In 2005, the Philadelphia Police Department listed 64 officers as IOD, “injured on duty” and unavailable for work. Today, says the Philadelphia Inquirer, the number stands at 245, four times as many in two years. The result is fewer officers patrolling the streets at a time when the level of violence is the city’s chief concern and the push is on to bolster the department’s ranks above its current 6,500. There has been a $1 million-a-year increase in the city’s medical costs.
What has caused the IOD increase is a matter of dispute. There is no question that it came after a change in the law that permits officers to collect 100 percent of their pay without paying federal taxes while on medical leave. The changes have reduced the city’s control over the process, giving a central role to outside medical professionals selected jointly by the city and the Fraternal Order of Police. In the year ended June 30, the department recorded nearly 48,000 days’ worth of lost work due to officers being IOD and unable to work. Two years earlier, the number was about 11,000. The FOP says police brass are overstating the impact. They blame the city for any deficiencies in the new system.