any right to have contributions formerly made by him or her under the provisions of Tier 1 or 2 refunded in the event he or she should subsequently terminate as a Plan Member. In the event such person received a refund of his or her contributions under the provisions of Tier 1 or 2 as a result of his or her termination, then such person’s entitlement to Years of Service credit for the period of such former service shall be conditioned upon such person electing to repay and having paid to the Fire and Police Pension Plan the amount of previously refunded contributions, with interest thereon and an amount calculated as interest which would have been earned between the date of such termination and the date of entry into service as a Plan Member in accordance with rules adopted by the Board. In the event such member does not elect to so repay, the term Years of Service as elsewhere used in this Tier 4 shall not include any periods prior to his or her becoming a Plan Member, notwithstanding the definitions contained in Section 1602(m) and (n).
(g) Paramedics and Civilian Ambulance Employees. In addition to those Department Members described in subsection (a) of this section, paramedics or civilian ambulance employees shall become Plan Members upon the effective date of this subsection, except that persons employed as paramedic trainees shall become Plan Members only upon their certification, as provided by law, as mobile intensive care paramedics or equivalent. Upon certification Plan Members may elect to purchase Years of Service credit for the period of such training in accordance with rules to be adopted by the Board.
If such a Plan Member had periods of membership in the Los Angeles City Employees’ Retirement System while he or she was a paramedic or civilian ambulance employee, such Plan Member shall be entitled to elect to acquire Years of Service credit for such periods of membership in the Los Angeles City Employees’ Retirement System. Upon such election his or her contributions, plus interest credited thereon, and his or her City service credit shall be transferred to the Fire and Police Pension Plan – Tier 4 in accordance with rules to be adopted by the Board.
(h) Purchase of Credit by Surviving Spouse. A surviving spouse of a Plan Member may complete the purchase of Years of Service credit elected by the Plan Member.
(i) Prohibition of Double Benefits. No Plan Member may receive double benefits by receiving credit for Years of Service for the same periods of City service from the Los Angeles City Employees’ Retirement System and under the provisions of this Tier 4. Further, no Plan Member may transfer credit received from the Los Angeles City Employees’ Retirement System while employed in a capacity other than paramedic or civilian ambulance employee.
(j) Transfer of Released Liability. Upon the election by a Plan Member to acquire Years of Service credit, the released liability of the Los Angeles City Employees’ Retirement System shall be transferred to the Fire and Police Pension Plan – Tier 4. For the purposes of this subsection, the phrase Released Liability means the City’s share of the actuarially determined present value of benefits under the Los Angeles City Employees’ Retirement System as of the date of transfer.
(k) No Benefits Under Other Tiers. Department Members as defined in this section shall be identified as Tier 4 Members. Tier 4 Members shall not be entitled to a service retirement under any other Tier of this Fire and Police Pensions Plan for the same periods of service.
(l) Release of Liability. The Board shall have the authority to establish rules requiring a full and complete release from liability from members and their spouses upon the Plan Member’s election to transfer to Tier 4.