POLICE CHIEF NOW ON MEDICAL LEAVEPosted by Jack Howser on Monday, November 5th, 2012 @ 10:18 pm.
MT. CARMEL---A six-hour meeting between the Mt. Carmel city council and their chief of police resulted in a change in the terminology of the chief's leave...but it appears the damage has already been done.
Chief Jeff Besing, a 22-year veteran of the police force in that city, has been officially placed on medical leave, this a change in status from what was going on late last week when people learned that Besing was on "administrative leave"...and speculation as to why ran rampant, potentially damaging the chief's reputation and character in the community.
The backstory is this: a few years back, Besing and other officers were in pursuit of a fleeing suspect. Besing chased the man across a rooftop of a building, while the suspect was waving a weapon at other officers, thus not only putting his life in danger based on where he was (the rooftop) but also because there was a gun directly involved. The man was caught, but during the chase, Besing broke his leg.
He was off work for a while, but was able to later return to work...only to find out that a blood clot situation was arising every so often from the break. Every time the blood clot would emerge, Besing's doctor would take him off active duty and place him on light duty. Still Besing continued to work, even after he was on workman's comp, in some capacity because the department needed its chief.
Ultimately, a few weeks ago, the leg swelled considerably and a visit to the doctor revealed that the clot was back---and it was a life-threatening situation. The physician told Besing he needed to STAY OFF the leg; that there was nothing that could be done, as the clot was inoperable, and they didn't want to amputate the leg.
So Besing took it to the city council about a week ago, wanting to get with them on how they wished to handle his being laid up for an indefinite period of time. They couldn't work out anything specific, so instead they opted to place Besing on "administrative leave," which was reported here and in other news outlets.
However, as is usually the case, there are plenty of people who have bones to pick with cops, and Besing was no exception. The speculation began almost immediately, ranging from Besing having gotten in trouble with Colby Rigg over the E911 issue in the county, to Besing being in trouble over a birthday party that had photos posted to Facebook, to Besing getting in trouble over immoral activity. None of that was the case, obviously...but the public didn't know that, because the council chose not to release that it was a medical-related issue...and was life-threatening to boot.
Finally, earlier this evening, Besing met with the council and they hammered out a deal. While we don't know the specifics, nor why it took so long, Besing has been placed on medical leave while he's recovering from the blood clot, with full pay and full benefits, until such a time as he can determine whether he can return to active duty. They'll evaluate the situation in February, and see where it's going at that time.
Besing is said to be rather unhappy about the way the council kind of threw him to the wolves over the administrative leave, as it opened up room for a lot of incorrect assumptions and caused considerable hardship for someone who already has a life-threatening condition. With 22 years behind him, Besing could retire...but this would be a hell of a way to go out, and likely not exactly what he had in mind.
Disclosure believes it could've been taken care of in a better way; however, there are a lot of liability issues associated with revealing such information. Maybe Mt. Carmel will learn a little bit from this one.
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