National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

A Scandalous Retirement System

From the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

A Milwaukee police detective charged with lying to an FBI agent has applied for duty disability retirement, saying the stress of being investigated, arrested and strip-searched has left him unable to be a police officer, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has learned….

If his application is approved, Huerta could be paid by the city for the rest of his life. In most cases, duty disability provides such retirees with 75% of their salaries, tax-free. His 2012 salary, including overtime, was more than $85,000….

And an opinion from the city attorney’s office said officers already receiving the benefit may lose it if their applications include potentially misleading information believed to be ghostwritten by “a retired police detective” — a reference to former union boss and felon Bradley DeBraska, who is known to have assisted at least 18 officers with their applications….

Even if Huerta is fired or convicted, he still may be able to get duty disability pay, because his application was filed while he was still an employee and before the retirement system instituted the rule changes.

As an example, former Officer Dwight Copeland didn’t show up for work for the equivalent of half of his 14 years on the force and was disciplined two dozen times for misconduct. Copeland was fired for lying about an application claiming he was disabled because of a shoulder injury and stress. His duty disability retirement was able to be approved last year because he filed it before he was fired.

Who created this system?  Is Wisconsin the only state operating like this?  Hmm.

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