Arizona Ex-Police Officer on Medical Disability Runs Triathlons

She's a winner! The taxpayers -- not so much.FinisherPixFrom the “If you did this, not only would you be facing jail time but your state’s attorney general would send out a press release about it” files, a Mesa, Ariz., police officer who is receiving monthly worker’s compensation checks and successfully arranged for a medical retirement is racing in triathlons.

CBS 5 in Arizona tracked down the maddening and maddeningly common governmental pension bureaucratic process that allows public employees to enhance their own retirements by claiming injuries and medical problems that don’t pass the smell test:

One of the elite athletes who crossed the finish line in the grueling Ironman Arizona last November is 49-year-old Audrey Glemba.

She's a medically-retired police officer who collects a worker's compensation check every month for an injury she said prevented her from doing her job.

A review of Glemba's records reveal she suffered a back and knee injury in 1995 during a training exercise with the Mesa Police Department.

So, according to CBS 5, she worked and raced in dozens of events, including several triathlons, for several years subsequent to this injury. Then in 2007 she was investigated by the police over some inappropriate behavior:

The 2007 internal affairs investigation revealed Glemba and members of the squad she supervised were taking photos of themselves, the homeless and disabled, which they ridiculed with disparaging and offensive remarks.

"They were posting all of that various photographs on walls in different montages, and they'd make captions about who they were or what they were doing," said [Mesa Police Detective Steve] Berry.

The investigation ended when Glemba was fired in December of 2008.

So after she was fired, she appealed. She was briefly reinstated, long enough for the pension board to rule that she was medically unable to perform the tasks of her job, and then her medical retirement was approved. And then she left again. In addition, she’s getting $500 a month in worker’s compensation for her injuries in addition to her medical retirement. So that’s a pretty nice chain of events for Glemba. The television station says that the pension board did know she was involved in these athletic competitions prior to approving her medical retirement.

Read or watch the full piece here.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    Why do you hate the disabled?

  • 110 Lean||

    That's exactly what I was wondering.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    They make me uncomfortable

  • Surly Chef||

    She went home safe, assholes...

  • Hugh Akston||

    I doubt her former job involved running triathlons. So maybe she has the kind of injury that prevents her from doing everything except running triathlons. Sort of like how Episiarch can compute the roots of any number you give him but he can't go to the bathroom by himself.

  • Almanian!||

    but he can't go only goes to the bathroom by on himself

    fixed

  • ||

    I'm a very good driver. Dad lets me drive in the driveway on Mondays. But only on Mondays.

  • C. Anacreon||

    except when it's time for Wapner

  • ||

    Ten minutes to Wapner. We're definitely locked in this thread with no TV.

  • Redmanfms||

    Oops, farted.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Sort of like how Episiarch can compute the roots of any number you give him but he can't go to the bathroom by himself.

    I've known people like that. Hmm......

  • Lady Bertrum||

    I doubt her former job involved running triathlons.

    Exactly. Her job probably required she sit on her ass for long hours either at a desk or in a car. She only finds comfort from her disability when in constant motion.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    We should probably pay more cops to stop being cops.

  • ||

    Yes; some people (around 1-2 percent of the population) ought to get paid in order to not have power over their fellow men.

  • jester||

    1 to 2 % is generously on the low side.

  • croaker||

    Any way you slice it, it's still "protection money."

  • Robert||

    I had a friend who went on disability as the only way to "keep his job". His job was due to be eliminated, and with his condition he couldn't expect to get another. Therefore he couldn't afford to get better enough to return to work (in which case he'd be laid off permanently) unless he got all better, an unlikely prospect.

  • Mike M.||

    What a fucking country we've turned into.

  • ||

    Depending on how Arizona calculates disability, she doesn't need to be that badly injured to count, she just needs to have lost function and some small percent (as low as 1%) of her injury has to be work related.

  • DJF||

    She injured her dog shooting trigger finger.

  • jester||

    All guns are automatic. The trigger is there for looks. Guns just discharge. Where have you been.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    long enough for the pension board to rule that she was medically unable to perform the tasks of her job

    You don't shoot people or their dogs while running a triathlon, so, totally different.

  • The Last American Hero||

    I'm starting to think we should bring back the stocks as a form of punishment.

  • Rich||

    Hey, what is the pillory, chopped liver?

  • Harvard||

    The stocks, pish tosh.

    My favorite time of year approaches. With tales such as this in mind I compose a novel each year, and mail it dutifully, by the 15th of April. This year, back by popular demand, is Tax Breaks For Honey Production II, or, Raising Bees For Buck$.

  • ||

    So, she has been "retired" since 2008, at the age of 43'ish?

    Must be fucking nice.

  • ||

    Right? We need to get in on that racket.

    Then we can go in front of city council and bitch when our pensions don't rise with the cost of living.

  • R C Dean||

    The television station says that the pension board did know she was involved in these athletic competitions prior to approving her medical retirement.

    So, a criminal conspiracy, then.

    Lets not forget: police agencies are chock full of desk and office jobs. Out here in the private sector, when somebody gets an injury that prevents them from doing a physically demanding job, we try to place them in a less demanding job.

    Apparently, though, getting a minor injury as as a cop is like winning the lottery. Any excuse to loot off the taxpayer.

  • jester||

    I heard a cop once got disability cuz his job made him eat too many donuts and he became to obese to work. Okay, I just made that story up. But it sounds true. Right Dan Rather.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    OT:

    Right now on NPR, they're bitching about part time professors not making enough money. Art history/library scientist adjunct prof comparing himself to a fast food worker. I agree, both of them usually have useless degrees.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    These PhD's had to know going in that full-time tenured positions are rare. To a certain degree I can sympathize with people in minimum wage jobs trying to survive. I have no pity on the fool who pursues a PhD probably involving debt who then bitches about poverty.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    These PhD's had to know going in that full-time tenured positions are rare.

    You'd think that, but you'd be wrong. I was shocked to hear my fellow doctoral students just think they'd fall into a assistant professorship. I went abroad and taught for about 5 years before I landed a position back home. And that position was only available to me because I am really good at what I do (i.e. learn languages quickly and teach others how to do the same).

    Pursuing an academic career in these disciplines is a lot like attempting to "make it" in Hollywood. There are only a few big time roles and a lot of people competing for them. You need some sort of combination of natural talent, skill, and luck to make a successful career of it. Until you get your break, you wait tables.

    No comment on academic casting couches. The wounds are still too raw. *sniff*

  • db||

    Did the.Dean have a train set?

  • Agammamon||

    And to think - all us proles figures that to get a PhD you'd need to be *smart*.

  • Killaz||

    Well, NPR at least knows their audience. Just not sure why I'm asked to pay to support their bad habits.

  • MasterDarque||

    Clearly this "hero" has suffered enough...let her milk the system in peace

  • Homple||

    It's fine as long as she gets home safely after her marathon.

  • RishJoMo||

    Dude is on some serious crack man.

    www.Anon-Works.com

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement