Chicago Cop, Donald Barnes Jr., Gets $500,000 In Disability Without Working A Day

chicago police officer disability pay

Heat stroke isn't usually the most lucrative turning point in a person's career. But when Donald Barnes Jr. collapsed during a jog on his 10th day of police training, he went on long-term leave, picking up almost $500,000 in tax-free disability over the following 15 years, with the promise of another $1.2 million in pension when he retires, despite never actually working a day.

Barnes was a 30-year-old trainee when he was hit with heat stroke five blocks into a three-mile jog, reports the Chicago Sun-Times, and suffered kidney and liver failure. He had surgery, went through rehab, and has walked with a brace and a slight limp ever since.

After a year of sick leave, Barnes began collecting monthly disability checks, totaling $46,343 a year, while working a second job managing car parks at the city's two largest airports. Police officers are the only public employees in Chicago allowed to work other jobs while on disability, the Sun-Times reports.

Despite less than two weeks in training, Barnes has technically been a disabled officer for 14 years. So he will retire at 63 with full pension.

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The police department's disability policy is intended to support officers who sustain injuries in the line of duty. That's been a particular risk in Chicago recently, where the gang war has been heating up with dozens of people shot each week. The policy is set up to keep officers financially secure if an on-the-job trauma derails their career.

But Barnes and one other Chicago officer were just trainees when their dreams of policing were prematurely thwarted, leaving them free to pursue other work, while at the same time receiving sizable taxpayer-funded checks in the mail each month. There are currently 347 police officers on disability in Chicago, and it costs the city $18 million a year, reports The Associated Press.

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Police departments in other parts of the country have similarly generous disability systems -- which can be ripe for exploitation. An investigation in Bell, Calif., in January found that seven of 13 disability retirements awarded to officers there were "not justified based on existing medical evidence." In Montgomery County, Md., officers have been able to claim disability, and then leave the force, get a new job, and still keep two-thirds of their annual salary for life. Not surprisingly, in the last eight years, disabilities counted for 77 percent of public safety employee retirements, reports The Washington Post.

Montgomery County introduced a new system on July 1, however, in the hope of curbing abuse. From now on, lightly disabled officers will only be eligible for 52.5 percent of their annual salaries.


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Hi Joe

This article is slanted to make Mr. Barnes look like a gold digger. Here's a few facts they ommited.
Mr. Barnes is in fact NOT a cop and will never receive a police pension. You must successfully complete 750 hrs' of training at the minimum and as stated he was only in training for 10 days. The City of Chicago is more than happy to give him a disability check and a city job at the garage so as to avoid a law suit. What was omitted in this article was the EXTREME and TOTAL disregard for the trainees safety when, after 4 P.E. classes, they took them for a 3 mile run with the temp in the mid 90's with high humitity. Oh, they forgot to mention that he was in intensive care for over a week and nearly died. and he was not the 1st trainee to almost die because of heat stroke that week.

October 02 2012 at 5:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Hi Joe's comment
Papa Cats

Good thing he didn't join the Marines.. he'd have died in Boot Camp for free !!!

October 04 2012 at 12:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Hi Joe

This article is slanted to make Mr. Barnes look like a gold digger. Here's a few facts they ommited.
Mr. Barnes is in fact NOT a cop and will never receive a police pension. You must successfully complete 750 hrs' of training at the minimum and as stated he was only in training for 10 days. The City, as well as the police dept. are more than happy to give him a disability check so as to avoid a law suit

October 02 2012 at 4:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rangerdriver

I've been working since age 18, I now have an incurable muscle disease and I don't even make $12,000.00 a YEAR on disability. I have twins, a wife and bills.

October 01 2012 at 5:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rae112754

If the man is deemed disabled than what is he doing working. Thats what the word disabled means. If he can work, than he should'nt be entitled to disability.

July 18 2012 at 3:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Steve

Rest, rest in Him,
Your work is through,
Lean back on His great power,
He'll work through you.

July 18 2012 at 3:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Steve's comment
Hi Joe

The disability AND city job at the garage was a settlement to keep from getting sued.. The facts would clearly show extreme and total disregard for Barnes safety by forcing the recruits to run 3 miles in mid 90's temps and high humidity. He was in intensive care for over a week in a coma and almost died. This happened to 2 recruits in one week.. I was there when all this took place.

October 02 2012 at 5:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
samlam1219

Your Tax dollars at work.......................

July 18 2012 at 2:53 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
watsonkbsj

This is atrocious and a perfect example of how our society has become addicted to entitlements.

July 18 2012 at 1:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
vhebert941

And where do you see unfairness in this, Claire Gordon? You don't believe in keeping your word or protecting your trainees? He didn't fake it and he didn't steal!! AND by being a trainee he WAS working! C'mon and get your ethics right, would you?

July 18 2012 at 1:00 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Pumpkinpie

All this with high school diploma?
No wonder kids don't care for University education any more

July 18 2012 at 12:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
elpmlp

Only in corruption-riddled Chicago. The guy never worked a day so how can he retire? Damn public unions and politically correct government officials. Throw the bums out - all of them!

July 18 2012 at 12:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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