Police Officer Is Fired But Secures Medical Retirement For Injuries . . . While Competing in Triathlons

GlembaThere 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.

Source: KPHO

35 thoughts on “Police Officer Is Fired But Secures Medical Retirement For Injuries . . . While Competing in Triathlons”

  1. Mr. Turley,

    It’s interesting how you and the media find that because a story airs, it is absolutely the truth. I was injured in 1995 and over the years, my injury became worse to the point that I had to have major reconstructive surgery that has left me with pins and a rod in my spine. I also had knee surgery to repair a tear. Yes, I can swim, bike, and run/walk a triathlon, but that does not mean I can do ALL THE ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS OF A POLICE OFFICER. In my City, if you cannot do all the functions, you either have to retire or you will be fired. I never said I could not work, nor did I say I could not meet “even the minimum duties of an officer,” as you say. I would have loved to stay and do desk work, but I had no choice but to retire. Because it was due to an injury while on duty, it is termed a medical retirement.
    As for the investigation, my termination was reviewed by an Independent Civilian Review Board who found the charges and claims made by the Department were not substantiated and recommended I be placed back into duty, which is what happened. The two had nothing to do with each other. The Chief who fired me left the department shortly after I was reinstated. One other sergeant who had also been fired was given his job back and a Commander was placed back on duty…you assume from there. The Board did not approve my retirement while I was under appealing my termination. It was approved after I was reinstated.
    My medical condition and ability to work was evaluated by no less than four (4) Orthopedic Specialists or Neurosurgeons, not the Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor who spoke in the report. I was also evaluated by a specialist who determined I could not do all the essential functions, it was not simply my say so.
    As for Workman’s Compensation, I did not apply for it two years after retiring. As is the same for employees across the country, it is involved in any injury at work. I filled out an injury report when the injury happened and the Industrial Commission took over from there. After the injury becomes stable, a Loss of Earning Capacity is completed. The State determines the amount of money due to the LEC. The Workman’s Compensation I am receiving is NOT for the rest of my life. It supplements me for the difference in the amount of money I made as a police officer and what was determined by the state to be what I can make currently. Should I find a job making more than what the state felt I could make, that money will go away.
    Please make sure you have all the facts to a story before you decide to continue to destroy someone’s reputation.

  2. This can’t be much worse than a thee term congressman or a one term senator getting a pension for life.

  3. nick spinelli

    Veronica, You would be heartened to know how many people feel as you do and act on it. I would get anonymous tips on scammers all the time. Insurance companies get many tips daily. Disability has EXPLODED during the Obama Administration. It’s a scandal.
    Here is an example of a disabled engineer who still is connected to or close to the scandal at the T-Party version of Occupy Hollywood:

  4. Veronica, You would be heartened to know how many people feel as you do and act on it. I would get anonymous tips on scammers all the time. Insurance companies get many tips daily. Disability has EXPLODED during the Obama Administration. It’s a scandal.

  5. I think we all know people who seem to think that getting something for nothing – a scam- is what we would ALL do given the chance and they are just slicker and cleverer than the rest of us ! I personally am contemptuous of these types, but they are all around us, and I have known lots of them in my life. I am content with an honest way of living and tried to make sure my 4 children grew up with good values too, there are quite enough villains in the world.

  6. Darren, People like her cast a shadow over all the legit claims. That said, the public disability comp world is MUCH more rampant w/ fraud than the private sector.

  7. I don’t have all the records in front of me so this is just a guess which represents my opinion.

    It sounds to me like there was a big row between Audrey, her department and the city. Each side was has slinging the mud at each other and it proved to be mutually embarassing for each side and a costly and (most imporatantly to them) a political liability to each.

    So, they decided to retire her out to make her go away. That way she got something the state retirement fund paid and would go away. The department and the city would be rid of her. So the local retirement board was cajouled into towing the line. (probable because members of that board were personally connected maybe two steps away from city or police department suits)

    Knee injury? Perhaps but it looks like it certainly healed very well since she is not running marithons. I don’t know if medical disabilities are incontestable once granted in this state though.

    Some commentators have written of the abuses of police / firefighter medical retirement. Yes, that does happen. From my perspective and the sampling was only within my community, it was worse in the 1980’s. Soft tissue injury was the most common and stress disability (which was permitted under Plan 1 and after 1978 Plan 2 it was not) ranked highly.

    But this woman in my view is an insult to all LEOs and Firefighters who are honestly disabled and cannot return to work.

  8. Lier, lier, pants on fire. Chance are I know the workers compensation attorney who helped perpetuate this fraud. Send them both to jail for creating this mess.

  9. And yesterday I read in the NY Daily news a story about a man who had worked for 24 yrs collecting trash for the city of NY who was fired for accepting a $20 tip for picking up a huge pile of extra trash. He did not ask for a tip. It was offered. Apparently he loses his pension as part of his firing.

  10. I’m aghast….. But I know way too many officers that have gotten medical discharges from duties only to start another career…..

  11. Another reason that ordinary citizens often regard government employees with suspicion and a degree of contempt.

    Before the screams start, government employees may not like what I said, but the statement is accurate.

  12. These “disability retirements” scam for police and firemen has become rampant in recent years. They get hurt just before their normal retirement would begin because disability retirement compensation is greater than normal retirement. This kind of person is scum.

  13. Disability and worker’s comp. involving public employees, particularly police and firefighters is a travesty. The fraud is some of the most blatant. The 9/11 cops and firefighters are a great example. The most egregious fraud claims I worked involved cops/firefighters.

Comments are closed.