Branford police officers once again will earn traditional pensions after the Representative Town Meeting unanimously approved both a new four-year police union contract and a new pension agreement Tuesday night.

Union President Sgt. Stanley Konesky hailed the change, which union members previously ratified, as “just a win-win” for both the union and the town.

“We are extremely pleased with the outcome,” Konesky said after the vote. “It’s beneficial to everyone.”

Police Chief Jonathan Mulhern and Capt. John Alves agreed.

Mulhern said one big problem has been that the current “defined contribution plan,” akin to a 401(k), provided very limited disability coverage — a scary thing to many police officers who know the occupation can be high-risk when it comes to on-the-job injuries.

“It’s huge for us,” said Alves, who runs the department’s recruitment program, which saw a huge jump in applicants after word filtered out that the town planned to switch back from a defined contribution plan to a traditional “defined benefit” pension plan.

The Police Department recently cut its pool of 186 applicants to 70, he said.

Alves said he expected the return to pensions to improve the Police Department’s ability to retain current officers, as well.

“We’ve lost a lot of really good people” who left jobs in Branford to go to other police departments that had pensions, he said.

The move, which had been discussed for several years, was done to stem what has been an increased rate of departure for both experienced officers and relatively new hires and make Branford a more attractive destination for new recruits and transfers from other departments.

The town switched to the defined contribution plan in 2011.

The RTM’s Ways & Means and Public Services committees previously approved both the pension agreement and the labor contract — which will give officers 2.5 percent increases each year — in a joint special meeting.

Tuesday night, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Peter Black, R-3, said the initial cost of the switch to the town is estimated at $25,000, “but we’re also going to save a lot on officer retention.”

“We’re actually going to come out saving a bunch of money,” Black said.

RTM member Tom Brockett, D-7, also called the switch “a win-win” for both the union and the town. He pointed out that over the past few years, the town’s pool of new applicants had dried up, and lateral transfers originally anticipated — experienced officers coming in from other towns — didn’t happen because of a change in state interpretation of the rules.

The state comptroller’s office ruled that if an officer were to retire from a town that was part of the Connecticut Municipal Employees Retirement System, they would have to put their pension on hold if they went to work for another CMERS municipality.

“The return of the defined benefit plan will allow the town to hire better officers and retain more officers,” Brockett said.

Konesky previously said that “the worst part about the situation since 2011 is that for “officers who came here and only had a 401, they had no disability.”

The job “is inherently dangerous,” he said. “God forbid, you get hurt, you have the protection now.”