The Sun Times story reveling that Tim Baldermann has the highest disability claim for police officers in the Chicagoland area. If you read The Patch interview with Tim you may understand why the disability settlement was so high.
Baldermann was carrying a body down from an upper floor of an apartment building when he had to lift the stretcher up over his head to negotiate a turn coming down the stairs. As he hoisted the body up something in his back popped. He continued on to finish the job of carrying the body down but could not get rid of the annoying pain in his back. Turns out, he herniated a disc requiring a very extensive spinal fusion surgery that still has left him with numbness and tingling down his leg.
This is what cities pay the disability insurance for. During the performance of his job he was injured. Disability covers that. If he had been shot no one would be questioning this settlement. He could not perform his duties as police chief and even though he tried to stay on in many other roles with the city, they were all refused.
People who complain about this kind of thing usually have never had any serious back problems and have no idea how debilitating it can be. Tim will have to live with that numbness and tingling down the leg for the rest of his life. He also has limited mobility in the back reducing his ability to move in certain ways. All of this is a constant burden on the body and mind.
I'm not sure if the public understands the amount of pain Tim is in. He has managed to still remain a productive part of this community after being through all this. A lot of people would remain on a couch for the rest of their life watching reruns of The Andy Griffith Show. Tim has found a way to remain productive.
Disability is a part of the contract that a lot of high risk jobs have. Because one incident can ruin a career. Take fireman for instance. One fall off a ladder or a flashback fire can ruin a career. A policeman righting a ticket gets hit by a car and has severe traumatic injury resulting in his or her inability to do his job. If it happened to you would you take the disability insurance settlement or turn it down? At the time, Mr. Baldermann had to think of his family and how he was going to support them. He did what anyone would have done. He did what was best for his family.
He's been lucky enough to find other things he can do to generate an income. But he can never go back to his first love which was police work. If your dream job was taken from you do to injury how stressed would you be to find something else to do? I think the fact that Tim has found a way to remain productive with this disability is a credit to his tenacity.