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On duty? Off duty? Part 3

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

McHenry County, Illinois

On duty? Off duty? Part 3

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
October 14, 2011

Now, let's complicate the question a little more.

The "question" pertains to a finding by a City Board as to whether an injured officer was on-duty or off-duty at the time he was injured.

When the Board met (OK, so this is the Woodstock Police Pension Board, which met on September 22, 2011), its members (the majority of which are police officers of the Woodstock Police Department) were expected to make their decision based on fact, not opinion. Nothing but the facts, ma'am.

And to make that decision while their boss, their employer, the Police Chief, was sitting in the room. That room happening to be the Training Room at the Woodstock Police Department, which is in a secure area of the police department and behind a locked door, meaning the public cannot just walk in freely to attend this public, open meeting, governed by the Illinois Open Meetings Act and subject to the Illinois Freedom of Inforamtion Act.

One would expect the Board to make a true finding, regardless of who was in the room. Right? If your boss is sitting there and you make a decision that he might not like, where is your career headed? Will you be assigned to patrol the Woodstock Square on foot on the midnight shift in January? During the blizzard?

Now, in all fairness to the Chief, maybe he felt that Sgt. Gorski should have been found to be on duty at the crash to which he had responded in uniform, on his shift, in his squad car, at which he suffered one of his back injuries. And maybe the Pension Board went against the Chief's preference in finding that Sgt. Gorski was off-duty....

Ya' think?

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