There is an interesting story about of Arizona involving an elite athlete Audrey Glemba, 49, who completed her latest Ironman Arizona last competition in November. Glemba has an impressive history of such competitions. The problem is that Glemba is a medically-retired police officer who collected worker’s compensation because she insisted that she was unable to meet even the minimum of duties as an officer. Glemba’s history is even more troubling.
Glemba reported a back and knee injury in 1995 during a training exercise with the Mesa Police Department. She was later promoted to sergeant and in 2002 she became supervisor of the Dobson Bicycle Squad. However, that 1995 injury appears to have been the basis for her medical retirement in 2008. It gets more bizarre. During that period from the injury to her medical retirement, she reportedly ran 29 races, including 10 triathlons. That is far more demanding than any police exercise or fitness requirement.
Yet, it gets even more bizarre. Before she was given a medical retirement, Glemba was under investigation by the internal affairs division. The investigation found that Glemba and members of the squad she supervised were taking photos of themselves, the homeless and disabled. The photos were offensive and ridiculed the homeless and disabled people in the pictures. It led to Glemba being fired in December 2008. However, she appealed her termination. In the meantime, the local pension board simply approved her medical retirement request. It is not clear what investigation was made or how the board could have missed Glemba competitions. It found that she was entirely unable to fulfill the basic functions of a police officer while Glemba was competing with elite athletes. She was also featured on a radio program for ripping out a kitchen and putting in a new one only months after the medical retirement. She was reportedly selected as the top performer in the handiest woman competition with Rosie on the House radio show.
She was briefly reinstated, retired with full benefits, and the investigation closed.
Two years after her retirement, Glemba applied for worker’s compensation and the city of Mesa is paying $508 a month for the rest of Glemba’s life in addition to her medical retirement benefits.
Glemba refused to say anything — which is a wise move given the possibility of fraud allegations. She only told the media that “This case has been tried to conclusion. If you … I’m not going to try it on television.”
It is not just Glemba but the police department and the local pension board that should be answering questions. Since she has continued to receive benefits, there is a risk of a criminal investigation. However, she can claim that she is the beneficiary of physical therapy.