Officer Not Allowed Benefits Under Public Safety Employee Benefits Act
Jeffrey Vaughn, a former city police officer in Carbondale, was on duty and standing outside of his patrol car in a parking lot when he reached inside the car to answer a dispatcher’s call on his police radio. While he was reaching into the car Vaughn struck his head on the door frame, resulting in a compression fracture of the neck. Vaughn claimed that he was due lifetime payment of health insurance premiums from the city as provided by Section 10 of Public Safety Employee Benefits Acts, which provides the premiums when a catastrophic injury occurs in response to what was reasonably believed to be an emergency.
The Illinois Supreme Court stated that Section 10 is not applicable here because there were no facts establishing any imminent danger to a person or property requiring an urgent response to a dispatch call. Therefore, the officer’s injury did not occur as a result of a response to what was reasonably believed to be an emergency and the officer was not eligible for insurance benefits.
Vaughn v. City of Carbondale, 2016 IL 119181