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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Physical Fitness Test Not an "Act of Duty" for Line of Duty Pension

After a police officer was injured participating in a physical fitness test, he applied for a "line of duty" disability pension. The officer had been injured in the act of bench pressing 200 pounds. The Sugar Grove Police Pension Board held a hearing, and at the conclusion voted to deny the line of duty pension, finding that the injury did not occur in the line of duty under the Pension Code. 

The decision of the Pension Board hinged on whether the physical fitness test was the "performance of an act of duty" under the Pension Code. The Board held that it was not because the bench-press test did not involve “special risk, not ordinarily assumed by a citizen in the ordinary walks of life." As a result, the Board found that the test was not an act of duty that would qualify the officer for a line of duty pension. 

On appeal, an appellate court agreed with the Pension Board that the officer's injury did not qualify him for a line of duty pension, concluding as follows:
The definition of “act of duty” is not strictly limited to activities involving the protection of public safety (id.), it is not so broad as to embrace physical-fitness activities in which individuals in ordinary walks of life participate.
Swoboda v. Board of Trustees of Sugar Grove Police Pension Board, 2015 IL App (2d) 150265


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