Arizona Ex-Police Officer on Medical Disability Runs Triathlons

You try it and see what happens


She's a winner! The taxpayers -- not so much.

From 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.