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Too injured to work, healthy enough to jump out of a plane? Baltimore cop abused sick leave, investigation finds.

A Baltimore Police officer who reported being injured on the job nonetheless twice went on trips and hopped out of a plane, according to a report by the city’s Office of the Inspector General that concluded that the officer abused the city’s medical leave policies.

The officer, who is not identified in the report, went on two skydiving trips despite going through physical therapy and surgery, the Inspector General found.

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The investigators further discovered the officer had a two-year pattern of using “line of duty” injuries to call out sick and extend time off prior to scheduled vacation, medical or compensatory leave, and was paid overtime to attend medical appointments and physical therapy, the report says.

Despite alleging knee, wrist and back injuries from two on-duty motor vehicle accidents, and having been assigned to work light duty assignments, the officer traveled to South Carolina in 2018 and went skydiving. The officer went on a previous skydiving trip in Florida in 2017, just weeks before a scheduled knee surgery.

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“Before skydiving, the officer signed a medical waiver with the skydiving company indicating they had no back injury or orthopedic problems,” the report says. “Medical professionals told the OIG that they would not authorize a patient with the same injuries as the officer to go skydiving.”

The case came to light through an anonymous tip.

The Police Department’s Public Integrity Bureau worked jointly with the city’s Office of the Inspector General to investigate, and the police department charged the officer internally with conduct unbecoming of an officer and general misconduct for the skydiving issue. It’s not clear how that case was resolved; officer discipline in Maryland is shielded from transparency.

The report faults the police department for apparently not pursuing the officer’s abuse of sick days, overtime pay for medical appointments, and medical leave abuse.

The officer, the report says, remains out on medical leave.

Police Commissioner Michael Harrison, in a response to the investigation, wrote that the Police Department has been conducting a “comprehensive review and overhaul of the BPD’s management of personnel on medical leave and light duty status.”

All officers on light duty have been transferred to a “chain of command” whose primary mission is to ensure they are actively moving forward on steps to becoming fully able to work as police officers, the department said.

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