NY editorial: Officer injury policy needs review

High cost of benefits for sick officers needs to be looked at more closely


The Buffalo News

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The high cost of off-duty time for sick or injured police officers simply can't be overlooked in the tight fiscal times faced by City Hall. Compensation for those injured in a hazardous profession certainly is warranted, as a moral duty as well as a legal one. But there's also a duty to police the police, and eliminate abuses.

Taxpayers ultimately foot the bill for "injured-on-duty" police officers, and there is evidence enough for compensation policy changes. That burden falls largely on the State Legislature, which does not have a strong record -- or, for that matter, much of a record at all -- of bucking public-employee unions. But that may be needed, if there are to be changes in a compensation system that can pay an officer more to stay home than to work, and makes it more attractive for those who can't do even light-duty jobs to collect a tax-free paycheck than to apply voluntarily for lower disability payments.

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