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What's your policy?


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  • What's your policy?

    I'm a county officer and was shot while on duty about 6 months ago. Since then i've been living off of workers comp and working part-time in administration (per dr's orders). Soon, w.c. will "rate" me which means I will no longer get a weekly check from them. My present total income only equals about 50% of my income prior to getting shot! I'm curious how other departments handle situations like this.

    I've been a cop for over 11 years and i'd hate to think my department doesn't "take care of their own," but it's starting to seem that way. Any information or suggestions is appreciated!

    James (beenshot)

  • #2
    Sounds like you're being treated like an averegae hourly employee insteda of a law enforcment officer and changes may be needed in your state laws that allow this to happen.

    You should be collecting full pay during recovery time and worker's comp shopuld not be an issue. Your department should still be handing you a paycheck as if you were on duty until you can return and if it's ruled you cannot you shoudl be given a retirement and be allowed to then work at whatever you choose as long as it's not law enforcment.

    I take it you are in an area that is either not represented by a union or by one that is weak in these matters


    • #3
      In my state, you would have been eligible for full pay, tax free, for all lost time up to one year after the date of injury. For the next four years after that, you would have been eligible for around $1,600 per month in payments if you continued off work. All of this is contingent upon your not having achieved "permanent and stationary" status, which is roughly defined as reaching a point where you are not going to get significantly better. Once you are permanent and stationary, you either return to work (if you are physically able) or take disability retirement. In my state, a disability retirement pays (at the very least) 50% of your highest year's salary, tax free for the rest of your life.

      Based on what you describe, it sounds like workers comp is about to make you permanent and stationary, so you will have to decide (depending on what your doctor says) whether to return to work full time or retire. If you are found to be permanent and stationary, you should also receive a permanent disability rating which measures the loss of your value to the job market as a result of your injuries. There should be compensation for this as well, depending on how severe your permanent disability rating is.

      One thing to remember - although workers comp is supposed to help the injured worker, it is (in most cases) an adversary system. Workers comp is the agent of your employer. While they have certain obligations to the injured employee, their first priority is to represent the employer's interests. Consequently, you need to protect your interests by hiring an attorney who specializes in workers comp for peace officers. If you need a referral, check with your union or statewide peace officer's association. Traditionally, these attorneys don't charge up front. Instead, (at least in my state) the get a small percentage of your permanent disability rating. For example, I just got a permanent disability rating of 72% for several back injuries which resulted in five herniated disks. This computes to $72,000 in permanent disability payments. My attorney will get 15% of that money for his services. It will be paid directly to him out of my award and nothing will come out of my pocket. It's a win/win for both him and me.
      Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere


      • #4
        We have a fire and police disability and retirement fund that's operated as a city bureau. It had nothing to do with anything related to the state and it works great. It gets the money from a small property tax assessment.

        If unable to work, it's untaxed pay at 75% of your normal. (That ends up about what you made before, full pay caused too many problems with slackers). That lasts for up to 4 years. At that time, you're reassessed and if you can manage to work at another type of job, you're given vocational training and your disablity is cut to 50%, less any money you make on the side. You will never get less than 25% of your pay though.

        We don't have parttime stuff though. You can either work or you can't. The dept has a very small number of limited duty positions, but they are usually filled.
        "Life's tough, it's tougher if you're stupid." John Wayne


        • #5

          How is retirement handled at your department if an officer leaves early and joins another department. Can it be transferred or are you SOL?


          Hail hail the gang's all here, when the going gets tough I know my friends will still be there. - Drop Kick Murphys, "The Gang's all Here"


          • #6
            Whats you present condition? Will you be able to return to full duty? I work with a few guys who were shot up prety bad & our department took prety good care of them..


            • #7
              I honestly don't know if i'll be able to go back to my job or not, I hope so! It's the only job i've ever known and enjoy doing.

              Maybe I should show this thread to my fellow officers and superiors in effort to get some policies changed. Otherwise, the next officer shot could be SOL like me. I'm getting screwed worse than I thought!

              Please keep the replies coming! I need all the support I can get.

              James (BeenShot)
              Last edited by beenshot; 08-09-2004, 02:18 PM.


              • #8
                In our dept, officers injured in the line of duty are given full duty pay while injured until they're able to both physically and mentally return at either a light duty assignment (desk job or detective work with no suspect contact) or full duty. They never get any type of reduced pay until they have to leave the dept entirely.

                If they aren't able to do light duty, then they are medically retired based on the current retirement plan...I think ours is 75% of the last 3 years average pay


                • #9
                  I really appreciate the input! My situation shouldn't be this difficult! I guess now I need to figure out the best way to go about getting some policies/procedures/laws changed. Any suggestions?

                  James (beenshot)


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by beenshot
                    I really appreciate the input! My situation shouldn't be this difficult! I guess now I need to figure out the best way to go about getting some policies/procedures/laws changed. Any suggestions?
                    Sadly, you are facing an uphill battle. While retirement benefits are usually the subject of contract negotiations between your union and your department, most workers compensation benefits are based on state law. This means you will have to lobby your state legislature to pass new laws increasing workers comp benefits for cops.

                    To make your case, you will have to compile a list of officers who were screwed by the system after being injured in the line of duty and present them to your legislators. You will need to garner the support of other police unions and powerful political orgainzations to lobby on your behalf. In addition, you will have to anticipate in advance the roadblocks you may run into and figure out how to get around them. For example, your sheriff or other chiefs will probably love anything that will better help their officers. However, because increased workers comp benefits are very expensive, they will probably only lend serious public support if you can show them how to get the necessary extra funding in their budgets.
                    Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere


                    • #11
                      Find a good attorney......... If you try to look out for own interest they will play mind games and they have the time and money to wait you out. Let the attorney play the game they are kinda good at that. If you have a Union (it does not sound like you do) get them motivated.. W/C will try to settle for the least amount and medical that they can. Try not to use a DR that they recomend.

                      Hope it works out


                      • #12
                        I'm in Kansas and can't find any information about any laws that could provide some assistance. Maybe i'm not looking in the right place. Does anyone else here know anything about how Kansas works?



                        • #13
                          Call your state BAR they will be able to get you pointed in the direction you need. They can also refer you to a w/c attorney.


                          • #14
                            Try getting ahold of one of these students on here(I am, but I am home for the summer), that have access to LexisNexis (sp) and maybe they can search for some cases that have gone to court. If they find some, maybe that will help you out.
                            Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves - Confucious


                            • #15
                              God bless you Brother,

                              So many troops have to needlessly go through your dilemma. It's a damn shame that you should suffer the continuing trauma of worrying like this, considering what you have been through. Like a lot of good advice has been said, SUE SUE SUE.

                              Around here, if the disability is due to a traumatic incident (like you getting shot or even you shooting a skell), you can count on 66.6% of your current salary, untaxed and with percentage increases for life. My contract guarantees the same family medical coverage that I enjoyed while not disabled. The PDs are usually supportive. WC can be a bitch, they just don't fight back as hard in your situation. Like was said, get your area unions (even non-LEO)/ LEO support groups/ community interests involved. Your local/state/federal legislators may be able to help you too.

                              If that takes too long, find an angry and vicious pro-police attorney that loves to take on hard-luck cases.

                              Hang tough,
                              Don't give up.



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