Friday, December 20, 2013

When is it IOD?

IOD ... "Injured on Duty"

When is an injury considered job-related?

If an employee is injured on the job, how hard is it to determine whether his injury is job-related?

There have been, in my opinion, some questionable claims (and approvals) for for Line-of-Duty deaths of police officers around the country. For example, a police officer in Denver was working off-duty as a security guard at a wedding reception a few years ago. He ejected somebody from the party (or perhaps prevented an unwanted person from entering), and that person came back with a gun and shot him. Denver PD quickly announced that was a Line-of-Duty death. In my opinion, it wasn't.

Closer to home, an off-duty Johnsburg PD officer was speeding (like, really fast) on a county road and crashed on the way to get crime-scene film developed at Walmart. In my opinion, there were several factors that should have eliminated a claim for Line-of-Duty death. I don't know whether it was finally approved.

And, even closer to home, a Woodstock officer several years ago was injured while on duty. He had responded to the scene of an accident while on-duty, in uniform, in a squad car and going there because he was dispatched. After arriving, he slipped and fell on ice and injured his back or neck. This morning's icy conditions reminded me of this pending case.

The fight for on-duty, line-of-duty disability benefits has been fought for about seven years. Why must an employee fight for this? Why did the Woodstock Police Pension Board agree that he was working his shift, in uniform, in a squad car, responding to a call from dispatch and then declare that this was not an on-duty injury? How did they come up with that? And why didn't the then-City Manager and Council go to the defense of a city employee and tell that Board it had made a bad decision.

The Board of Fire and Police Commissioners is in the news right now on another matter, but this line-of-duty injury case was mishandled by another different Board, also composed of Woodstock residents. Our City's Boards and Commissions should be counted on to make careful and correct decisions.

Is it possible that any decisions are being made on other than the facts before a Board?

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