Chief’s Counsel: Disability Liability and Creative Solutions

Whether in reality or simply by the eye test, peace officer duty–related health issues such as injury and disability claims seem to be an increasingly significant area of liability for police departments and sheriffs’ offices. To compound matters, disability issues are becoming not only more frequent, but also more complicated. Perhaps one of the most well-known facets of these legal issues in the United States is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirement that employers provide reasonable accommodations for their employees with medical or psychological issues. Although the ADA certainly impacts a majority of U.S. employers, state laws also provide areas of significant legal liability for public entities, particularly in the form of peace officer disability benefits for work-related injuries.