Police officer’s PTSD not compensable
An appeals court in Arizona on Friday ruled that a City of Tucson Police Department officer’s post-traumatic stress disorder claim is not compensable, affirming an Industrial Commission’s ruling that he failed to show “unexpected, unusual or extraordinary” stress, as required by state law.
The officer, beginning in August 2000, received several months of training with the department after passing pre-employment physical and psychological examinations and that there “was evidence that he was provided a two-page acknowledgment that his duties might require him to respond to death scenes and handle body parts, as well as conduct child molestation interviews with victims and be subjected to various other stressful and emotionally charged situations,” according to documents in No. 2 CA-IC 2020-0001, filed in Court of Appeals of Arizona, Division Two in Tucson, Arizona.
After serving as a patrol officer for 10 years, the officer was promoted to detective in 2011 and was assigned to the violent crimes unit for six years, then the street crimes unit, until he joined the domestic violence unit in 2018, which is when he witnessed and attended to a shooting incident at a residence in which a man died, according to documents.
Later that year, he filed a workers compensation claim, which was disputed at the Industrial Commission which heard from a supervisor who “testified that the event in question was rare” and the officer himself testifying that the incident “was only the most recent among several other events that had contributed to his PTSD.”
In turn, an expert witness who had served as both an officer and police chief for other jurisdictions testified it was not an unusual event, stating, “there are some very powerful stressors that officers can be exposed to, and yet it’s part of the job. It’s not unanticipated, it’s not extraordinary, it’s not unusual.”